Depression can be on those days where doing anything becomes a great challenge, even something as simple as getting out of bed. During my depressive phase, which is a prominent phase due to my Bipolar, I needed help so I focussed on researching the internet while also discussing things with my support group and therapist.
The article, even though, will be focussing on someone who is diagnosed with depression or is dealing with depression as a simultaneous effect of some other disorder, the tips I mention here can be helpful to even someone who is suffering through a phase which is not strong enough to be deemed as clinical depression but needs help dealing with it.
Here are a few tips and tricks that are helpful for Coping with Depression.
- Support Network
- Avoid Stress
- Balanced Sleep Habits
- Healthy and Timely Meals
- Focus on the Positive and Rid the Negative
- Avoid Procrastination
- Feel-Good Activities
A strong bond is something that everybody needs, whether dealing with a disorder or not, but when suffering through depression it is of key importance. This support system can be anybody, friends or family, but acknowledging to yourself that you have support is an important element. But there are times when lack of knowledge that a layperson would have with respect to depression can be a problem, this is where a dedicated support group for depression comes in. These communities are usually a safe space to express our issues and to get help when times are tough. I am a part of a support group and it is of great help, it can guide me anywhere from finding a right doctor to having someone to talk to when times are tough and my loved ones are not able to understand.
Stress can be one of the major factors of depression, avoiding it might not be always possible but focussing on avoiding it is very important. Sometimes stress is directly linked to depression other times it is something that is an added factor in prolonging a depressive phase. There are various breathing techniques (like for instance – breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it in for 7 seconds and breath out for 8 seconds) that help in calming your mind.
Balanced Sleep Habits
Sleep is intimately associated with mood disorders. Getting a good night’s sleep can be a very important factor in rising up with a better mood in the morning. Turning off electronic items an hour before sleep time is a habit that helps you fall asleep at a predetermined time. One thing to keep in mind is to use your bed only for sleep and sexual activity; working in bed can make you associate bed with stress rather than relaxation.
Healthy and Timely Meals
Having a healthy diet, by that I mean a diet that is recommended by a nutritional psychiatrist can do wonders in changing the mood issues in an individual. It is still an upcoming field in some countries while mainstream in others. For an average person, having a balanced meal with all the required nutrients and having those meals at an appropriate time can be beneficial enough.
Physical movement is known to cause an effect on depression in the long run, it takes time to create an impact but it creates a long-lasting impact. You can start with something as simple as a 20 min brisk walk or cycling, it is better to do this during the mornings so that you can soak in the sunlight, it has a very positive boost. This should also be coupled in with a few yoga poses and breathing exercises, this is known to create a calming effect. You can go ahead and do heavier workouts but there is an issue of overtraining which can have a negative effect, so my advice would be to focus on being healthy and consult your doctor for pursuing it and have a trainer involved.
Focus on the Positive and Rid the Negative
Sometimes depression is not just a brain issue but also a life issue that is causing it to heighten at the moment. During such times understanding what is bothering you and talking it out with a friend or family or even your support group can be of great help. Finding out what is demotivating you and riding of those thoughts can be of great help. But in kind of an instance during the depression, focussing on the positive side of life, being grateful can create an optimistic environment and that can help to move away from the depressive phase sooner.
During the depressive phase, accomplishing any task becomes very difficult and it makes procrastination very tempting. This is like a vicious cycle, procrastination leads to lack of accomplished tasks leading to guilt which again fuels depression and leading to more depression. This cycle has to be broken, so focus on achieving small but definite tasks, it could be something as simple as household chores. You should start small and take one task at a time. The feeling of accomplishment also helps counter depression.
Now, this is a set of activities that you should have, whether depressed or not. A quick-boost of positive mood is a target of these activities. These activities are very individual dependent, it’s what you like which also means what works for one might not work for another. You should create a list of such activities for yourself and try doing them when feeling bad. Activities can be anything, for eg. listening to music, reading a book, having a bath, petting your pet, expressing yourself via any kind of art, etc.
There are times when the tips mentioned above are to no avail and at those times we need professional guidance to change our perception of ourself and our life, this is where therapy comes in. Without using medication and through various forms of therapy like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy where a conversation is a tool used to change your perception and thus your emotions, or Art Therapy, where expressing through the medium of art is used to understand the emotions of the patient.
Lastly, medication, a way to target depression when it is not just an issue of the perception of life. When there are chemical issues within the mind, it is wrong of us to deny medicinal treatment. We should be treating a psychiatric disorder just as any other disorder of the body. Sometimes not seeking professional help can be a disastrous step, if the need presents itself, stop the stigma and consult a doctor.
If you are wondering about your mental health, then here is an article on Signs and Symptoms of Mental Health Issues that Everyone should be Aware about.