If you’re trying to manage your depression, please know that you are not alone. 350,000,000 people around the world are affected by some form of depression. Millions of people are managing their depression every day and figuring out what works best for them.
It can be tough to figure out how to properly manage your depression. There are so many options to consider. You could go to therapy, take medication, go to therapy AND take medication, try to manage it naturally, etc. Where do you even start? How do you determine which management plan will work for you?
There are many ways you can manage your depression. It all comes down to what you’re comfortable with and what you really think you can do. Here are 10 ways you can manage your depression, and why each strategy is important to consider.
Regularly Talking To A Therapist
One of the most effective ways of managing depression is regularly talking to a mental health professional about it. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association Of America, a combination of therapy and medication is associated with higher rates of improvement in more severe, chronic, and complex presentations of depression. It may be difficult to open up to a therapist at first, but once you do, you’ll get a better understanding of your depression and how to manage it.
Therapists and counselors went to school to help people manage their mental health issues. They know strategies that can help you manage your depression. They also know what questions to ask in order to get clarification on why you’re feeling the way you do. If necessary, they can also suggest medicinal treatment options for depression.
Talking to a professional about your depression isn’t a sign of weakness. There’s still a stigma that surrounds seeking help for mental health issues, but there shouldn’t be. It’s healthy to talk to mental health professionals, and it will help you manage your depression more effectively.
If need to talk to someone right away and can’t make an appointment to see a mental health professional, there are other resources available. These resources include hotlines and live chats that you can turn to if you can’t reach your usual mental health professional.
There are many studies that show exercise is an effective treatment for depression. It’s so effective that some depression patients even opt to skip taking their medication and focus on their exercise routine instead.
When someone exercises, chemicals called endorphins are released inside their brain. Endorphins help relieve stress and pain inside the body. If you’ve ever been in a better mood after going to the gym or going for a run, then you’ve felt the effect endorphins have on your mind and body.
Exercise, in conjunction with other forms of treatment, can help manage depression symptoms. Exercise is also good for your physical health. Regular exercise can lead to a lower risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Regular exercise can also help you become more social. You can ask a friend to be your gym buddy, or you could take exercise classes and make new friends.
Eating A Balanced Diet
Eating the right foods can also help you manage your depression. Studies have shown that eating certain foods can provide the right nutrients to give your mental health a boost. These nutrients include selenium, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating foods such as nuts, fish, eggs, vegetables, and seafood can help you manage your depression.
While these foods can help you manage your depression symptoms, there are foods that could trigger depression symptoms. These foods include refined foods, fast food, processed oils, and alcohol. If you find yourself eating a lot of fast food and processed food, consider making a switch in your diet and monitor what happens with your depression symptoms.
It is important to note that while eating a well-balanced diet can help manage depression, there is no diet that can cure it. Healthy eating should be something done in conjunction with other depression treatments. If you have additional questions about your diet and your depression, you should consult your doctor and/or your therapist.
Getting Enough Sleep
Just like diet and exercise, sleep can also impact your mental health. The National Sleep Foundation says the relationships between sleep and depression is complex. People with sleep issues may be at risk for developing depression, and people who experience depression may have sleep issues because of it.
Research also suggests that people who have insomnia have a higher chance of developing depression compared to people who get enough sleep. And, in some cases, depression symptoms and sleep disorder symptoms can overlap, which can lead to a misdiagnosis. If you’ve recently developed depression symptoms and are having trouble sleeping, try doing a routine before bed that helps you sleep. Part of this routine should include putting electronic devices (like cell phones) away at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
Another part of your sleep routine to examine is your actual bed. Is your mattress too soft or too firm for you? Do you find yourself tossing and turning in the middle of the night because you can’t get comfortable? If that’s the case, then your mattress may be a contributor to your sleep issues.
If you’ve tried a new routine and you still can’t sleep, talk to your doctor about what else you can do. If you realize your mattress is causing you to lose sleep, invest in a new one. Your sleep quality shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially if you’re managing depression. If you get more sleep, you may be able to better manage your mental health.
