6 Tips for Managing Depression
We are blessed to be living in a time where mental illness has significantly less stigma attached to it than it once did. Those who live with depression can find help in a much more accessible environment. Though it certainly is not easy to combat the symptoms of depression, it is far from impossible. People suffering from depression should seek professional help. Yet, if you do the following six steps right now, you might find that they ease your symptoms.
Knowing that depression is more common today makes it seem more tolerable to some. While it can be common, depression can also feel very lonely when you are experiencing it. It is extremely important to seek professional help to treat depression. But, there are things you can do right now to help alleviate your depression. Such things like dancing to your favorite song or taking a walk outside to get your body moving. Also, they can substantially boost your mood and keep you healthier and happier for hours. Here are six things you can do right now to help manage your depression symptoms.
1) Connect with Others
Having depression causes you to withdraw from social activities. It might even be difficult reaching out to your friends or loved ones. This is essential to combat if you wish to reduce symptoms. Withdrawing from the world can often make your depression worse. It is important to stay connected to people. And, staying connected to people who care about you will make a world of difference to you and your outlook. Also, if you do not have many people to talk to, now is a great time to make new friends. As always, a wonderful option is to look into therapy and other professional services. Furthermore, talking to other people will give you other things to think about. This can help take your mind off your own feelings for a while and make you feel better.
Other ways you can connect with others and reach out for depression support are:
Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for.
Make face-time a priority
Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it
Find ways to support others
Care for a pet
Join a support group for depression
2) Improve your diet
An easy and healthy strategy to help you improve symptoms of depression is to clean up your diet! Avoid processed foods and added sugars. Try to eat clean by consuming four to six smaller meals throughout the day. This can help stabilize your blood sugars. Also, eating less processed food and more fruits and vegetables gives you more energy. And, eating more plant-based foods rich in antioxidants leaves you feeling lighter and happier as a whole. Tiredness often comes with eating heavily processed foods so try to avoid those. Lastly, focusing on foods that are low in sugar and refined carbs and more on foods that are rich in antioxidants is great for your mental health.
3) Learn and practice relaxation techniques
Practicing mindfulness is always a good idea. If you are feeling overwhelmed with sadness it can be very difficult to sit down and meditate. But meditation has been shown to increase relaxation and put your mind more at ease. If you focus on your breath for three to five minutes a day it can boost your mood and increase your patience. This daily practice can make you feel more relaxed, mindful, and happier. Practicing yoga and deep breathing techniques improve your over-all well being. And, practicing progressive muscle relaxation increases your feelings of joy and decreases stress. Also, these practices can reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and despair. Lastly, practicing yoga or Tai chi can provide you with relaxation and even social interaction if done in a class setting.
Other ways to give you a quick wellness boost:
Spend some time in nature
List what you like about yourself
Read a good book
Watch a funny movie or TV show
Take a long, hot bath
Take care of a few small tasks
Play with a pet
Talk to friends or family face-to-face
Listen to music
Do something spontaneous
4) Get regular exercise
Pick up a hobby you used to enjoy. If running or playing soccer was one of those things, now is a good time to start it up again. Get outside. Walk the dog once, sometimes twice a day. Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate to rigorous exercise a day can help your depression. Although getting out of the bed can sometimes feel like a daunting task, pushing yourself through it can be just as important as medicine. Your brain will thank you and so will your body. Exercising is hard to start but once you start your body and your brain will feel more energized, not less. Also, finding exercise with a rhythm to it is shown to alleviate depression. Such rhythmic exercises are most helpful like, walking, jogging, swimming, or dancing. Finally, those feel-good hormones like dopamine and endorphins are released during physical activity. These hormones fire up neurons in your brain to make you feel more at ease and are instant mood boosters.
5) Challenge any negative thoughts
It is crucial to actively think of your depressive thoughts and your negative thinking as separate from you. Separating yourself from your depression allows you to become mindful about all that is good in your life. You can become grateful for the little things by challenging your negative thoughts. Take out a journal and write down a list of all the things you are grateful for. Allow positivity to flow through your life and defeat your depression symptoms. Alternatively, you could try taking a nature walk around the park or the neighborhood. Ask a friend to take a run with you outside. Express yourself creatively through music, painting, or writing. Watch a funny movie or try reading a good book to get you distracted from your own thoughts. Find an enjoyable escape to a new imagined world. Even if it only pulls you out of your depression for a short while. Movies, books, and music are great ways of distracting yourself from yourself. They might even make you smile and laugh when you are feeling blue.
6) Sleep regular hours
Lastly, try and get roughly 7-8 solid hours of sleep a night. Begin by setting an alarm clock to wake you up at the same time each day. Set an alarm at night as well to remind you to head to bed at the same time each night. Keeping a regimented sleep schedule is the first step in regulating your sleep pattern. Even more, it is common for those suffering from depression to also suffer from insomnia (finding it difficult to sleep). You might even suffer from hypersomnia (finding it difficult to stop sleeping). Thus, setting a sleep schedule will help. The previous two symptoms might need pharmaceutical aid recommended by a physician. But, it is important to stay proactive in the quest for good sleep. This is because getting too much or too little sleep can exacerbate the depression. Finally, regulating your sleeping patterns sets the building blocks to live a healthier life. Sleep helps you build upon a healthy life emotionally, physically, as well as mentally.
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