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Down in the Dumps Blog Part 2: Five Habits to Add to Your Daily Routine

Hello and welcome to my blog series: Down in the Dumps. This blog series was created to provide tips and suggestions for people who have been diagnosed with depression. As someone who struggles with depression on a daily basis, in this blog I will be providing tips on a variety of subjects including counselling, sleep, food, exercise, self-care and more.

When you have depression, some days the most basic things like getting out of bed can feel impossible. But there are many habits that you can add to your daily routine, that if you do consistently, can help reduce your depression symptoms and improve your mood. Whether you want to implement these things into your morning or night schedule, here are five habits to add to your daily routine. 

  1. Meditate

    According to the Exploration of Consciousness Research Institute, meditation can reduce your symptoms of depression as it has been shown to boost neurotransmitters, strengthen the brain, and make people feel whole again.Whether you meditate after you wake up or before you go to bed, there are lots of great meditation apps out there like Calm, Breathe and Headspace that offer simple guided meditation sessions that anyone can use. Even if you only meditate for five to ten minutes every day, meditation is a great habit to add to your routine that can help boost your overall mood. 

  2. Unplug

    According to Huffington Post, too much technology can have damaging effects on your sleep and on your mental health. Now I'm not saying that you have to give up technology all together, but by making small changes into your routine like not looking at your phone right before you go to bed and/or as soon as you get up in the morning can really help with your depression. Other ideas that can help you unplug from technology include turning off your notifications as well as downloading apps like Zero Willpower and Forest that block distracting websites. For more ideas on how to take a break from technology, look here.

  3. Exercise

    According to Harvard Health, research has shown that exercise is an effective treatment for people struggling with depression. Exercise is one of those things where it is hard to get into, so just start small and try to pick an activity you like If you like to walk, go for a ten-minute walk. If you like to dance, join a dance class. If you like team sports, join an intramural team. Once you add exercise to your regular routine and make it a habit, you will start to see the benefits. Don't believe me? Check out what one of our writers said about how exercise helped him.

  4. Journal 

    According to the University of Rochester, journaling can help reduce your stress and help you cope with depression. Whether I am sad, angry or even happy, I like to write down all my thoughts and emotions in a journal before I go to bed every night. By incorporating journaling into your daily routine, you have the opportunity to boost your mood by expressing your problems and worries which can help you both recognize and better deal with your triggers. As this can often be a heavy activity, I will finish my journal entry by writing down one thing I am grateful, one thing I did for someone else that day, one thing I did well during the day, and one thing I like about myself. By journaling every night before bed, it helps me put the day in perspective and often improves my mood.  

  5. Listen to music 

    According to Thrive Global, many studies have been done that music can help reduce your symptoms of depression and just improve your overall well-being. Whether you play music on your morning commute or a couple hours before bed, by adding uplifting music to your daily routine can lessen your depression symptoms and improve your mood. No matter if you're a pop, country or R&B fan, let your music playlist fill you up and heal your soul. Some of my favourite songs on my morning playlist include:

    • Roar by Katy Perry
    • Don't stop me now by Queen 
    • I will survive by Gloria Gaynor 
    • On top of the world by Imagine Dragons
    • Best day of my life by American Authors
    • Stronger (What doesn't kill you) by Kelly Clarkson
    • (Your love keeps lifting me) Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson

The bottom line

At the end of the day, depression is a constant inner battle, so just be gentle with yourself. When adding these habits to your daily routine, just start with baby steps like a five-minute walk or a two-minute meditation session, and then gradually increase it over time. Coping with depression is a process, but hopefully incorporating these five habits into your life can reduce your symptoms and improve your overall well-being. 

Remember: you are strong, you are worthy, and you are capable of amazing things.