The blues. While depression is not a matter that’s to be taken lightly, everyone goes through their ups and downs. Life happens to the best of us. Some days, you’re totally bossing it, the next day it’s like you’ve used up your quota of energy and you can’t deal with even the littlest things. Everything seems wrong (#firstworld problems? Never negate what you feel!): No money, no friends, no life, and no one seems to care?
It may be the case that you’re feeding into that cycle. These are three things you’re doing that signal you might be a rut and there are simple ways for you to get out of that negative loop. Scroll for deets:
BINGE-WATCHING TV SHOWS? BEAT THE HABIT
Netflix and chill may seem like a good distraction, but it also might make you feel worse. Based on this article by the New York Post, binge-watching your shows can impact your mental health negatively. Of the 2,000 people surveyed by Patient.info, those aged 18-24 were fives times more likely to feel lonely, three times more likely to feel depressed and twice as likely to feel anxious, sleepless and empty.
From that same article, Lisa Artis, from The Sleep Council, added: “While it may seem harmless to veg out in front of the TV, excessive screen time has an impact on sleep.” Think about it — you binge-watch, you sleep late, your cycle gets messed up, you wake up feeling worse. Or you spend your weekends on the couch, get nothing done, then feel FOMO when you see people on your social media
THE RIGHT WAY: Clinical psychologist Jennifer Taitz recommends rewarding productivity with your favourite show or using it as a way to wind down at the end of the day. Try to regulate the amount you watch by disabling the autoplay function on your Netflix account.
SLEEPING ALL DAY? tweak your routine
Sleep is love. Sleep is life. Sleeping is enjoyable and important to your mental health. But it’s really easy to sleep too much when you’re not feeling so hot mentally. According to this PsychCentral article, it sets off a debilitating cycle that prevents depression from lifting, because the less energy you have, the more likely you are to avoid activities that’ll help you feel better. And basically, we’re designed for just the right amount of sleep. Too much and you’ll over do it. “You’ll notice that you’ll feel groggy if you oversleep. Just like food, having too much of it is going to make you feel sick,” says Jennifer.
THE RIGHT WAY: Okay, you’re not going to adjust your life and your mental health in a day, surely, right? The same PsychCentral article starts off by suggesting taking small steps to improve your cycle, then you’ll get into the rhythm. Then, focus on the cleanest sleep you can get (bye screens before bedtime), set a curfew and wake up around the same time every day, then also think about the food you consume. That 4pm latte you always indulge in = not going to help.
be happy? no, make yourself worry
Forcing yourself to be happy all the time apparently isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Think it’s counter intuitive to tell yourself to worry? Apparently, giving yourself space to worry is the way to go. According to behavioural psychologist Simon Rego, the more you distract yourself from a thought, the more you think about it. This article by Anxieties.com also recommends giving yourself “Worry Time” that you dedicate to purposely obsessing.
THE RIGHT WAY: While we know giving yourself Headspace can help you create room in your mind to focus and stabilise thoughts, 10 mins a day; with this technique you also give room for your negative thoughts to roam free within your mind, then you shake them off and go about your day. Then, when you problem solve, you won’t be as worried as you were. Try the technique properly based on the guidelines here, so you don’t end up an emotional mess worse than before. The rule is, generally, is that you don’t have to be positive all the time. The negative feelings are also the ones you need to feel, so feel them all so you can give yourself space to learn from and reflect on them.