How To Deal With Depression
Depression can often be debilitating and overwhelming; not just affecting your mental health but also has a real impact on physical health. Depression is more than just low mood, it makes life more difficult to manage on a day to day basis affecting all aspects of life. Throughout Australia, BeyondBlue estimates that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men will experience depression throughout their lives. I have been helping people live with depression for over 20 years, and have developed some ‘go to’ methods that can make a big difference in the fight against depression.
Luckily, there is a range of treatments and resources available for people with depression and their friends and family. Here are 9 simple techniques that I suggest to help improve mood and fend off depression:
Keeping active and exercising can stimulate endorphins that help you feel better about yourself, improving sleep patterns and makes socialising with others easy. Exercise and getting ‘out there’ can interrupt negative thought patterns that often make depression worse, allowing you to improve your mood while doing something good for your body.
Fuelling your body with a balanced diet goes a long way to making you feel better about your body and general well-being while also having a positive impact on your energy levels. Foods like chocolate or sweets may be a comfort in moderation, but things like fruit and vegetables will be more beneficial in the long run.
Reach Out suggests you try and develop a healthy sleep routine. This can be done by going to bed and waking up at regular times each day training your body into a pattern where it expects to be asleep by a certain time. What you do before going to bed and when you get into bed can directly affect the quality of your sleep – for example having sugar or caffeine before bed will most likely keep you awake or impact the quality of sleep you have, as can light and electronic devices. Ensure that when you go to bed you reduce the number of sleep interruptions you are likely to have improving how you feel the next day.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness can reduce anxiety and encourage relaxation. Yoga, massage and relaxation techniques are a great way to relax, improving short-term mood, relieving tensions from the body and reducing stress. Techniques taught at Yoga and meditation may help a person distance themselves from negative thoughts while looking after the wellbeing of the body at the same time.
Track your thoughts by writing them down.
Writing is a good way to express your thoughts and feelings and can help you consider which thoughts are impacting you negatively. It can also help you stand back and examine your situation and possibly see solutions or get to the bottom of how you’ve been feeling.
Go easy on alcohol and drugs.
You might be tempted to use alcohol and drugs to help you cope but they might have the opposite effect and you might end up feeling more depressed or anxious.
Set small goals.
Setting goals can help you manage your time and feel more in control of your life moving forward. Having a plan can be of great comfort and being realistic about what you might be able to achieve on a daily basis or over a week without putting too much pressure on yourself is important in meeting your own goals and expectations.
Stay connected with others.
Even though you might feel like hiding away, social support can be vital to improving your mood and how you feel about yourself. Seek out people who you trust and who make you feel safe. Meet up with people face to face, communication and connection with people in person is so much more beneficial to your recovery than by phone or over social media. Try to maintain regular social activities to keep you in contact with other people
Do things you enjoy.
Doing things you enjoy can help to improve your mood, even though it might be hard to feel motivated. Perhaps make a list of things you usually enjoy and try to do one thing on your list every day and if you can friends and family involved in doing the things you love, all the more reason to get involved!
If you or someone you know may be experiencing depression, there are a range of organisations that help people with depression online, over the phone and in person. Alternatively, if you would prefer to chat with a counsellor contact me to set up an appointment.