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Here Are 31 Clever Tips To Make Life Feel A Little Easier

Tuck these away for dark days.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community and a few mental health experts to share the best ways to take care of yourself when you're depressed.

Whether you're dealing with depression and want to supplement your chosen treatment methods with self-care, or are just in a serious funk, here are some tips for making life feel a little more manageable.

1. Grab a coloring book.

2. Make a "done" list instead of a "to-do" list.

3. Build a "make life a little easier" toolkit.

4. Save kind words so you can look back over them later.

5. Let yourself cry.

6. Make a gratitude list.

7. Volunteer at an animal shelter, play with friends' pets, or foster or adopt your own.

"Honestly, what's helped me the most has been animals. Playing with them and caring for them. They give you so much love and have made me so happy during these dark moments in my life."

—Shannon Montague, via Facebook

8. Maintain a regular sleep schedule.

9. Get ready for the day even if you plan on staying inside. / Via

"If you've been bed-ridden for days and you can't get out of the darkness, the best way is to take it a little at a time. Take your toothbrush and face wash into the shower with you and take a super long hot shower. Brush your hair, do your makeup (if you wear any), and put on your comfiest clothing that you feel good in."

—Maegan Bassett, via Facebook

10. Be social, even if it means just showing up.

11. Don't listen to sad music even if you want to. Create a happy playlist instead.

Al Boardman / Via

Research shows that music has the power to induce a mood, so prep a few uplifting playlists ahead of time. "It feels validating to listen to sad music when you're depressed at first, but it's actually an easy way to get stuck in that mood," says Taitz.

If you need a place to start, you might like these songs from the '90s that will instantly put you in a good mood or this playlist that will make you want to dance.

12. Make your bed every day.

13. Cuddle up with Netflix, but don't fall down the rabbit hole.

Watching an episode of Parks and Rec when you're feeling depressed is a great pick-me-up. Watching an entire season is definitely not. "People have come to me profoundly depressed after Netflix binges," says Taitz. "Treatment for depression is getting active, and feeling purposeful and accomplished. Watching TV is passive."

Instead, use your favorite comfort TV show as a reward for productivity, a way to wind down at the end of the day, or as a social activity. This site lets you sync up Netflix with others remotely so you can watch with a friend even on days you can't get out of bed.

14. Decorate your space so you actually like being there.

15. Try to find healthy food to eat.

Photograph by Yael Malka for BuzzFeed / Via

Comfort food is delicious and great in moderation, but when people are depressed, they sometimes eat more than they mean to. Then next thing you know, you feel like crap, physically and mentally. "It's a cycle," says Taitz. "You feel down, so you eat, then you gain weight, then you don't want to go out." Eating healthy foods will at least make you feel healthier physically even when you're emotionally a wreck.

If you don't know where to start when it comes to eating healthy, these 24 diagrams will help.

16. Make a list of things to do when you're feeling overwhelmed with the world.

17. Pick up a hobby that has room for improvement.

18. Write down your negative thoughts.

distelfliege / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: distelfliege

Getting bad thoughts out of your head and onto paper separates them from you. Keep it simple, though: Write down a thought and move on. If you go on for pages and pages, it's not going to help, says Taitz.

19. Get out on the open road.

Faramarz Hashemi / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: fhashemi

"My first instinct when my depression surfaces is to drive. Crank up the radio and listen to my current favorite playlist, hop on the interstate and just go. Nowhere to be, leave my problems back where they found me, and physically distance myself from whatever is stressing me so I can get some perspective."

—Christa Mae Stephens, via Facebook

20. Spend time in the kitchen.

Kate Hiscock / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: slightlyeverything

"For some reason, cooking and baking really help me when I'm having a particularly bad day. There's something zen about the process that soothes my soul, especially baking bread. Plus, it encompasses all the senses and occupies my mind. It's sort of magical to watch simple ingredients like flour and yeast become a beautiful loaf of bread."

—Nikki Ourand Lambert, via Facebook

21. Put affirmation where you'll see it.

22. Cut unnecessary responsibilities out of your life.

23. Go outside. / Via

Even if it's just for a brisk walk (which will get endorphins pumping, by the way), enjoying nature has many benefits. "Daylight boosts mood and helps regulate sleep/wake patterns, and nature helps calm our thoughts and get rid of distractions," says Bonior.

24. Plan your week so you don't make decisions based on your mood.

To keep yourself of falling into a cycle of "I'll do it tomorrow" while you spend your days in bed, Taitz suggests planning your week in advance to make sticking to day-to-day life easier. You can also write down how you felt after doing each activity so you can remind yourself in the future that getting out into the world makes you feel better, even when you don't want to at first. Taitz likes this 8 Days-a-Week Planner Pad.

25. Find an exercise that you actually enjoy.

26. Look over your longterm goals.

Looking forward to things can be hard when you have depression, says Taitz, so it's helpful to have a big list of everything you want to do on hand to look at when things get tough. They could be concerts you want to go to or places you want to travel; whatever helps you look forward.

27. Pamper yourself.

28. Disappear into a book.

29. Volunteer for a cause you really care about.

30. Meditate.

31. Don't rely on yourself to get better.

This post has been updated for clarity.