The Healing Power of Routines, Part 1

How do routines help in quelling depression?

One of the major symptoms of depression is the inability to focus on details and follow through with different activities. Basic activities such as driving and performing work-related tasks become challenging for the simple reason that the person cannot focus well.

You never know how important focus really is until it’s taken away from you – as the case is for countless individuals who are suffering from mood disorders like depression.

In order to make your days less stressful and more productive, we have to ensure that your days are structured so that you will have specific routines to occupy your time.

This applies to everyone, not just individuals who are home most of the time. Having work may be helpful because it occupies most of your day but you still need to establish an overall framework for your whole day.

 The following steps will help you establish better routines:

  1. Identify and strike a balance between the essentials. Your life shouldn’t revolve around a single activity or pursuit only.

Overly focusing on just one aspect of your life spells disaster in the long term because you will likely neglect other important things in your life, like your family or even your basic needs.

The major domains that you should pay attention to are:

– Work-related tasks and obligations

– Responsibilities to your family and other home-related tasks

– School-related responsibilities if you are presently a student

– Personal fitness

– Proper nutrition

– Treatment obligations (taking your medication and attending psychotherapy sessions)

– Socialization needs

  1. Socialization matters. This particular routine deserves emphasis. Depressed individuals are known for isolating themselves because of the confusing wave of thoughts and emotions that accompany this mood disorder.

Don’t let your mood disorder get the best of you. If your mood disorder wants to isolate you from other people, walk in the opposite direction – reach out to other people no matter how strongly you feel against the activity.

The more you socialize with others, the weaker the mood disorder becomes through the power of structure. Establish a routine where you regularly reach out to your support network. As we’ve already discussed in a previous blog post, you don’t have to go partying just to socialize with others.

A phone call or chatting with a friend at a nearby park or café is a good start. Avoid substituting social media for real social contact, though any social contact is better than none.

Expressing yourself through social media is also good, but it’s not enough to quell feelings of loneliness and isolation. There is no substitute for human contact, remember that. That is why we urge depressed people to pick the people that they want to socialize with and focus on reaching out as much as possible.

  1. Adventures & other great experiences. Just because you have depression doesn’t mean you have to spend the next few months locked away at home. So what if your depression is telling you to stay isolated and lonely? Go out and have some fun! Find activities that will put a big smile on your face. It doesn’t matter if you still feel the mood disorder whispering negativity in your mind. You are much bigger than your mood disorder.

Since clinical depression forces a person to endure a low mood for no logical reason, the best way to conquer it is by manufacturing positive experiences that will trigger a better and more positive mood. Depression is powerful, but not as powerful as the interventions that we can perform to counter it.

If you feel lost as to what you should actually pursue first, think of what inspires or excites you.

Make a list of things that you want to pursue after identifying what lifts your mood. Create a routine that will make it possible for you to pursue these activities on a regular basis. If you can go on an adventure once a week, or at least once a month, that would be an amazing start.

  1. Find your purpose in life. Meaningful activities that color your life and make you feel that you’re achieving something important to yourself and others is a wonderful way to defeat a low mood. Though the mood disorder will remain, your mindset will be altered greatly to the point that the depression will become small and insignificant – like a bug.

Again, start with what inspires you as a person and fan outward from there. You will soon find an endeavor that will truly inspire you.