14 possible homework assignments for counselees who struggle with depression. Suggestions include establishing routine, serving others and giving thanks.
Depression Homework Assignment Samples:
- Go to your doctor and get a complete physical to see if there are any organic issues that are driving the depression (i.e. low blood sugar, thyroid issues, low vitamin D).
- Make a list of your God-given responsibilities (as a parent, spouse, employee, student, etc.). Note areas where you are consistently failing to fulfill your responsibilities. Prioritize the areas and set a goal to begin working on the #1 item that week. Don’t attack everything at once.
- Establish a routine in your life. Write up a schedule for the day and stick to it, regardless of how you feel. Get up at the same time each day, and go to bed at the same time, etc. Don’t sleep in late and then stay up late surfing the net and watching television. When you get up in the morning, make the bed as a statement that you are starting your day and are not going to be getting back in bed later on. Dress and put makeup on each day. Don’t slouch around unkempt throughout the day.
- Use a heart journal to record the day and time that you struggle most with ‘feeling’ depressed. Brainstorm to determine what you were thinking or saying to yourself at that moment. Then, craft a new biblical thought that would replace the despairing one(s).
- Read your Bible every day – even if just for 10 minutes. Start with the book of Psalms, and read with a purpose – looking for God and His characteristics. Use a notebook to record any characteristics that you see about God each day in your reading. Take a moment to meditate on how that characteristic of God should shape your day. In light of that characteristic, what should you think today? Bring your notebook with you to our next meeting.
- Start memorizing 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18 which says, “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Print it on a 3×5 card and post it on your bathroom mirror to read over while getting ready for the day. Post it on your computer or somewhere visible at work. Post it on the dashboard of your car to think about as you drive to work or as you are running errands.
- Select some areas in which you can serve. Help in the church office. Help in the nursery. Take a meal to a shut-in or sick person. Get out of your home each week and serve others.
- Pray often. A heart that is set on the Lord is a heart that is set on Hope. Don’t allow your thoughts to wander, but instead, turn them into a prayer unto the Lord. Seek His strength when you have none, and praise the God who is near (Gen. 16:13, Ps. 23:4; 34:18, 1 Thess. 5:17). Write out some of these prayers.
- Purchase a box of cards. Every day, write a note of encouragement to someone who has benefited you. It could be someone presently (pastor, mother, friend, neighbor) or someone from the past (former teacher, etc.). Thank them for how they impacted your life.
- Make of list of 50 things for which you can be thankful. Be specific. Don’t list large general categories. Then go over the list each morning as you read your Bible.
- Take notes on the Sunday sermon – and act on them. Look for ways that week to apply what was taught.
- Fill your home with uplifting music that points to Christ or the cross. Eliminate ungodly and depressing music that glorifies despair and anger.
- Select a few wise people as prayer partners. Ask them to pray for you and invite them to speak truth into your life. Ask them to pray for more than just the alleviation of depression. Ask them to pray some of the glorious Scriptural prayers like Eph. 1:18ff and Eph. 3:13ff.
- Read Ed Welch’s booklet “The Way Up When You are Down” and underline the 10 most important sentences to change. Bring it with you to our next meeting for discussion.
- Select three of Welch’s practical suggestions from 21-23 and put them into practice this week.