According to Brandi Koskie, “The WHO estimates that more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression.” Chances are, you are struggling with depression or know someone who is. Having a healthy diet, exercising daily, getting enough sleep (but not too much), and socializing are the basic guidelines to help those with depression. Fortunately, there are many different social, indoor, and outdoor activities that help ease the battle. Before we dive into these activities, it is encouraged that they are practiced in conjunction with any medications already being taken, as these activities may help tremendously, but do not take the place of taking your medication.
Being outdoors is one way to ease depression. Get your daily exercise by taking a walk, riding a bike, or swimming. Gardening is another great activity to help boost your serotonin. A bacteria in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, has been scientifically proven through research to boost serotonin levels. Depression is caused by a lack of serotonin in the brain, so this chemical boost could help immensely! Overall, being outdoors in general is not only good for you, but has been proven to help depression. You can partake in many common activities outdoors, such as reading, writing, and drawing.
If the outdoors just isn’t your thing, no worries! There are plenty of indoor activities to do as well. Caring for pets is just one of those many activities. To read more about the health benefits of pets, go take a look at one of my previous blog posts here. Personally, practicing a hobby has been a great way to boost my mood as well.
Arts and crafts are always fun to take part in, and art therapy is encouraged for those struggling with any mental illness. Adult coloring books can be found online and on many store shelves. For myself, even a few minutes of coloring is extremely relaxing. I have also written a blog post covering art therapy, and you can read that here.
Chores don’t have to be all bad either, some people admit that they enjoy doing “chores” and believe it helps their mental health. Not only does it keep your mind busy, but having a clean home simply makes you feel better. Listening to music, playing board games or video games, and reading can all be done to help ease depression as well.
Many times depression pushes us to isolate ourselves from the outer world, so here are a few activities you can do alone or with a friend. One on one counseling or therapy groups can be extremely helpful in learning how to manage your depression. Therapy groups can help you realize that you are not alone in this fight, and meet others who understand.
Volunteering is another great way to help yourself while helping others. You might volunteer at the animal shelter, a food drive, or any other volunteer organization. Getting pampered also usually makes someone feel better, so go get a massage, eat at your favorite restaurant, or go see a movie.
There are many different activities you can try to alleviate depression. Next time you’re feeling down, go find a relaxing place. Your place can be indoors or outdoors. Then, state one thing you smell, hear, see, feel, and taste (if you brought snacks). Afterward, you can spend the rest of your time watching wildlife, reading, meditating, or whatever feels right. I hope that you’ve found some helpful activities through this article, and they help you with whatever you may be dealing with.
If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7/365 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You are never alone.