Updated: Apr 22, 2020
Social isolation is a huge component of depression. Depression can make our minds, hearts and bodies feel extremely heavy and tired. Depression can lead us to crave our home, sleep and watching tv. We may even be confused as to why we are exhausted even after getting an 8-hour block of sleep. I am fully aware that depression can deplete us of any energy. My goal is to help you challenge that by taking baby steps to get you out of bed and out of the house. I know that thought can seem overwhelming. I’m not asking you to go out 3-4 nights per week. Start off small and build up to getting out more.
1) Say YES to reaching out to your inner circle
Message those family members and friends that are stable and good influences on you. Ask them to lunch, dinner or for coffee. Start off small by trying to set something up one time a week.
2) Say YES to invites and become someone’s plus one to events
I had a colleague that was depressed and isolating. He made a conscious effort to say yes to many of the events he was invited to. This meant activities, hobbies and social events. He would go to weddings, cover band concerts, marches and sports games. It didn’t matter that he didn’t know the hosts or follow the sports team. What mattered was that he was able to reduce isolation and increase the social, human connection. Remember that it’s a gradual buildup. The more you do it the easier it will become. The more you connect to other people the better you will feel.
3) Say YES to meeting and connecting to colleagues
This doesn’t mean that you have to disclose any of the issues you are currently dealing with. You don’t have to talk about your depression. Rather, ask them out for a coffee or appetizers after work. Ask them about how they got into the field, ask them how they spend their time, their last vacation or about their children.
4) Say YES to self-care
Eat well, drink 8 glasses of water, take a warm bath, spend some time outside, meditate if you can, go to your therapy and MD appointments and make attempts to get enough sleep.
5) Say YES to help
Remember, there is nothing wrong with seeking out therapy and talk to your primary MD about your depression. Don’t listen to any stigma. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your level of functioning at home, work and with others.
6) Say YES to Countdowns
Try not to overthink and talk yourself out of getting out of bed, going out with others or taking a shower. Give yourself a countdown such as, “3, 2, 1… YOU GOT THIS (insert your name here)” or “3, 2, 1…GO STRONG. YOU ARE A FIGHTER (insert your name here).”
7) Say YES to laughing
Watch those funny movies, close the door and dance/ sing to your favorite songs or go on youtube to watch funny videos.
8) Say YES to mindful activities
I understand that you are sleepy so start small with this one too. Spend at least 10 minutes per day outside soaking up the sun and some nature. Also, go to YOUTUBE.com to play a meditation video. I’ve heard clients complain that it’s too difficult but remember you just have to sit there and close your eyes. You are just changing the place that you are sitting from your bed to the floor. Youtube has hundreds of choices but go with a shorter one if you are a beginner. I recommend a 10-20-minute meditation. Namaste friends!