Week-ends can be a real problems for someone battling depression. Week-ends can be hard especially if one works outside the home during the week. Unstructured time is usually not a friend to depression. On the week-ends, the minutes and hours seem longer. Things just keep circling the depression.
Depression is a “living-all-consuming” illness. You might this post from a year ago helpful in explaining this.
So what to do with the forty-eight hours or whatever the that are looming ahead?(If you work the week-ends, then think of these suggestions for the periods when you do have unstructured time.)
What’s wrong with “doing nothing”, you might well ask. But I’ve never known this to be good for someone battling depression. Now, if it’s a “planned” down time, that’s a little different. But most people suffering a depressed episode let time get the best of them. The more they are inactive, they more inactive they’ve become; the more inactive they become the more depression takes over.
So it’s important to have a plan for the week-end.
Have a plan and work your plan.
Having a plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Decide for the week-end that whatever you plan, it’s your plan, not depression calling the shots. If your plan is to watch some TV and you can do that without thinking turning into a “couch potato”, that’s fine.
If you decide to indulge in some relaxation, schedule it as well but don’t relax by watching TV all day.
Personally, I find it very rare that watching TV helps with depression unless TV watching is just a background noise while you’re doing something else. Yes, I AM suggesting multi-tasking to a degree. It’s way too easy to ruminate (over-think). TV watching is mindless activity which means that the mind doesn’t have to be heavily engaged and thus it can wander too easily.
I could give lots of ideas but in order for a plan to work, you have to create your own and work it yourself. Even the creating of the plan can keep your mind absorbed. So go get some paper and pencil and start to write a list of everything you could do this week-end to keep your mind off yourself.
There are times during our depression we do need to think but if your mood is really low, this is not the time. That comes when your depression starts to wane a little.
Even though I seldom deal with depression anymore I still map out my week-ends somewhat. Most of us don’t function well with ambiguity. Ambiguity, the not-knowing, can make us very anxious.
Being sedentary is not healthy on many different levels. If it isn’t you but someone you love who is struggling with depression (and boy, is that a challenge!) stay active yourself and try to engage your friend, spouse, sibling, whatever, to be engaged with you. This can be like pulling teeth but if you can get them moving at all, it will encourage them to further action.
It’s funny how something as simple as planning your week-end a little better can really help your mood.
Now to be very clear: I’m not saying we have to be busy every minute.
We all need some “down” time but ” down” time for someone battling depression can turn into a “downer”. You don’t want that!
God bless and have a good week-end.