There’s a huge body of evidence supporting the benefits of exercise in reducing the severity of depression symptoms and boosting mood. So if you want something that is sure to help, exercise is the place to start. Build up from where you are: what’s the smallest step you can think of to increase your activity level just a little bit? Maybe it’s just to stand up and do some stretches for 2 minutes, or maybe you are able to go outside and walk for 10 minutes. Start with a small goal.
One thing you can do today: Go for a short walk around your neighbourhood.
A good sleep routine takes time to get right but is also a foundation of mental wellbeing. Try to work on it step by step. If you normally get up at 2pm at the moment then set a goal to get up at 1pm. Try setting yourself a bed time as well to remind you what time you want to get into bed.
One thing you can do today: Try to keep yourself awake during the day and wait until night time to sleep.
Nutrition has an impact on mental health and eating something healthy can also be a great signal to yourself that you are taking good care of yourself.
One thing you can do today: Cook something simple but nourishing, a vegetable soup, a bowl of porridge, a fruit salad. If that feels like too much right now, how about drinking a big glass of water, or eating one banana.
Create a nice space around you. Open the curtains and let some light in, organise your things in a way that looks good to you.
One thing you can do today: Make your bed in the morning, or buy yourself a plant or some cut flowers.
One of the most challenging but most beneficial things you can do to lift your mood is to spend time with other people. For many people, going to a big meet up is a huge step. Think about what would be easier for you: there are many ways to meet new people one-one in Berlin, or perhaps a friend would go with you to the meet up, or maybe you can decide to go just for 30 minutes.
One thing you can do today: Call or write a message to one person.
Make a list of things that make you happy. When you’re feeling low it can be really hard to think of positive things to do, so having a written list of things you normally enjoy can help you. Some ideas for the list: read a book, have a bath, bake a cake, paint my nails, get a new app to play with, watch some nice videos of pets online, sing.
One thing you can do today: Start to make your list, you can always add to it later.
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Katie Knight, counselor from the UK practicing in Berlin