Depression, like a shadow, slowly creeps on a person until they get swallowed whole. The signs are not always visible, and the journey toward wellness is often wrought with many challenges. Fortunately, there are proven techniques on how to deal with depression so you can continue to live a productive, healthy life. Coupled with continued support, you can slowly begin to overcome your struggles.
Living with the daily reality of depression can make you feel isolated up to the point where it gets debilitating. If left untreated, you can end up feeling like you’ve lost control over everything in your life, including yourself. To help you out, we have outlined some self-help tips on how to fight depression, and it begins with learning how to take care of yourself.
How to Cope with Depression
It’s okay to go slow. A significant lifestyle overhaul is the last thing you want to think about when you’re already struggling. You can start making a series of small positive changes instead of one giant leap. This way, you are comfortable with the changes happening, and you don’t get overwhelmed. Remember, learning how to get out of depression isn’t a race.
Analyse Your Feelings
It can be tempting to push negative emotions away when feeling depressed. But understanding your feelings and the source of your depression can help. Sometimes, you need to embrace your feelings and not just ignore them or bottle them up.
- Give yourself time to be sad. For instance, give yourself an hour or two to feel anything you want. After that, you can reward yourself with a fun distraction.
- Take a break from work. Pushing yourself too hard at work when you’re having an awful day can make you feel worse. At times like this, permit yourself to take a day off work because your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
You will be less likely to have unexpected breakdowns during the week by intentionally tracking your feelings and giving space to your emotions. You will also become more in tune with how you feel.
Look after Your Physical Health
Another tip on how to fight depression is exercising. Exercise helps to ease symptoms of depression and keep them away because doing so releases feel-good hormones. It can also help you take your mind off worries by performing repetitive movements and getting you away from the cycle of negative thoughts.
Regular exercise can help you gain confidence as you meet your goals. You can also get more social interaction depending on where you work out. Instead of making yourself feel better through alcohol, getting exercise is a healthier coping strategy that you can maintain in the long run.
Here’s how you can start:
- Try doing yoga every morning.
- Try running, walking, or swimming.
- Sign up for a workout class you are interested in.
- Follow workout routines on Youtube at home.
- Go out for a walk when you have time.
- Stand up and walk around at work or home every couple of hours.
- Dance to your favourite song.
- Take a quick break from work and do simple stretches.
Spend Time Outdoors
As health professionals are shedding more light on mental health problems, we are learning more about how to deal with depression. And one way to do this effectively is by spending time outdoors.
Connecting with nature facilitates good emotional health as it encourages positive feelings, such as calmness, creativity, and joy. You may be tempted to keep yourself indoors all day, but being around nature can help with depression symptoms. Getting some sun also has an incredible impact on cognitive function, and it can help improve concentration.
Spending time outdoors is shown to be helpful with many types of mental health problems. For instance, ecotherapy is a type of formal treatment that involves doing activities in nature. It can help with mild to moderate depression. Doing activities outside in natural light can also be helpful for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is another type of depression that affects individuals during specific seasons.
Here are some things you can do to enjoy nature:
Go out for a 30-minute walk
- Plan an outdoor activity with friends or family (hiking or camping).
- Spend a few minutes each day in the sun.
- Eat lunch outdoors.
- Pick out a favourite spot at your local park that you can visit when you’re feeling down.
Develop Good Sleep Habits
Poor sleep is often the first sign of depression, and the more nights you spend with poor sleep, the worse your depression gets. Research suggests that up to 80% of people suffering from clinical depression suffer from disturbed sleep. While doctors cannot pinpoint exactly how they affect each other, sleep and depression are closely tied.
Sleep issues make depression harder to treat since medication may not take effect. Even when they do, your depression may recur if you don’t address your sleep problems. For those who do not have underlying issues causing poor sleep quality, there are some things you can do to help improve it.
Here’s how you can develop good sleep habits:
- Set the stage early and go outside during the day to keep your natural sleep-wake rhythm on track.
- Don’t exercise a few hours before sleeping because it may keep you up.
- Eat at the right time and eat light close to bedtime.
- Try to limit caffeine intake, alcohol, and smoking.
- Keep your bedroom cool and comfortable.
- Take electronics out of your room to keep it as dark as possible.
- Keep your room as quiet as you can.
- Use good blinds or heavy curtains.
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Give yourself an hour to wind down before bed. You can read a book, take a bath, or listen to music.
- Avoid stressful conversations before bed.
- Try meditation or other relaxation techniques to calm your mind.
Do Something You Enjoy
Learning how to cope with depression often involves trying activities or developing fun hobbies. Depression can sap your energy, so don’t feel bad if there are days when you’re not ready for big activities. Look for low-energy, fun activities that you can enjoy instead. You can do these activities on your own or invite friends to join you.
Here are some ideas:
- Listen to music that you enjoy. Create a playlist that has your favourite songs. You can also go to a concert.
- Try painting. You don’t have to be a pro at it. You can start by buying a paint-by-numbers kit and spending time making art.
- Watch your favourite films. A comedy would be better since it will lift your mood.
- Read a good book. Immersing yourself in a good book is a great way to distract yourself.
Challenge Negative Thinking
Hopelessness and pessimism are common feelings when you are depressed. Often, these thoughts are irrational or unrealistic and can cause severe anxiety. However, you can overcome negative thinking if you challenge them appropriately.
If you find yourself starting to think negatively, you can ask yourself challenging questions like:
- Is there a rational explanation for this?
- If someone close to me thought this way, what would I think?
- Is there an alternative explanation for this?
- Is there evidence that what I’m thinking about is the whole truth?
By approaching your negative thoughts more rationally, you will realise that what you perceive as the truth may not always be accurate. You can also curb the habit of jumping to the worst conclusions and develop a more positive outlook.
Consider Dietary Changes
Did you know that food can affect your mood? If it affects overall physical health, it also significantly affects mental health. A good diet involves a high intake of vegetables, fish, fruit, whole grain, low-fat dairy, and antioxidants. It also includes low intakes of red and processed meat, sweets, refined grains, butter, and high-fat food.
Here is a list of essential foods that may help ease depression symptoms:
- Leafy greens
- Selenium-rich foods like organ meat, Brazil nuts, and whole grains.
- Vitamin D-rich foods include eggs, dairy, fortified soy products, mushrooms, salmon, and other fatty fish.
Get Professional Help on How to Fight Depression
Self-care is essential to coping with depression. But while learning how to fight depression through self-care is an excellent way to improve symptoms, there are times when you may feel overwhelmed. At times like this, you need to take a step back and tackle things one step at a time. If you don’t know where to start, seek support from a professional.
Always make self-care a priority. When you learn how to take better care of yourself, you can improve your perspective in life and function more efficiently. But that’s not to say that learning to take care of yourself properly is easy. The hardest part is that not every approach works for everyone. That’s where we come in.
Understanding how to cope with depression starts with proper self-care. We understand how much work goes into self-care and are here to help. Hire an online life coach in the UK, and let us work together to develop a plan that is best suited for you. And if you need life coaching services in the UK to help you get started, contact Daftein today.