How to Practice Self-love When You’re Depressed

This past week I’ve been in a deep depression and it has caused feelings of worthlessness and not being good enough to surface. For years I’ve struggled off and on with loving and even liking myself. I’ve treated myself like shit both mentally and physically. In my blog post “A Journey to Self-Love”, I discussed how I view myself and not really knowing how to love myself. Self-love is a messy process and it’s far from easy. The way I talked to myself this week and the thoughts I had showed me that I still have a long way to go on my journey. Now that my mood has lifted a little, I’ve been thinking of ways to practice self-love when you don’t feel your best. We all know that sometimes depressive episodes can leave you not being able to do anything other than lying in bed. 

Here are a few ways you can practice self-love when you’re depressed. 

  1. Nourish your body. Fill yourself with foods and drinks that nourish you. Drinking a glass of water when you rise or eating a bowl of fruit for breakfast will give you a boost. 
  2. Cut off toxic people. This one is important for our mental wellbeing. Cut ties with those negative people or energy drainers. We know when someone isn’t good for us or to us. 
  3. Indulge in things that bring you joy. Often times when we’re depressed we lose interest in the things that once made us happy. Try pushing yourself to engage in an activity that used to bring you joy and see if the spark comes back.
  4. Treat yourself. One of my favorite ways to show myself love is buying flowers. This always makes me feel good. Treat yourself to whatever it is you like. You can even pamper yourself.
  5. Journal. Journaling can help you cope with depression and allows you to express yourself. During some of my darkest moments, my journal saved the day and brought light back into my life.
  6. Discover your passion. This ties back into doing things that bring you joy. Discovering what you’re passionate about can give your life meaning.
  7. Move your body. Dance, practice yoga or go for a walk. This can also be a mood booster. Connect with your body and give it what it needs. 
  8. Forgive yourself. When we’re depressed, we may say and do things to ourselves or others that can leave us feeling worse. There have been times I’ve been so depressed that I engage in self-injurious behavior. I always beat myself up for it the next day. I’ve realized that we need to forgive ourselves for our behavior when we’re depressed. 
  9. Spend time with yourself. I’m not opposed to a little isolation when I’m depressed but I know I can’t spend too much time alone during this period. Alone time is healthy and allows you to work on yourself without outside distractions. It also gives you an opportunity to recharge.
  10. Wash up. This can be difficult during depression especially when you can’t get out of bed. If you’re unable to take a shower or bath, wash up in the sink or use baby wipes. 
  11. Try using positive self-talk. As I mentioned, this week I’ve said things to myself that I’m not proud of. My therapy session on Thursday was affirming and made me feel better about myself. I promised myself I’d work on my self-talk. Speak positivity over yourself. Look in the mirror and repeat uplifting affirmations. 
  12. List things you love about yourself. Create a list of 5-10 things you love about yourself and keep it somewhere you can view it often. 
  13. Binge-watch your favorite show. This is one of my favorite things to do when I can’t get out of bed. I power on my laptop and spend my day watching Netflix or videos on YouTube. 

    Loving on yourself when you’re depressed can be challenging. Depression has a way of convincing you that you’re not worthy of love and that there’s no use in taking care of yourself. When you’re in the midst of darkness, it feels nearly impossible to see the light. Some of these tips may feel too difficult to do when you’re depressed and that’s ok. Even just taking a moment to use positive self-talk or wash up in the sink is a step in the right direction. 

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

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