How could this of happened? You have been married for a while, and you just got the news. Yes, your spouse is depressed. This is stressful on any relationship. How will you manage this? You still have to take care of the house and make lunches for the kids. Not to mention your own work. This doesn't leave a lot of room for yourself.
What to do to take care of yourself? Are you kidding me?
You are probably thinking that you can just forget about yourself. First of all, you need to know that you aren’t alone. More and more people are reporting that they are suffering from depression. Don’t try to hide this, make sure to talk to your friends and family, and seek out professional help.
There is hope, many people have been able to manage their depression and live a happy life. You will be able to get through this. But, it’s important that you don’t lose yourself in the process. That will only make you feel bitter and burnt out. You also won't feel like showing love to your partner.
Here are 9 tips to help you start taking care of yourself now:
- Set aside time for fun everyday. Even if you don’t know what it will be, just set aside time for it. Write down fun on the calendar, even when you think you can’t possibly fit it in. What are some fun things you have been wanting to do, that you never gotten around to? Start with those today.
- Practice being grateful. When you wake up in the morning, I want you to think of 10 things you are grateful for. Instead, of thinking about your list of things to do. Start the day by giving your mind a break. You don’t have to work on your list first thing in the morning. You can also think of what you are grateful for, before you go to bed. Start with a warm bed to sleep in and a roof over your head.
- Create a positive mindset. Take a good look at your thought process. How positive is it? Do you tend to focus on the negative, or go over all the regrets you have about the past? Are you constantly worried about the future? Do you spend a lot of time predicting that things won’t work out? If you said yes to any of these questions, then it’s time to change your mindset. Start by enjoying the present moment. Take a look at your surroundings and start to slow down. Don’t believe the lies that your mind tells you. Start by picking one positive affirmation to focus on today. One of my favorites is, I Am Enough.
- Go easy on yourself. I find most people tend to be the hardest on themselves. You are constantly beating yourself up. Comparing yourself to others, is one of the worst things you can do. You will never feel good enough. The next time you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up. Learn what you can and move forward. Everybody makes mistakes, it’s called being a human being.
- Start your day with mindfulness. I start everyday with 10-15 minutes of mindfulness. This helps me clear my mind and get ready for the day. Before I started this, I would always wake up worrying about what I had to do that day, and if I would have enough time to get it all done. Now, I know it’s alright if I don’t get everything done. There is always tomorrow, and the next day for that matter.
- Schedule time slots when you don’t work. You don’t have to have every time slot on your calendar filled with work. This may make you feel more productive, but you aren’t giving yourself a break. This will definitely lead to burning out in the long run. You can set one up in the morning, the middle of the day and in the evening. You can start small, if you’d like, 5-10 minutes. When you take this time you can’t work or even think about work. Go for a walk or just sit and relax. I started this a while ago, and it has changed my life. I know longer feel fatigued in the middle of the day, and I am actually more productive.
- Get enough sleep. Research has found that more sleep equates to happiness. When you don’t get enough sleep you are more forgetful and irritable. This also affects your work and home life. Set up a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed at a regular time and get up at a regular time. But, try not to stress over the sleep schedule. There will be times that it doesn’t work out, and that is alright.
- Spend time with friends and family. These are the people that support you the most. The next time you are feeling stressed out, give one of them a call. Instead of talking about what is stressing you out, talk about what you like. Let them know about the latest podcast you just heard, or about the friendly guy you were talking to in the grocery store line. If you can’t think of anything, then invite them out on a fun adventure. Like, going for a hike or watching a funny movie.
- Get outside! Now that it is summer, you have no excuse. Take in the fresh air and sunshine. Get out into nature. The outdoors is great for your mental health. Notice the environment you are in. If you see a pretty flower, stop and look at it. Take a picture, if you’d like. Notice the detail of the bark on the trees, or how the squirrels run up and down them. If there is water around, stop and look at how the sun glistens on the water. You can also ride your bike if you’d like. Just get outside and stop thinking about work and family. This is a great time to embrace the present.
Take time for yourself everyday, and stop feeling guilty about it. Even if it’s 10 minutes, it will make a big difference. Stop spending time with negative people. They will only drain your energy. When you start to take care of yourself, you will begin to see your attitude and mood change. You will start to feel better about yourself. It will be much easier to say no and set healthy boundaries for yourself.
If you liked this article, then got to Taking Care of Yourself. There are many more tips to help you take care of yourself when you are feeling blue.
Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on www.LessonsforLove.com to learn more about her services and expertise.