We may earn money from the companies or products mentioned in this post.
This article on Home Therapy is sponsored by Better Help. All opinions are my own. With that being said, I am not a medical professional and this article should not replace medical advice from a qualified professional.
You all know by now that I have struggled with depression for a fair portion of my adult life, and have had many family members throughout my entire life struggle with mental illness. What I’ve learned is that there is no one size fits all when it comes to therapy. Mental illness takes many forms, and therapy needs are very much individualized.
What may work for one person, may not work for you. What works for you, may not work for others. So I’ve decided to compile a list of ideas that I’ve seen work for others, and know have worked for me. I hope if you’re still searching for something to help lift you on your dark days, that one of these may be your key to a healthier mind.
Therapy: Treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder.
Therapy Ideas to Try at Home
Talk to a therapist
Clinical therapy is where I found the best and most successful relieve from the hardest time of my life. Post-partum depression hit me bad, and without my therapist – well I choose not to dwell on what my life might look like now if I hadn’t taken that step to talk to someone. At Better Help you can find online therapy to get you started. I talk more about how online therapy can be a good thing, and my personal experience with it in this article When Counseling Sessions Don’t Fit In Your Schedule.
To learn more about online therapy visit betterhelp.com
To think deeply and focus on one’s mind for a period of time is the simple definition of meditation. I honestly can’t think of a more perfect form of therapy for a suffering mind, than to focus our whole being on the mind. When I visited a therapist, the talking was good, but what ended up being the turning point for me was when we focused on guided meditation. As we dove into my mind, I found the “real me” locked behind a door – one I simply had to open and let myself out.
Exercise as Therapy
Anyone with a mental health disorder knows that it is a medical problem, not just something in our heads that we “can pull ourselves out of”. Often it’s an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. By getting daily exercise you help your brain create more endorphins, which happen to be happy chemicals. So whether you love exercising, or hate it – if you find yourself in a downward slump doing something as simple as a walk around the block can help bring a little balance.
Get more Sunlight
I have found that I need the sun. In fact, even my 10 year old just this week told me she really needed more sunlight. There are many proven benefits from the sun – it helps our circadian rhythm, boosts vitamin D3 levels, increases serotonin, and releases nitric oxide which in turns decreases blood pressure. So if exercise isn’t your thing, try just sitting for an hour or two in the sunlight. Some people have a hard time absorbing vitamin D. This is something to talk to your doctor about, to see what you can do to increase your intake. It might be taking a vitamin, or it might be vitamin D shots, but if sun therapy isn’t quite enough, there are alternatives to getting this vitamin.
Eat and Sleep Regularly
Making sure we take care of our physical needs, can go a long way in taking care of our mental needs. Try going to bed at the same time every night. Create a pattern, or schedule to stick to every day in order to help your circadian rhythm. On top of that, making sure you feed your body a balanced diet will also help your mental state. Binging on junk food, or always eating on the go adds stress and imbalance to our life. When our mind is unbalanced, finding balance elsewhere can help lessen the mental load being carried.
While I’ve tried many of the therapies I’m sharing today, essential oils is not one I have ventured into. For many though, I’ve heard pretty amazing effects of better moods, more energy, and a calming peace over their minds through the use of oils. There are many oils that others have found to have a calming effect, or a boost of energy. Search these out and see what might benefit your mental health. Everything is worth a try.
Try Something New
Talk to anyone struggling with depression, and they will tell you they don’t enjoy the activities they normally do. Depression sucks the enjoyment out of the things closest to us. When an episode of depression hits, you may find yourself quitting your job, pushing family and friends away, and letting go of items you love. Before doing any of these, may I suggest trying a new hobby? Pick up a coloring book, attend a pottery class, grab a camera and see what beauty you can create, learn an instrument, or go dancing. You may have lost temporary interest in your favorite activities, so try and find something to bring back that interest and excitement. I do understand that this is much easier said than done, but many I have talked to, say having a creative outlet helps immensely.
Surround Yourself with Support
When we surround ourselves with those who love us, who understand us, and who we know will never judge us for our mental health, our moods can be lifted drastically. Surrounded by these people we don’t have to hide what we are feeling. When we don’t have to hide, we can find the help that we need. We all do better with a support system in place. Even if it’s just one person to start out. Someone you can turn to and say “I am depressed. This is how I feel. Thank you for listening.”
Be Around People
I debated sharing this idea, but who knows, it could be the one you need to hear. On questionairres for depression, one usually asks if you stop enjoying being around people, and find yourself isolating yourself more. What better way to combat this symptom of depression than to go out and be around people. It’s NOT easy when you’d much rather be alone, but if you make yourself be with people – even just for a little bit – you may find yourself happier. These people don’t even need to know that you aren’t 100% at the moment. Forcing ourselves to do things when our brain is telling us to go hide in a corner/sleep/mope/etc will not be easy, but for some this is exactly what they need. Staying away from people adds to their depression, instead of waging war against it.
What is good music? I will leave that to the individual tastes of each of you. However, I would classify good music as anything that makes you feel one of these – at peace, more love, and or increase your happiness. Case in point – when I was pregnant, we heard it was good for the baby to hear classical music. So I turned Chopin on one day as background music. It didn’t take long before I found myself slumped against a wall, feeling like my mind was going to burst. Chopin is classical but it actually sent me into what was probably my first real feeling of depression. So again, good music is up to you, but look for things that help uplift your mood, and turn off anything that feeds the depression. I still rarely listen to Chopin.
I’ve been so proud of my dear friend Laura for trying to take control of her depression and anxiety by doing something she once loved in so public a venue. She’s using her voice to talk about depression, and then singing some of her favorite songs. You can check out one of the videos here, but then definitely give her a thumbs up for being so brave.
I’m not saying these therapies will work for you, but I can only hope that if you haven’t found something to help yet, that you will give these a try. If anything, know that you are not alone. I was overwhelmed by the number of friends who responded to me when I asked them what helped lift their moods when going through a depression. We are many, and we are ready to start talking about mental health.