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How To Love Yourself When Dealing With Depression

Love Yourself Dealing Depression

“Love yourself not in some egocentric, self-serving sense but love yourself the way you would love your friend in the sense of taking care of yourself, nourishing yourself, trying to understand, comfort, and strengthen yourself.” ― Frederick Buechner

Why Loving Yourself Is Important

Loving yourself is important as it may just be one critically important step to help you deal with your depression. Furthermore, depression can do a number on your relationships. By working to develop a positive, loving, relationship with yourself, you will be supporting your ability to have productive, balanced healthy relationships with your friends, family, and colleagues. 

This article speaks to what it means to develop a relationship with yourself and how to love yourself, with 5 strategies to do this in the face of depression.

Related: How To Find Inner Peace: 8 Strategies You Can Start Right Now

What Does It Mean to Love Yourself Anyway

Loving yourself simply means that you care for and appreciate yourself in a similar way that you would for a friend or family member. It means that you take the time to get to know yourself, respect yourself and develop a relationship with yourself. Furthermore, it means that you will take care of yourself and practice the habits that will enhance your wellbeing and protect you from harm.

As they say, “love is patient and love is kind”. Loving yourself means that you put this into practice with regard to yourself as much as you would for other people. It is all of the things you do for another person that you love, things like appreciating your flaws, seeing the good in yourself, forgiving yourself, and so on.

How Depression Impacts Your Love for Yourself

If you are fighting depression there is an inner struggle that will no doubt impact how you feel about yourself and your relationship with yourself. 

In fact, the struggle with depression is often a condition in which the opposite takes place, there is a loathing of the self, which can turn into self-harm or other destructive behaviors. This might be to escape the pain and discomfort of depression and it might be for a lack of care for the self.

It’s important to remember that depression is a serious mental health illness and when one struggles with depression, their sense of self is distorted as well as their perception of reality. Suicide and thoughts of suicide are common symptoms of depression and are another aspect of distorted thinking that comes into play when depression is present. 

Working on and developing a relationship, a love for yourself, is one way to address depression and heal the relationship one has with themselves.

How to Find a Love for Yourself When Dealing with Depression

#1 Practice Self Care

Self-care at this point, will not come easily, as doing something nice for yourself is the last thing you probably want to think about, or can think about right now. You’d be much more apt to punish yourself rather than care for yourself. But it is in times like these where you can embrace the catch-all ‘fake it till you make it” mentality where you don’t question it or think about it, you just do it.

And the important thing to remember here is to pick the easy things that you can do that will start to make small differences that might give you the energy to tackle some of the bigger ones. 

We aren’t talking about reinventing yourself or beginning a Ph.D. program, we are talking about daily self-care chores, things like taking care of your hygiene, eating healthy, non-processed foods, taking a walk outside, and maybe making sure that you connect with a friend or family member every day.

When you are feeling a little better and can step up your self-care routine a little, you might want to incorporate other activities, like taking your lunch away from your desk every day, finding a favorite book, booking in some spa or salon time, whatever it is that is going to help you to find the love and appreciation for yourself, which is hidden underneath the layers of depression.

love yourself depression
How To Love Yourself When Dealing With Depression
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Meredith Flanagan, LICSW

Meredith Flanagan is a Mental Health Professional (LICSW) with more than 20 years of experience as a social worker, educator, therapist, and community organizer. She has worked in a variety of fields such as domestic violence and crisis intervention, developmental disabilities, healthcare, and public education. Among her proudest achievements is being an RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer), serving in Ecuador and Honduras. She has been in clinical practice for over 10 years and works primarily with clients who battle depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, and Adjustment Disorder. Meredith has been working in the field of public education for the past 7 years and currently holds a position as a Special Education Administrator. Her passion is turning life’s challenges and roadblocks into opportunities and strengths that drive us forward creating new and exciting possibilities.View Author posts