We all know it: it can be SO hard to feel better when you’re depressed and get out of a funk.
And I won’t lie, either: it’s really easy to let those depressed feelings consume us. Putting in the work to make a positive change during a bout of depression can really seem impossible.
A lot of suggestions are things that involve you getting up and moving or forcing yourself to do something that you just really don’t want to do.
Don’t get me wrong – I think those ideas are great, but I also understand that sometimes they’re just not possible. I’ve been there! Sometimes depression makes you feel like if you have to do anything besides sleep, you might cry.
I get it.
So if that’s you, there’s something that I want you to try. Grab a notebook or your journal (or even just a plain piece of paper!)
Since I know how hard it can be to get out of bed when you’re depressed, you don’t have to for this little project!
I have 5 questions that I want you to take genuine time to answer. I think they’re very powerful questions that can help you along the path to bettering depression!
These questions will give you the opportunity to think about yourself in a very positive light and start to find joy in who you are again.
Question 1: What quality about myself is my favorite?
Depression can make you think about yourself in a severely negative way.
But I want you to take a step out of your own shoes for a second. Don’t let your negative feelings about yourself get in the way (that takes practice, don’t worry.)
Look at yourself and pretend that you are some other person that’s in love with who you are (seriously!) What is their favorite thing about you? Really dig deep and positively think about it!
How do you act? What is your dominating personality trait? What are some traits that aren’t so dominant?
How do you treat people? What are your favorite activities?
What is their (your) favorite part about you?
Write it down! And then absorb it. Remember it. Think about it at all times. Remind yourself that you are more than your depression, and that you are amazing with amazing qualities.
Question 2: What accomplishments, big or small, have I seen in my life so far?
Let me tell you – depression makes it feel like anything you’ve ever accomplished in your life is irrelevant.
When I was struggling with the worst part of my depression (during my second semester of college), I literally told myself all the time that I was stupid.
Not to toot my own horn, but guys…I’m not dumb. Fun fact.
I had this tendency to forget that I got accepted into Ohio State, the school of my DREAMS, AND I had moved states to go there, and I worked my ass off my entire life to make it happen!
That’s a major success!!
So I want you to flip through the pages of your life and write down any and all things that you’ve accomplished (whatever that feels like to you – don’t worry about other people’s opinions!)
When you’ve written them all down, read them again and again and remind yourself of them. Next time you feel like you’re not enough or that you’re failing, remember just how far you’ve come. You’re not a failure by any means.
And remember this, too: life is full of ups and downs, and it’s not over yet. Your successes are still coming.
Question 3: What am I really good at?
The reason for this question goes a bit hand in hand with the previous one.
Depression can make you feel like you’re just not enough for anything or anyone. (Which is not true, by the way.)
But I want you to really think about what skills you have. Don’t make yourself feel like you need to be better than anyone else in order to be skillful – simply think of what you know you can do well.
You could even think of something relatively simple and a complex one!
I’m really good at organizing things. I’m also good at braiding hair. (I won’t say really good, though. Let’s not lie about it, lol!) And I’m really good at helping people manage their anxiety and depression (hey – that’s you!)
So I’ll ask you again: what are you good at?
Write it down, and keep it with you! Find a way to remind yourself of that all the time and remember that your depression is a big fat liar. You ARE good enough!
Related: How to Find Motivation in Every Day Life
Question 4: What have I done this week to spread light and kindness into the world?
You know how sometimes, if you’re going through a rough time, you feel like all you talk about is that thing and you feel like you’re dragging everyone down?
I get this one, too! And this question is the perfect chance for you to push those thoughts out of your head and realize that you’re offering goodness and light into the world!
There are really so many possibilities that can be answers to this question:
- you held a door open for someone
- you smiled at a stranger
- someone dropped their stuff and you offered to help
- your dog/cat wanted attention and you gave it to them (seriously – I betcha THEY thought it was super kind of you!)
- you were kind to yourself
I know the last one seems weird, but you’re just gonna have to trust me. Being kind to yourself is a beautiful way of emitting light into the world. You can’t give someone else kindness if you’re not even giving it to yourself.
It’s important to think about even the smallest things you’ve done to spread light because kindness is contagious and makes you feel good!
Once again, write those things down and remember them. Read it the next time you’re feeling down and try to continuously find ways to spread kindness, both to others and to yourself.
Pssst…if you want more tips like this, you need to join the Mental Health Empowerment Facebook Group. We’re all about offering support over there! Find the group here. 🙂
And finally, the last question is a 3-in-1 bundle, but it might be the most important!
Question 5: Who am I without depression? How does depression affect that person? What can I actively do to change any negative effects?
This question is HUGE. Well…multiple questions. That doesn’t matter, lol.
I’m a very firm believer that one of the biggest parts of healing from depression is learning to accept it as a part of who you are.
Being able to do that is a process that happens through the 3 questions listed above. I’ll list out the steps for you, and then give you my personal example!
Step 1: Dig into the past a little bit and figure out who you are as a person without depression. This step is not to make you sad or nostalgic, but it’s to help you understand yourself on a deeper level.
Write down exactly what you think about and who that person is. Don’t censor yourself!
Step 2: Figure out exactly how depression has affected you. It’s not necessary to look for it in places that it doesn’t exist, but take a second to understand what your depression does and its effects.
Then, layer that into your life to figure out how it really affects you.
Again, write all of this down. I know it might seem hard, but try and not look at these things and get upset. Look at them objectively! We’re just taking the difficult, but necessary steps to improve your depression
Step 3: Now that you know what the negative effects are of your depression in ways specific to you, it’s time to work out how you can change those.
This is when you come up with a specific and attainable plan that allows you to work through the negativity and improve your depression one step at a time! (I did a livestream about this in my Facebook Group a while ago. Join the group here to see more info like it!)
The best part about this whole plan is that you can simply write all of this down when you’re just not feeling it, but you’re still creating an amazing plan of action!
My (shortened) personal example of this process:
Step 1: Who I am without depression
- I’m very hard working
- I wake up early, I work on things that are important, and I get my ish done
- Laughter is my jam
- I know that I’m intelligent and work hard to maintain it
- I have a lot of goals that I work towards every single day
Step 2: How depression affects that person
- I don’t work on things because all I want to do is lay in bed
- I don’t wake up early, I push off important tasks and I pretend like the work I have to do doesn’t exist
- Laughter happens a lot less and I cry more
- I tell myself that I’m stupid and it’s not worth my time to educate myself
- I forget about my future goals and believe that all that’s meant for me is depression
Step 3: Make a specific and attainable plan to change those negative effects
- Set an alarm with a positive quote as the description that will remind me to keep working hard
- Design the wallpaper of my desktop with a motivational image so when I go to work, I get inspired
- Find funny videos or movies on Netflix, talk to someone I know that’s hilarious, watch a comedy show
- Write down the things I’ve accomplished and pin them up on my cork board so I remember that I am smart enough to have gotten where I am
- Write down my goals and break them down into easier-to-digest chunks in my planner so I can achieve them more easily and I don’t set myself up for overwhelm and failure
Is this process making more sense? Question 5 is definitely harder than the rest of them, but I think the first 4 build up to what question 5 is all about!
Use these questions to make yourself feel better when you’re depressed!
Feeling better when you’re depressed doesn’t have to mean that you jump up and down and pretend like everything is fine.
Learn how to accept your depression for what it is, and then make a plan to work through it. These questions will be here for you to reference every step of the way!
Hit me up in the comments and let me know how these work for you. 🙂