Depression can seep into every area of your life. It can keep you from leaving the house, and it may even destroy relationships.
It’s common for people with depression to retreat to their home or bedroom and avoid all social interaction. But this habit can only worsen depression. With more time spent alone, you have plenty of time to dwell on your problems and maybe even create new ones that never existed before.
If you have depression, you might be nodding your head in agreement. To you, this feels right. But if you want to start feeling better, you have to do the exact opposite of what feels right. Instead of hiding out in your room, get out and get social.
Here are some tips for keeping yourself active and social while suffering from depression.
Get help for your depression
If you’re depressed, talk to a counselor about the way you’ve been feeling. He or she may prescribe medication, but that’s not the only way to manage your depression. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common approach that therapists use to help patients overcome many things, including depression.
In this world, you are never alone. Reach out and get help. In addition to counseling, you may also want to join a support group of people who are dealing with depression too. This could help with the social element without adding too much pressure. Also, be wary of using drugs to self-medicate because that will only lead to further problems. If you do end up succumbing to addiction, there are rehab resources that are available for you.
Start a workout plan
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that can help fight depression. You should get an immediate boost from your first workout, and it’s likely to get better as you continue adding exercise to your routine. The good news for people looking to avoid social interactions is that they aren’t necessary here. Sure, it would be amazing if you could join a volleyball league and make tons of friends, but that’s just not realistic for most people who are depressed. It’s okay to take baby steps. And if the thought of joining a group sport sounds terrifying, just go for a walk, run or bike ride by yourself. You’ll get the same endorphin-boosting benefits whether you’re alone or with a group. And you can always work your way up to group activities.
Make plans on your terms
It can be difficult for people dealing with depression or anxiety to keep plans. This is often because social situations are inherently unappealing to them. But if you know this, you may be able to work around the issue. Make plans that feel most comfortable to you. Maybe you meet a friend at your home or in a quiet park. Or maybe you go to the movie theater where there’s limited social interaction. Once you get into the habit of spending time with other people, it should eventually become easier.
Hold yourself accountable
Are you one of those people who cancel plans at the last minute because you “aren’t feeling it?” If so, stop. Start holding yourself accountable to your word. If you made a plan and don’t have a legitimate reason for canceling, get off your bottom and do it. If you feel like you have to leave early, that’s okay. But when you allow yourself to cancel plans like this, you always have an out. And if you have an out, you’re likely to take it. Your friendships will improve, and you should find it easier to keep plans when you start holding yourself accountable.
When you isolate yourself, you may feel like you’re doing the right thing, but it’s likely to make your depression worse. Worsening depression may also lead to suicide or substance abuse, so you’ll want to take measures to get your life under control before your depression gets worse.
Try to find ways to get out of the house and be among other people, even if it’s a group of strangers at a ballgame that you don’t even talk to. Small steps will lead to big change. And that big change will make it all worth it when you think back on how far you’ve come.