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5 Ways I Prioritize My Well-being With Major Depressive Disorder

I have battled major depressive disorder, known as MDD, for years. It is a daily challenge affecting everything, from relationships to sleep to productivity.

With this diagnosis, I have learned to prioritize my well-being to combat some of the struggles that MDD creates in my life. This article looks at 5 different tips I use to prioritize my well-being while living with depression.

What is major depressive disorder?

Major depressive disorder involves a persistent low mood, a decreased interest in pleasurable activities, "feelings of guilt or worthlessness, lack of energy, poor concentration, appetite changes, psychomotor retardation or agitation, sleep disturbances, or suicidal thoughts."1

Tip #1: Set boundaries

One of the hardest elements to implement concerning prioritizing my well-being was setting boundaries and learning to say no. I believe I get my people-pleasing tendencies from my mother. The problem with these tendencies is that they lead to people taking advantage of you, which can create a massive mental and physical strain.

It is important to note that being overwhelmed and stressed is not good for your health – mental or physical. Learning to set boundaries takes some practice but is about understanding your limitations and remembering your self-worth.

Tip #2: Keep a good sleep routine

Another element I have focused on when it comes to prioritizing my well-being is creating and maintaining a sleep routine. This can also be called sleep hygiene. My bedroom is set up with blackout curtains and I have removed everything with lights (such as alarm clocks, night lights, etc). At bedtime, we also kick the air conditioner down to 68 degrees. I love sleeping when it is dark and cold.

At some point in the past, when I first started living with insomnia, I read that we should keep the bedroom for only sleep and sex. The first part of this involves not watching television or reading in bed. The next part means when insomnia strikes, to get out of bed for a little while. In this case, I go to the recliner in my living room until I feel ready to try sleeping again.

Something else that I do as part of my sleep hygiene is to wear blue-light-blocking glasses in the evening. Since I am not likely to refrain from the television, my Kindle, my phone, and my laptop before bedtime, these glasses help decrease my exposure to blue lights.

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Tip #3: Lean on the love of pets

The third element that I utilize for managing my well-being is leaning on my pets, which in my case are dogs. With the isolating effects that MDD has on me, my dogs have been my biggest comfort. The love and support offered by my dogs have always been a lifesaver.

When thoughts get extremely dark, I have always worried who would care for my pets when I was not around. After all, they are accustomed to a certain level of care, love, and attention, since I do not have kids. My dogs also handle my crying spells with compassion and affection. Their intuition seems to be spot on.

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Tip #4: Find a creative outlet

One of my favorite elements for dealing with some of the emotions involved with MDD involves utilizing creative outlets. Writing provides me with an outlet for my emotions. It can be therapeutic for me by allowing me to express any pent-up emotions. While I choose to write, you could draw, paint, act, or whatever creative outlet speaks to you.

Tip #5: Ask for help

This can at times be the hardest tip that I have in this article, it is to seek help when you need it. Seeking help from others can include family/friends and professionals. In my case, I have utilized professionals more than family/friends because not many of my family/friends truly understand depression.

I have learned that speaking with a psychologist can help. There are options between simple talk therapy and even cognitive behavioral therapy (known as CBT). CBT works to identify negative thought patterns and behaviors that influence MDD.

Supportive friends and family can create a much-needed support system. I do have one friend that I can talk to about these issues. She has had her struggles with depression. This gives her a basic understanding of some of the struggles I face with MDD.

Prioritizing well-being with depression

Overall, prioritizing your well-being is an important element when living with MDD. By setting boundaries, implementing sleep hygiene tips, leaning on pets, utilizing creative outlets, and allowing others to help, I've made positive strides toward improving my well-being.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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