For those who live with depression, it can be difficult and at times even feel impossible to function. You know the dark, down days will come, and when they hit, the weight is like a ton of bricks. It can become incredibly hard to think and concentrate. Your appetite may leave you. Your sleep patterns may go awry. Your energy likely subsides and your motivation disappears. Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and/or worthlessness abound.

When you’re amidst this state, it is hard to recall the good days. But they were there. Nurture yourself during these times. Feed your soul with the things you enjoy. Maybe that’s watching movies, listening to music, going for a walk, wrapping up in a soft blanket, eating chocolate, soaking in a warm bath… You decide. It helps, when you’re not in a depressed state, to make a list of these very things: your go-to coping skills. You’ll thank yourself later. Be compassionate with yourself, and know this will pass. It is a process. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel.

Keep a notebook that is full of things that inspire you: poems, encouraging quotes, pictures, etc., and reflect upon it. Have a supporter you can trust and depend upon to call in times of need; someone who is willing to even just be present with you. Pick someone positive and uplifting. Have pre-made freezer meals on hand for the days you lack the motivation to tend to cooking for yourself. Engage in a healthy daily practice of activities when you ARE feeling well, so these things remain habit when you’re feeling depressed. Maybe it’s daily yoga, walking, juicing, reading, meditation, prayer, or aromatherapy. If you’re not doing good and healthy things for yourself when you’re feeling well, you most assuredly won’t be doing them when you’re feeling depressed.

None of the aforementioned supportive tactics will take away the depressed mood entirely, but they can alleviate some of the depressive symptoms, even if just briefly. Think of the depression like a weight you carry. Even if only setting aside the weight briefly, you’ll still experience some relief. And every little bit helps.

If you are not already under the care of a physician and/or therapist for the treatment of your depression, I encourage you to take that step. Your mental health is just as valuable as your physical health.