Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a rather common mood disorder whose symptoms include feeling sad, tired, demotivated and “empty“, among others. Individuals suffering from depression may have a hard time focusing, taking decisions, and following an established routine. If left untreated, it can lead to different emotional and physical problems that may interfere with an individual’s personal and occupational functioning.
Depression is classified as a rather common illness, and it is estimated that over 280 million people worldwide (3,8 % of the global population) are affected. While it can be diagnosed quite easily, it is often hard to tell what the exact causes for depression are. Common triggers are serious medical illnesses, dramatic life changes – such as the loss of a loved one – and a family history of depression. However, in some cases, there seems to be no obvious reason for this complex disease. Especially the latter makes it difficult to deal with it.
Even though people suffering from depression may never be able to shake it off for good, with the right care and treatment it is possible to alleviate the symptoms and live a long and healthy life. Here are five tips that will help you cope with depression and boost your self-esteem. Give them a try and see what works for you.
Tip 1: Stay involved
If you’re experiencing depression, you may feel too exhausted, sad, or simply not interested in talking with other people. Maybe you are ashamed or don’t want to bother or worry others with your mood. But this will only make it worse. Push yourself to stay in touch with your friends and family.
You don’t have to talk about what’s going on, but socializing will prevent you from isolating yourself and spiralling into a deeper depression. And if you do feel like talking, don’t hesitate to do so. Putting your thoughts into words and saying them out loud will put everything into perspective and help you get a better understanding of the situation. Plus, a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.
Tip 2: Stick to a schedule
Depression can affect your sleep patterns, making you stay up late and sleep in or take an extra nap the next day. Naturally, when the evening comes you won’t be tired and will have a hard time falling asleep and getting up in the morning – a vicious circle! But even if your sleep is not affected, it is important to maintain a healthy routine that guides your day.
Try to stick to regular eating and sleeping times and fill your day with activities that keep your mind and body busy. This should include a mixture of things that need to be done – for example, work or tidying up, and things that make you happy, like hobbies, music, socializing, etc. Balance is key!
Tip 3: Exercise and nutrition
It has been proven that physical health has a significant influence on mental well-being. Think about it like this: when you are depressed, your body is doing its best to fight the symptoms and return to its usual, happy state. Support this fight by giving your body all the nutrients it needs in order to be strong.
In a literal sense, you can boost your strength by complementing a healthy diet with regular exercise. Getting out of your comfort zone and moving your body, even if it’s just a half an hour walk, is possibly one of the best natural anti-depressants. Release those endorphins and boost your mood.
Tip 4: Moving forward
Speaking of movement in a more figurative sense, don’t put off or even give up on your plans and dreams because of the depression. This may seem easier said than done, but if you think about it, there really isn’t another option.
A common and powerful symptom of depression are negative or pessimistic thoughts trying to convince you to not even try. Remember, these thoughts do not reflect reality and they certainly shouldn’t keep you from living your life. And if you can’t seem to find the motivation to take action, self-discipline will get you there. Force yourself, the results will be amazing!
Tip 5: Seek professional help
Sometimes a depression can get so tough that neither you nor your social environment can provide you with the right care to ease the symptoms. If you have tried different tips and techniques to cope with your depression and feel that you are still struggling or that it’s getting worse, don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.
It goes without saying that this does not mean you are week – quite the opposite. It means you are not ready to give up the fight. A professional therapy will help you not only to deal with the symptoms but also to identify the cause and triggers of your depression and to learn to cope with it in the long term. If you wish to find professional help in your close environment, WePractice will help you find the right experts for you. With the free introductory phone call, you can get to know the therapists before the first session.
Depression can show very different symptoms among different people, and everyone has their own way of coping with it. It is important to keep in mind that not all tips and strategies will work equally well for you.
But once you’ve figured out which ones will, incorporate these into your personalized treatment plan and you will notice a significant increase in your mood and overall well-being. Just remember that you are not alone, seek help from your family and friends or start professional therapy – you can do this!