- Getting out of bed every morning. Whether you suffer from hypersomnia or insomnia, the morning always brings the temptation to just stay in bed—either to get the sleep you didn’t get the night before or to simply get more blessed relief from another day of living a depressed life. But getting out of bed and staying out is a victory over yourself and your depression that can be savored and celebrated.
- Getting dressed for the day. It’s so very tempting to slog around in your pajamas all day, particularly if you don’t plan to leave the house. Or even if you do. You tell yourself what you look like doesn’t matter; no one really cares about you and what you look like. But getting dressed shows the world and your disease that you are ready for whatever may come along.
- Personal grooming of all kinds. From taking a morning shower to an evening bath, washing your hair, brushing your teeth, and fixing your nails—it’s all some of us can manage to do in a day is simply look good for it. (And smell good). But giving yourself that victory over the lassitude of depression can do wonders for lifting your spirits.
- Being kind to yourself. If all you can accomplish in a particular day is loading the dishwasher whenever it needs it, celebrate that accomplishment. Find ways to reverse the soundtrack in your head of what a horrible housekeeper, parent, caregiver, or worker you are. Resolve to take your small victories wherever you can get them.
- Not harming yourself in any way. Don’t associate with negativity—negative coping mechanisms or negative people. Don’t harm yourself with food, pornography, alcohol, drugs, or knives and scissors. Don’t call your mother every day if she is a hotbed of negative emotions for you. Protect yourself from yourself and other people who do you harm.
- Praying for help. You often feel like the universe is either uncaring or actively out to get you when you’re depressed. Pray to God for a victory to manifest in your life, no matter how small it is. God is ready to answer your cry if you are his child.
- Creating an environment that uplifts you. If you can’t muster up the energy to make up your bed, maybe you can light a candle in a scent you love. Maybe you can’t tackle the ironing alone and need comforting, uplifting music to accompany you.
- Getting out of the house. You may feel like no one cares to see you. Arrange to meet a friend for coffee, tea, or lunch. Make an occasion out of it. Pray for the strength to go to the grocery store, the bank, or for a walk around the block. Staying isolated can be deadly to their spirit for some people who are depressed. Find a reason to get out.
- Reading something inspirational. From a devotional book to the Bible to your favorite self-help book, reading inspirational material can uplift your mood. If the news depresses you further, don’t read it. You can go without being informed about every crime, criminal, and governmental outrage for a while until you feel stronger.
- Listening to inspirational music. Praise and worship songs are great. Calming, soothing sounds can be good for you as well. But if it suits your soul to rock out to the songs that you loved in high school, go for it! Only pick songs with positive associations for you. Now is not the time to listen to that CD your ex got you for your birthday two months before they broke up with you. Or any song that further depresses your spirit.
- Caring for someone else. Getting yourself out of your own head long enough to do something nice for someone else, stranger or friend, has a way of uplifting your own spirit as well. Create ripples of positivity around yourself to impact others in a positive way. Write a note, make a call, send flowers or chocolate, drop some folding money in the street performer’s drum case or the tip jar at the coffee shop.
Julie Whitehead currently writes and blogs from Mississippi at her personal blog. She has been a university lecturer, a disability examiner, and a freelance writer. She carries a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and blogs to create awareness and help others understand the disease and its effects.
You can follow Julie on Facebook, Twitter or her personal blog.