Friday, 12 June 2020

5 Ways You Can Manage Depression at Home When You Feel Alone

Alyssa shares her tips for managing depression, especially when at home and away from university. 
- Alyssa

Graduation and the time between terms can be difficult for those of us who deal with depression — whether you’ve just finished your degree or you still have time left in university, you can feel isolated from your peers, unsure of the next steps, or like your lack of classes leaves you without a purpose.

Even in the best of times, when I was looking forward to leaving school work behind, I felt a sense of emptiness where my university days had been before. Now, when you’ve probably been feeling isolated while taking classes online — and when you may not yet know what the future looks like even a few months from now — it’s easier than ever to feel alone.

Whether you’re dealing with post-graduation depression or general low mood and uncertainty about the future, it’s important to practise self-care in those tough moments. By taking care of yourself, you send reminders that you’re strong and capable. You deserve to feel supported and cared for — and I’ve found that most often, those feelings must start with showing love to yourself. If you’re spending time on your own while you cope, here are five ways to manage depression at home:

1. Phone a Friend

Even if you're simply spending your time alone because you need your space, a dose of healthy social interaction can be beneficial. Seeing a friend in person isn’t always practical, but you can always reach out for a phone call or video chat.

When you’re managing your depression, you might not necessarily feel like talking — I know that even when I’m lonely, I tend to want to handle it alone. It can be hard to reach out, but talking with a trusted friend can be the reminder you need that you're loved and cared for. Plus, it can take your mind off things and offer you the chance to show love to someone else.

2. Escape Into a Story

Taking your mind off your surroundings can be a great comfort — which is why I’ve always found fiction to be an incredible tonic, no matter how I’m feeling. There’s even a name for it — bibliotherapy. Diving into a good book or beloved film can be the perfect way to shift your focus. Not only does it provide a healthy distraction, but it also offers you perspective — giving you the chance to find meaning, interpret life and experience situations through another’s eyes.

Escapism isn’t everything, but it can help you step out of your own shoes and come back to yourself feeling refreshed. Reading a book or watching a series also gives you a goal to work towards and a safe space to look forward to each day.

3. Listen to a Podcast

If you’re feeling aimless or alone, a little education can help take your mind off things. Maybe you’ve had enough of classes, but you can always learn on your own time by listening to an interesting podcast. You can have fun, educate or entertain yourself on so many subjects by streaming podcasts — and they can also offer an element of conversational banter, which can help when you’re feeling alone.

4. Make a Meal for Yourself

Everybody needs to eat, and cooking is a great way to engage in self-care. Studies show choosing hobbies or activities using your hands can alleviate depression, especially when the result is something tangible like a meal or a craft.

Cooking occupies you with a task — which you can even do while listening to a podcast or phoning a friend if you need a little motivation, and it also ensures you’re keeping your body healthy.

5. Practise Yoga

While it can sometimes be tough to get moving, physical activity can alleviate depression. Any workout or movement routine can be a great coping skill, but yoga has the added benefit of intentionally incorporating breath into your movements. This allows you to focus on being in the moment, finding calm and peace within yourself, and soothing both your mind and body. Intentional breathing exercises and meditation have also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.

When I practise yoga every morning, I find myself feeling more peaceful, grounded and hopeful throughout the day.

You Are Not Alone

Depression is difficult to manage, especially alone, and finding the courage to show yourself care and kindness is a step in the right direction. Self-care can go a long way — but remember, it’s not the only way, and you can always talk to a professional if you need support. Most of all, remember that many of us feel the same way, and you’re never truly alone.

For more information Student Space is here to make it easier for you to find the support you need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Click here to see more information from Student Minds about the coronavirus outbreak and mental health. You can find advice on looking after your mental health here.


Hi, I'm Alyssa, an education and student life blogger with a passion for connecting with students of all sorts. Making positive self-care choices like these has kept me grounded through school and life - and I hope to help other students succeed, stay healthy and make the most of their university experience. Follow along on my blog, Syllabusy

4 comments:

  1. The emotional problems are the norm for many of us. The presence of good friends and the right advice will help us to overcome our depression

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  2. You've offered some great advice here! Depression and anxiety have hit a lot of us hard, especially as the world spins more and more out of control. Self-care is another great way to combat these issues. Many women freely admit to taking better care of others than they do themselves. Yet if we don't take care of ourselves, especially during times of intense stress or sadness, there won't be anything left for us to give to others.

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  3. Create a routine and stick to it. For example, getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, and planning in a lunch break, making the most of your weekends, can really help. If you like routine and organisation, create a spreadsheet or list with your daily schedule on, and write down a list of tasks you’d like to achieve each day that you can tick off. If you prefer playing things by ear, ensure you are taking time away from your screen regularly. Read: looking after your mental health whilst working from home.

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