How to Create and Use Self Care Plans in Major Depression
The Importance of Self Care for Those with Depression
Caring for yourself is never as important as it is when you are suffering from depression. For those with depression who experience intermittent episodes of Major Depression, periods of time when depression is much more severe, self care can be an anchor to restoring prior good health.
Self care is a practice that should be learned during periods of wellness and incorporated into daily living. By learning it while well, it is almost routine to do it during periods of severe depression even though motivation may be lacking and emotional despair may prevail.
Simply stated, self care is what can be done to soothe, calm and relax one's self. Self care is typically small, everyday acts that are very personal to each individual that have meaning and bring comfort, peace or joy. Good self care also reduces stress and anxiety.
Perfect Relaxing Hot Tea
How to Create a Self Care Plan - A Step by Step Guide
- Identify learned coping skills. Coping skills are those behaviors that help you deal with difficult feelings, situations and stressors. Some coping skills are practiced instinctively by some individuals while others must be learned. Examples of coping skills are: deep breathing, muscle relaxation, positive self talk, visualization, taking breaks from stressful situations, and so on.
- Identify those activities that you enjoy or bring you comfort and peace. This would seem to be easy; but for someone with depression, it can be difficult to find joy in anything at the time it is necessary to create a self care plan. It may be necessary to remember some things that usually make you feel good or make you happy. Examples include: spending time gardening, having a favorite cup of hot tea, listening to music, spending time with pets, being outdoors, and so forth.
- Identify emotional outlets. Emotional outlets are ways to help process thoughts and emotions. They allow for creativity while also serving a great purpose in thought processing. Examples include: knitting, crocheting, painting, playing musical instruments, woodworking, scrapbooking, furniture refinishing, etc....
- Find opportunities to laugh. This is important for everyone, depressed or not. Laughter is a great way to decrease stress and improve quality of life. Watch a comedy, find jokes online, or visit a friend who makes you laugh. The important thing is to laugh. It really is good medicine!
- Increase physical activity. Even a slight increase in physical activity can promote a sense of well-being in the depressed person. Walking outdoors, bicycling, gardening, playing with children and grandchildren are all excellent ways to increase physical activity!
Video Tip: Relieve Anxiety Quickly and Easily
How to Use a Self Care Plan
When it all is said and done the self care plan should include enough structure for the person using it to have simple effective actions to take for periods of emotional overload or crisis. There is no magic number of activities to identify. What is important is to understand how and when each activity will be used.
Examples of how to use a self care plan are as follows:
- I am feeling very anxious. I going to do some slow deep breathing until the feeling goes away.
- I am feeling good today! My morning is productive. It is time for a cup of hot tea. Can't wait to feel the warmth of the cup and smell the aroma of the tea. I will savor the peaceful moment!
- I am sad today and tearful. I don't feel like going out and don't have much energy. I will crochet for a little while on the couch.
- I am angry for all that has happened. I don't understand why it had to happen to me! I am going to write all of my thoughts on paper. Then, I can tear them up and throw them away!
- What a horrible confrontation! She told me I don't know how to do anything! I feel like I am going to cry but I am at work. I'm going to take a few minutes for myself and do some muscle relaxation to work this out. I need a little quiet time and space.
Learn More About Depression
- Tips for Coping with Major Depression
Coping with Major Depression may require eliminating some tasks and activities. Exercise, creative hobbies, as well as medication and therapy must be utilized to cope with Major Depression.
- Helping Someone with Major Depression
Living with Major Depression is difficult for everyone involved. The person suffering from the illness can be withdrawn, anxious, or tearful. They may withdraw from relationships and life in general. For the spouse, family and friends of this person,
- Preventing Self Harm in Major Depression
Self harm is a means of coping for some with Major Depression. By inflicting physical pain, one is able to block out feelings of unworthiness or other emotional pain. Learn how to prevent self harm.