Depression is an illness that requires a good deal of self-care. But this might seem easier said than done, because when you have depression, the idea of taking care of anything feels like adding another boulder to your already heavy load. If you’re feeling better, you might ditch certain self-care habits, too. Maybe you skip a few therapy sessions, miss your medication or shirk other treatment tools.
As you’re feeling better, you might be tempted to skip a session or two or five. Instead, attend all sessions, and discuss your reluctance with your therapist. If changes are warranted, Serani says, you and your therapist can make the necessary adjustments.
Missing a dose can interfere with your medication’s effectiveness, and your symptoms might return. Alcohol and drugs also can mess with your meds. Stopping medication altogether might trigger discontinuation syndrome. If you’d like to stop taking your medication, don’t do it on your own. Talk with your prescribing physician so you can get off your medication slowly and properly.
Sleep has a big impact on mood disorders. Too little sleep exacerbates mania and too much sleep worsens depression. So it’s important to keep a consistent sleep and wake cycle along with maintaining healthy sleeping habits.Sometimes adjusting your medication can help with sleep. Your doctor might prescribe a different dose or have you take your medication at a different time.
In order to prevent relapse, it’s important to know what pushes your buttons and worsens your functioning. Once you pinpoint your triggers, express them to others so your boundaries are honored.
If you’re having a difficult time connecting with others, volunteer, join a support group or find like-minded people online on blogs and social media sites. You also can ask loved ones to encourage you to socialize when you need it.
Research says that creating a nurturing space can help you revitalize your mind, body and soul. Opening the shades and letting sunlight in. There’s also evidence that scent can minimize stress, improve sleep and boost immunity.
You also can listen to music, meditate, use guided imagery, practice yoga and even de-clutter parts of your home a little each time.