how i care for my basic needs when depressed

Did you know?

I started a youseemnormal YouTube channel and this topic is my first video:

Onto the blog post:

Sometimes you have the drive to care for yourself.  Sometimes you don’t.  On a really really bad day or period, one way you can start to feel better – and I mean better, not best, not super good but just better than where you are – is to check your basic needs.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which I’m sure you are aware of, says that before a human can reach a stage of self-actualization, fulfillment, etc. (which he sees as The Goal — doesn’t have to be your Goal), one needs sleep, food, hydration, a safe space.  All of these basic needs of a human.  


They can all be the “hardest one” but I think sleep is sometimes the hardest one.  Mostly because when I’m depressed, my days and nights get turned around quickly.  It usually starts with not wanting to sleep because I don’t want it to be the next day (just being honest.)  Then, because I go to bed so late, and need 10 hours of sleep per night, I usually have to sleep until maybe 12 p.m.  Then I won’t be able to sleep that night because I didn’t get up at a normal time and haven’t lived enough of a day to fall back asleep.

To combat this, I either have to get up earlier (9 a.m. ish) by myself I can nap later or I can try to convince myself to go to bed about an hour earlier.  The latter doesn’t work.  Usually it takes a few days to 1. convince myself to get up earlyish, because I’m so tired and 2. to actually turn the sleep around.


It really does seem obvious to the normal person or a depressed person in a normal mood!  But when in bed with no energy or motivation to move or eat a bagel, getting food can feel like the biggest obstacle.  It’s gonna make you feel better to eat a little something, then again a couple hours later.  I’m not even going to tell you to eat something healthy.  Doesn’t ‘eat healthy’ just make you want to roll your eyes?  Me too!  I would put some chips in a bowl, maybe cut an apple into lil pieces.  That is usually enough to spark my appetite for the next snack soon after.


I used to think, water! Ah who really cares?  That is until I started a bullet journal (leave me alone!) and included a water tracker with six bubbles for the day (six 8oz glasses of water).  After a few days of having a water goal, I started to feel more energized.  Oh and I only let La Croix count for one 8oz of my water goals.

If water still seems hard, yes maybe try La Croix or a flavored water to spice it up.  Water is so boring!

A safe space

Could be physical, could be mental.  A safe space could be your room, but maybe you hate your room when you’re depressed.  So maybe you just invite yourself over to a friend’s for some tea.  Maybe your room’s fine but just not stimulating your senses enough… Can you light a candle or turn on an oil diffuser?  Do some weird mood lighting?  Open the window even if it’s supercold?  The smallest thing can change up your environment.

And how could I forget the five-minute room clean up?  Read more here.

And of course, a mental safe space is like the Goal but in totality not realistic for where you are right now.  So let’s frame this basic need as telling yourself you are caring for your sick self.  Instead of thoughts like I should be doing this or I should be doing that (feeling guilty is a symptom of depression), tell yourself, Self, I am sick and I am taking care of myself.

Side note: I’ve been wanting these Feel Better socks for a couple months now.  My mom surprised me for Christmas!  Now I put them on when I’m physically and/or mentally not feeling well.  They’re the best things ever.

Here’s the super cool thing, though, about caring for ONE basic need: you’re WAY MORE LIKELY to do another.  Stats baby!  Just kidding, I don’t know the stats but I’m like pretty sure.

Don’t get up and start berating yourself.  Or start with your phone.  Or start with your homework or how you don’t want to do anything.  Instead listen to and honor your basic needs.  Be your own nurse.  And buy those Feel Better socks!

Read more:

9 science-backed wellness trends from the last decade that we’re taking in the 2020s

Has Anxiety Killed Your Appetite? Here’s What To Do About It.

Keep up with me on @youseemnormal on Instagram

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