One of the most prevailing mental health issues that people of any age experience is depression. Depression can affect one’s mental, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and physical functions. Most of the things and duties you often do can feel like a struggle. Whether it’s waking up to go to work, preparing your food, or socializing with people, depression can prevent you from living in the moment and trick you into feeling that you’re not enough.
Fortunately, now you live in an era where mental health issues are finally recognized instead of the stigma they once had. Now, you can be proactive in finding ways to manage and cope with depression symptoms and strive to live a better life despite the condition. Aside from seeking professional help, doing some lifestyle changes and incorporating new habits into your routine can help alleviate depression symptoms, manage stress, and improve your mood.
Here are ten tips and advice to help you succeed in your depression management.
Talk To Your Trusted Therapist
First and foremost, working with your most trusted therapist plays a crucial role in successfully managing depression. Your therapist will serve as your guide in creating a newer and healthier lifestyle for you to follow. With Psychotherapy, it’ll be easier for you to focus on healthier habits, learn how to cope with stressors, and switch to more positive thinking.
Suppose you don’t have your own trusted therapist yet. In that case, you can check out reputable clinics like Alvarado Parkway Institute mental health clinic and more and get the best advice possible from experts and professionals. Remember, fighting your battle in depression is better done with a professional on your side, rather than doing it alone.
Build A Support Network
Aside from your personal therapist, another vital thing to do to manage depression is to develop a strong support network. A support network can differ for everyone. For others, it’s about having strong relationship ties with your family and friends.
Your friends and family will be there to help you feel better about yourself whenever depression starts pulling you down. They’ll remind you of how much your presence means to them and eventually remind you to take care of yourself before anything. So, allow yourself to depend on others, especially with your loved ones. They’re all you have, and you’re all they have. Let them motivate you to follow your treatment plan and look after yourself.
On the other hand, some people consider support groups as their strong support network. Most often, people who are members of support groups are also experiencing similar depression symptoms as you. Through this, you can gather together to talk, listen, and understand what each of you is going through. Support groups will make you feel that you’re never alone in your struggle.
Overall, the point of building a strong support network is to keep you socially involved. Trying to isolate and socially withdraw yourself will only worsen your depression symptoms. As much as possible, push yourself to get socially involved, whether it’s with friends, family, or support groups. Social connections will keep you safe from going back to deeper depression.
Know How To Reduce Stress
When you’re constantly stressed, your body’s cortisol production increases, which eventually leads to depression. So, in your fight for depression management, you need to know how to reduce stress healthily. Thankfully, many relaxation techniques are available that can help you control your stress levels and ultimately reduce your risk of deeper depression.
These techniques may include deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and chanting a mantra. These physiological actions are created to combat the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of depression. These methods like deep breathing exercises and meditations are known to stroke your nervous system, reduce anxiety, and boost your moods. In fact, you can still utilize these techniques regardless if you’re depressed or not. Overall, these are excellent ways to relax your body and release muscle tension after an exhausting day at school or work.
Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep disturbance is the most common symptom and the second main manifestation of depression. Sleep disturbances can happen in various ways. You might feel that sleeping is almost impossible because your mind is constantly flooded with thoughts. Alternatively, you may struggle to even get out of bed because you’re physically and mentally exhausted all the time. To cope with this depressive symptom, improving your sleep hygiene could be the key to achieving a better sleep quality.
An effective way to improve your sleep hygiene is by crafting a healthy and manageable bedtime routine. Your nighttime routine may include the following:
- Switching off all electronics an hour before bedtime
- Taking a warm bath to release physical and mental tension
- Engaging in relaxing activities (reading, journaling, listening to music)
Your sleeping environment can also influence your sleep hygiene. Make sure your room is dim enough, and your mattress is comfortable for your body. Never bring your work in your bed or even inside your bedroom. As much as possible, only associate your bedroom for sleep and sexual activity. Following a healthy bedtime routine can help you achieve better sleep quality and cope with depression.
Your diet and mental health are directly linked to each other. Eating a healthy and nutritious diet can help reduce depression symptoms and can even improve your self-esteem. Meanwhile, constantly eating unhealthy foods could only worsen depression and form a negative self-perception.
Thus, it’s vital that you have control of what you eat. Don’t let depression lead you to overeat or skip meals. Go for foods rich in vitamins and less in carbohydrates, artificial sugar, and fat. Nutrients like omega-3s and zinc are known to improve your mood and reduce other depression symptoms. The more you eat healthily, the more you feel healthy and fit, which leads to better self-esteem and confidence. Before taking food supplements or making any changes to your diet, make sure to consult your physician first.
Reap The Emotional Benefits Of Exercise
Everyone knows how exercise is beneficial for your physical health. Regular exercise helps you to stay fit and achieve your ideal weight. It also promotes muscle and bone strengthening. But aside from these obvious physical benefits, exercise also offers mental and emotional benefits which can help you go through depression.
Working out helps relieve stress and anxiety levels and boost your feel-good hormones. After you’ve completed your daily workout, it also gives you satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment, leading to better self-esteem and confidence. Overall, engaging in regular exercise will make you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Improve Your Self-Image
People with depression tend to experience lower self-confidence and self-esteem. Thus, as part of your treatment, it’s essential to find ways to feel better about yourself and improve your self-image. Various methods can help you stop negative thoughts and improve your self-image. These may include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Reading self-help books
- Writing down positive affirmations
- Surrounding yourself with positive people
Practicing positive thinking and optimistic self-esteem can help reduce depression symptoms.
Depression can also lead people to start procrastinating. But this isn’t something that depressed people do on purpose. Generally, depression symptoms may include difficulty concentrating, physical fatigue, constant feeling of exhaustion, and hopelessness, all of which lead to procrastination. The more you procrastinate and put things off, the more it increases your feelings of guilt, worry, and stress.
Thus, it’s important to get a hold of yourself and strive to beat procrastination. You can do this by taking small steps. For instance, as you wake up in the morning or before you sleep at night, create your short-term goals and work on completing them before the day ends. It can be as simple as watering the plants, taking out the trash, paying bills, and completing other household chores. Every time you complete one small task and see tiny progress in your home, it makes you feel better about yourself and breakthrough procrastination.
Have A Schedule
As some of you may know, depressed people tend to lack the motivation to do things which leads to feeling unproductive and useless in most things. To fight off this feeling, create a schedule that fits you. Having a schedule or routine to follow every day can help you stay on track and be motivated to do your daily task. Moreover, it’s important to include one simple and enjoyable activity in your daily schedule, which can be fun and relaxing for you. For instance, you may schedule a massage spa appointment every weekend or a 30-minute walk every morning.
Start A Journal
Writing down in your journal is therapeutic and an excellent way to manage your depression symptoms. It’s common for some depressed people to suppress their feelings and thoughts, which can only worsen their depressive state. Through writing, you’re free to write down all your emotions, feelings, and thoughts without worrying about being judged or ridiculed by someone. For this to work, you need to be totally honest with your journal and vent out everything you wish to say. Later on, you’ll be amazed at how better you’ll feel mentally and emotionally after putting everything in writing, even after a few minutes each day.
Depression can make you feel alone, isolated, hopeless, and helpless, but remember that you’re never alone on this. With the help of these tips, along with regular therapy sessions and healthy lifestyle changes, you’re on your way to successful depression management and become a healthier and happier you.