Depression is a common mental illness that can be crippling for many people. Aside from professional help and medication, there are several ways you can help yourself cope with depression and feel less negative in your daily life.
If you want to try self-help before seeking professional treatment, practice the following behaviors:
People tend to withdraw and become isolated when they are depressed. It even makes reaching out to close family members and friends a difficult task. Social support is essential for depression recovery and staying connected to other people and the outside world can only help your mood.
Reaching out isn’t a sign of weakness and it doesn’t make you a burden to others. Your loved ones want you to confide in them because they care about you. Just make sure you’re getting support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. Face-time is a priority when you are depressed and keeping up with social activities will help you feel less isolated.
Whether it’s a walk or yoga, exercise is a powerful weapon against depression. It’s been proven that regular exercise can be just as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms. At least 30 minutes of exercise per day can improve your mood, and it doesn’t have to be all at once. Fatigue will improve if you stick with exercise, particularly rhythmic exercises like walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts or dancing.
Do what makes you happy
You need to do things that relax and energize you. Take up a former or new hobby, express yourself through music, art or writing, go out with friends, get out in nature, just do something enjoyable. In addition to recreational activities, you should aim for eight hours of sleep, see some sunlight every day and practice relaxation techniques.
Food has a direct impact on the way you feel. Reduce foods that adversely affect your brain and mood, like caffeine, alcohol, trans fats and foods with high levels of preservatives. Don’t skip meals, minimize sugar and refined carbs like French fires and pasta and boost your B vitamins by taking supplements and eating citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken and eggs.
Try to challenge negative thoughts
Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including how you see yourself and expectations for the future. Remember that these irrational, pessimistic attitudes aren’t realistic. Identify your destructive thought patterns and ask the following questions:
- Is there evidence of this being true?
- What would I tell a friend who thought this?
- Is there another way to look at the situation?
- How would I look at this if I didn’t have depression?