If you’re struggling with depression, and your medication isn’t working, or you have decided to not use medication, here is a checklist of things to go through to help you come out of the worst of it. I personally used this as I was going through severe depression, and continue to use it on my worst days. If one didn’t work, the next would. Even if you only deal with depression during the colder months, which is called SAD or seasonal affective disorder, these can help you too. I am here to help and hope some of these tips can help you with dealing with depression without medication.
A Daily Checklist for Dealing with Depression Without Medication
Get up out of bed
Getting out of bed in and of itself is a great feat, and shows you’re already on your way.
That fresh air, some sunshine, feeling the energy and movement from others around you can revitalize you.
Drink some caffeine
Studies have shown that caffeine can help people with depression to lift their spirits. On my days where I was especially dragging, I would pick up a Bang energy drink, and pretty quickly, I would feel more alive.
Watch something that will make you laugh
I have a saved folder on Instagram and YouTube, full of things that make me laugh. Laughter can release you from the heaviness of the moment and help you reset.
Eat something before 10 am
Feeding yourself, especially nutritious food, can help you feel more balanced. The act of taking care of yourself and getting the food ready before the day has started, can help you get your day going.
Listen to some upbeat music
I know if I’m down or feeling kinda blah, I need to put on some music. It will instantly lift your mood and help you concentrate on what getting whatever you need to get done, done.
Do something you love doing that lights you up
Maybe make a list of a few things you can do that make you happy. For me, that’s being creative, making mood boards. Spend 5-30 minutes doing that, and it will make you feel lighter.
Check in with a therapist or confidante
Reach out for help or strike a conversation. Having someone there for you to support you in your worst moments is a game changer.
Journal how you feel
Sometimes you just need to brain dump. Get every thought out of your head, along with your stresses, worries, and every emotion. Cleanse your body from all the negative, and leave it on the page.
Don’t let yourself look at your phone until you’re up and out of the house
This was a rule I set for myself, because I would wake up, stay in bed and look at my phone for hours. When I made the rule to not be able to look at my phone until I was out of the house, I was ten times more motivated to get up and get ready with urgency.
Move your body
It could be dancing in your room, going for a walk, running, lifting weights. Whatever it is, it will help you feel more grounded and more alive. I know when I start moving my body, the movement helps the stagnation of my emotions release.
Have a schedule planned in advance
Loose plans won’t help you. Have a time-blocked schedule, that you have planned out hour by hour, or even by every 30 minutes. Waking up with a plan, with your clothes laid out, will help you get up and get going.
Be around people
When you’re depressed, it’s easy to not want to be around people. But what you need most is people. People to talk with, laugh with, bounce ideas off of. They can help you with advice or show you new perspectives. I was alone for the worst of my severe depression, and I 100% believe that’s why I was in it for so long.
Speak to yourself with compassion
What depression is, is self-hatred. It’s anger turned inward. Combatting that isn’t easy, but what you have to do is almost speak to yourself like you’re a child, and speak with compassion and unconditional love. Celebrate every small victory you complete, like getting out of bed or feeding yourself. Continuing to do this will start to help you feel better.
Here is a study on how self-compassion can change your wellbeing and lift your depression.
Hopefully, there were a few helpful tips for dealing with your depression without medication. I would recommend saving these in your notes for the bad days, so that you can use some of them to help you out of the worst of your depression.
As a disclaimer, I am not a licensed health professional. I would seek out one if your depression or mental health is becoming an everyday problem, or something you can’t manage on your own. There is no shame in getting help, and I recommend it. I wouldn’t have been able to get out of the worst of my depression without my trauma therapist.
Sending love and hope to you.
You are not alone, and it can get better.