Feeling Down In The Dumps? 7 Ways To Pull Yourself Out Of Depression

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depressed woman

Are you dealing with depression? Are you having one of those days where you're full of despair and feeling hopeless?

Maybe it feels like you just want to crawl into bed and never get out.

Dealing with depression can be challenging.

Feeling down in the dumps, more often than not, means that you're struggling with some kind of depression. That word sounds scary, but it doesn't have to be.

Knowing how to manage these feelings can help you move past them and live the life you want! It just takes some awareness and a little action.

RELATED: The Different Types Of Depression & How To Know If You're Depressed

If you're dealing with depression, here are 7 ways you can pull yourself out

1. Assess the situation.

There are two types of depression you may feel: situational and chemical. They have similar symptoms but different causes. Knowing what kind of depression you have is the first step.

Situational depression is caused by something that happens in your life. When something big happens that makes you sad — like the death of family members, a divorce, or the loss of a job— you can become situationally depressed.

This kind of depression usually has a beginning caused by a specific event and an end. It's often treated differently from chemical depression.

Chemical depression is the result of your brain chemistry being off in such a way that leads to negative thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, and other symptoms. You're most often born with chemical depression, but it can also be caused by a traumatic life event. It can happen to you even if your life is going great.

2. Do things that feel good.

If you’re feeling down in the dumps, your inclination is to collapse. You stay in bed, don’t shower or eat well, and cut off contact with those you love.

However, if you're experiencing symptoms of depression, collapsing is absolutely the worst thing that you can do. Instead, it's important to do things that make you feel good.

For me, I keep a list of things to do when I'm feeling depressed.

I take a long, hard walk — the endorphins from physical activity are great for my depression. Also, I do yoga, I watch "The Walking Dead," take a bath, go to the movies, have sex, and eat Pad Thai.

When I'm depressed, I do one or all of these things and my depression is often lifted.

So, what makes you happy? Write out a list of every good idea you can think of so that when you're depressed, you're ready.

3. Control your thoughts.

Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with depression, your worst enemy is that brain of yours.

While you're lying on the couch feeling sorry for yourself, your brain is actively buying into it all.

"You're a loser," it says. "You have no friends. You aren’t good at anything. You will never find love. You suck at your job." And on and on.

Chances are, none of those things are true. You're not a loser, you have plenty of friends, you're talented, love is out there, and your boss thinks you're doing great.

But your brain, when you're depressed, just doesn’t go there. So, it's really important to keep your brain busy.

Yoga is a really good way to do this — you're so busy trying to figure out your pose that you don’t have a chance to think about anything else. It also has the additional benefit of toning your body and making you feel strong, which can be helpful.

Other options for keeping your mind quiet and staving off negative thoughts include reading, going to a movie, hanging out with friends, and/or working.

Meditation is also an option, but I just get more depressed when I try — and fail — to meditate. But, if you can do it, go for it!

What do you like to do that will help you quiet that mind of yours, the mind that is feeding into those feelings that are bringing you down? Figure it out and do it! Just make sure you don't pick something that will worsen depression. 

RELATED: The Different Types Of Depression & How To Know If You're Depressed

4. Get outside.

If it’s at all possible, take some time to get outside and go for a walk. There isn’t a woman I know who doesn't say that her stress levels are always greatly reduced after a walk.

The thing about walking is that it kills two birds with one stone. Or rather three!

Walking encourages deep breathing, which calms you down quickly. Also, for some reason, the motion of walking encourages clearer thinking.

The rhythm of the stride and the increased oxygen intake can make something that was extremely overwhelming just 20 minutes earlier much easier to manage.

Furthermore, the dopamine that your body creates with the motion of exercise works to help alleviate your depression instantly.

So, get outside and get your heart rate up. Regular exercise is a great way to manage your feelings of depression and loneliness.

5. Write it out.

Do you journal? Or write letters to yourself? Or scribble notes on post-its? If you do, great! If you don’t, it could be time to start.

Writing about things that are overwhelming you can be useful, both for your depression and your loneliness, especially if you don’t have someone with whom to share your sadness.

Much like speaking, writing allows you to get your sadness out of your head and onto paper.

And when you read your feelings on a piece of paper in front of you, instead of keeping them rolling around in your brain, they can seem much easier to manage.

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6. Spend time with family members and people who love you.

When you're feeling down in the dumps, one of the hardest things to do, ironically, is to get out of the house and spend time with people.

Spending time with those who love you can lift your depression and loneliness big time, if only for a bit.

If the prospect of hanging with a group of friends is daunting, choose one friend. Perhaps, make it the one who knows you best and can accept where you are right now emotionally.

A friend who will put no pressure on you to "get over it" or "suck it up." A friend who will laugh with you and be silly but who won’t try to fix you.

So, pick up that phone right now and reach out to that person. Make a date and do it! I promise you that time spent with others will help you when you're feeling depressed and lonely.

There are also support groups available if you'd prefer not to reveal your depression to your friends and family just yet. 

7. Talk to your doctor.

If all else fails and still you find yourself feeling exhaused and fending off negative thoughts all of the time, then it’s time to call your primary care doctor.

Feeling consistently depressed and lonely might indicate some serious health problems or a genuine mental illness. Getting a complete check-up from your doctor could be really important.

Your doctor can take a look at all aspects of your life and help you come up with a plan for managing your depression and loneliness so that you can find some relief. If left untreated and allowed to persist, people with depression can run into serious trouble. 

Remember, your doctor won’t judge. There are lots of people who feel just like you do every day and that’s what doctors are there for – to help us all find real solutions. 

If you’re dealing with depression, it’s important that you do something about it... now!

Do a quick assessment of your life and try to figure out what kind of depression you might have. Take care of yourself, make yourself happy, keep your brain busy, spend time with people and, if necessary, see your doctor.

Depression can go away on its own if properly managed but will get worse if left untreated. So, try these tips but always pay attention to how you're doing. If you are getting worse and not better, get help!

Remember, you can do it!

RELATED: What It Feels Like To Have Anxiety And Depression At The Same Time

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based, certified life and love coach. Let her help you find, and keep, love in this crazy world in which we live. Email her at mitzi@letyourdreamsbegin.com and get started!

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.