Depression affects millions of Americans every year. Its symptoms can make it hard to be productive, or even feel like yourself. But there is hope out there for those who suffer from it. There are ways to manage and mitigate the negative effects that people feel from it.
When feeling depressed, the tendency is to withdraw, and not reach out to people, but it’s important to maintain contact with loved ones and your support network at times when you are feeling down. Loved ones, friends, and family can do much to support you through trying times. They can make you feel loved and appreciated. Sometimes going to a social event with friends is helpful and can help you feel less lonely. Sometimes talking to a loved one about how you are feeling can help you cope with how you are feeling. Even if you are not talking to a therapist, having a trusted family or friend can help who you can talk to can often help out with how you are feeling.
Often being there to help someone else can help you feel needed and helpful to others. Having a pet to care for can give you the love and companionship that you often need. Even though they don’t replace our human companionship, animals can make us feel loved and needed all the same. Especially since their love is unconditional.
Go Do the Things You Enjoy
Don’t be afraid to do your favorite hobbies, even if you haven’t done them in a while. Express yourself through art, music, or a hobby that you enjoy. Go outside and get some sun; go to the park or for a hike; or try writing down some of your thoughts in a journal. Read a book, or watch one of your favorite shows. Go out and laugh with friends. Visit a place you enjoy like a library, park or museum. Go for a run or bike ride. If you have a favorite sport, go play it. Doing things we enjoy can do a lot to help us naturally lift our moods.
Getting yourself moving and working out can do a lot for your mental health. Exercising helps by releasing endorphins that can help us feel good. In fact, a lot of those endorphins that are released have been associated with the feeling of hope and optimism. It’s good for your physical health as well. Even when depressed, aiming for 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise can help improve your mood and have a similar effect as a daily antidepressant.
Practice Self Care
Often in our busy lives, we don’t have time for ourselves. Depression can make it even harder to do the things you need to do to care for yourself, but it is still important to care for yourself. Make sure that you are still eating three healthy rich meals a day. Food can often affect our moods so be sure to eat well. Make sure that you are getting 8 hours of sleep as well since rest is the key to how we often feel sometimes. Be sure to take time for yourself every day. We can’t always be on the go. Be sure to have at least one or two days a week where you can do things to recharge yourself as well.
In conclusion, if you are attempting to stay connected, participating in the things you enjoy, exercising, sleeping well, eating a nutritious diet, and practicing self-care…and you are still seeing limited progress, it may be helpful to consult with your physician (people tend to delay their annual physical examinations) or do a trial of three or four sessions with a licensed therapist–a month-long trial period–to explore options and gain perspectives that you may not be able to see on your own.