When you're dealing with depression, everything feels more challenging. Socializing with friends becomes tacky, going to work dreadful, and even getting out of bed is a struggle.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to cope with depression and the symptoms. Helping yourself through depression will improve your quality of life. Here are some of the effective ways to do so:
Watch Out For Stress
Stress only makes depression worse. When under stress, the body produces cortisol, a stress hormone that is meant to help you cope with whatever is stressing you out. However, constant stress matures into depression, which only causes more problems for you.
Identify your stressors or situations that could be causing you stress and contributing to your depression. If it is something you can talk through with a friend, give it a shot. Talking helps release stress and give you more understanding.
Airing out your feelings and thoughts helps divert your attention to something more positive. Solving problems requires you to take action even in the slightest. If you can't handle what's stressing you on your own – ask for help. Feeling connected to people willing to help, you can help relieve depression.
Find a Support Network
You need to foster and forge stronger ties with your family and friends if you are aware of your depression. It helps to know that you can count on your loved ones, and it goes a long way in improving depression.
If you are not close with your family and friends, a depression support group could help too. Such groups involve a community group that regularly meets in your region, or if you prefer to remain in the house, find an online support group that will meet your needs.
Take a Different View
Depression keeps you in a constant state of negativity. You tend to feel unworthy and unloved; if unchecked, this kind of state can keep stuck in sadness rut for a long while.
Sometimes, it helps to force yourself to look up and see things in a different light. You could start by appreciating the small things around you. If you pay close attention, you could realize that the paintings, lamps, and windows in your home aren’t so dull after all.
You may have to continually convince yourself that everything isn't so bad and hopeless until your mind gets a grip on the notion. Try it out, even if it's just for a short while. A little light can brighten the darkest of rooms.
Changing those negative thoughts can help improve your mood. Try out Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a therapy that helps alter common negative thinking patterns referred to as cognitive distortions to help eliminate depression. There are many self-help books, online courses, and apps that will help you change unhealthy thinking patterns.
There is a link between mental health and diet. Research shows that improving your nutrition can help treat and prevent mental illness. In a 2012 study, it was found that zinc deficiency could increase depression symptoms. Hence there are brain-essential nutrients that can affect depression.
Depression can also affect your appetite. Sometimes you may feel like you don't want to eat at all, and at times you could overeat. If your depression has affected your eating habits, you need to be even more mindful of eating the right foods.
Proper nutrition will influence your mood and energy. We recommend eating plenty of vegetables and fruits. Even when you’re not hungry, try and eat a fruit or something light.
Physical activity has physiological benefits that help those going through depression. It helps relieve stress and makes you feel much better after. The satisfaction of finishing a full workout alone can help boost your self-esteem.
If you are battled with depression, find a regular exercise routine that will help your emotional and physical state. It could just be a 20-minute brisk walk daily, or a jog, dance, or bike ride if that’s what you prefer.
Even though depression makes you inactive, push yourself to exercise until it becomes a habit, and you will eventually notice a difference in your general mood. If you're not into aerobic exercise, you could try yoga poses that help relieve depression. You could settle for a leg-up-the-wall pose or downward-facing dog till you feel much better.
Other aspects of yoga-like meditation and breathing exercises also help people with depression feel much better.
Mood and sleep are intimately related. According to a study in 2014, 80% of people's depression experiences sleep disturbances. You might either sleep too much or not enough when you're depressed, which could leave you feeling rundown.
It's almost impossible to be social, manages stress, and exercise when you hardly get some sleep. Good sleep hygiene could help improve the quality as well as the quality of your sleep. Turn off any electronics an hour before you sleep. If you must read a book before you go to bed, use dim light.
Reserve your bed for sexual activity and sleep only. Avoid working in bed, or even in your sleeping area to avoid associating your bed or bedroom with stress, instead of relaxation. Go to bed and wake up the same time every day, create a regular sleep schedule, and never skimp on your sleep.
With depression, your creativity and sense of fun could seem blocked. To get yourself creative and active again, try exercising your imagination by drawing, painting, sewing, doodling, dancing, writing, or composing music, and you will get your creative juices flowing.
Once you start feeling creative again, you will also loosen up your positive emotions. You could take time to play with a pet or friend, or just do something fun for yourself. Or you could find something to laugh about; laughter also helps lighten your mood.
Have a Wellness Toolbox
Create a wellness toolbox with a set of tools that can help soothe you when the blues show up, and you're feeling down. The tools that work for someone else might not work for you, so it's crucial to have your own. Hence, carefully consider what helps you feel better.
Think of the things that make you happy and try doing those things. Listen to your favorite music, cuddle your pet, read a good book, or take a warm bath. The aim is to find tools that will help you when you’re feeling depressed.
With depression, finding the right treatment could take you some time, be open with your physician about what is working and what isn’t.