Adopting A Pet
If you’re managing your depression symptoms and could use some companionship, adopting a pet could aid your current treatment routine.
Adopting a pet has many mental health benefits. For starters, having a pet means you have a companion with you at all times. If you could use a companion and have the proper time and resources, adopting a pet could make you feel better. Owning a pet will also help you exercise more, meet new people, and reduce anxiety.
If you’re looking for a pet to adopt, consider rescuing one from your local SPCA. Then, make sure you have the proper resources for your pet, including food, a collar, a leash, and if you have a dog, a dog kennel. Also, make sure you have the time to bond with your new pet. Pets can pick up on movements and energies, so the more you familiarize yourself with your pet, the quicker they’ll understand your energy and body language.
Properly taking care of a pet can also help heighten your sense of purpose and joy in the world. You’ll have something to look after besides yourself, which means you’ll hold yourself more accountable when making important decisions. It won’t be just about you anymore.
If you’re managing depression, it’s important that you take care of yourself both mentally and physically. This is where practicing self-care comes into play.
Practicing self-care means you take action to preserve your physical and mental health. There are a number of ways you can practice self-care. You could meditate, do yoga, go to the gym, take a mini-vacation, go on a new adventure with your friends, book a massage, etc. It’s all about doing things that make you happy and keep you healthy.
It can be easy to neglect our own physical and mental health to focus on things like work and relationships. However, it’s crucial to make time for yourself and do the things you enjoy doing. You are your own person outside of work and your relationships. Find the things that spark joy for you and incorporate them into your life.
Another thing to do in conjunction with practicing self-care is practicing mindfulness. Being mindful means you are living in the moment and focusing on what is happening right now. You don’t worry about what’s in the past, or what could come up in the future. Being mindful can help you become less anxious and gain clarity about your current situation.
Establishing A Routine
Part of having a mental health issue is sometimes feeling like you have no control. You may not be sure when you’ll feel certain things, or what will cause you to think certain thoughts. This unpredictability can be tough to deal with. However, establishing a routine can help you cope with some of this unpredictability.
You can start by developing a morning routine. Determine when you’ll get out of bed, when you’ll make breakfast, and when you’ll have your coffee. These are little things you can plan out pretty quickly. Then, work on the rest of your day. Then, the rest of your week.
Once you get comfortable with your routine, log it on an agenda. After a couple of weeks, you may start to notice patterns you didn’t before. You may even identify what event triggers your depression symptoms. Getting into a routine will help you feel more in control and may help you figure out key information about yourself. If something in your routine is causing you to feel depressed, then consider taking it out of your routine.
Setting Achievable Goals
Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself can negatively impact your mental health. It’s good to be ambitious, but you should grow your ambitions gradually, not all at once.
Start setting goals that are realistic for yourself. These can be small daily goals to start, like making it work on time or reading for an hour. Then, you can look into setting bigger goals for yourself. Perhaps you want to learn how to make custom jewelry or get your credit score to a certain number. Whatever the goal is, make sure it’s achievable.
If you set unrealistic goals for yourself, you may end up disappointed if those goals aren’t met. This disappointment can fester and ultimately contribute to depression. It’s important to remember that you are human, and it takes time to achieve your biggest goals in life. Give yourself time to achieve those big goals. In the meantime, work on those smaller (but still important) goals you’re striving to achieve.
Some people who are managing depression are turning to acupuncture as a complementary treatment.
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine where small needles are inserted into strategic parts of the body. Acupuncture was started in China thousands of years ago, and many believe it is a viable additional treatment for numerous conditions.
Research from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine found that acupuncture was effective in the alleviation of depression for those taking drug therapy. If you want to try something new to help manage your depression, consider participating in acupuncture. However, you should consult your doctor before you go.
Giving back to your community can also help you manage your depression. There are many benefits that come with volunteering. These benefits include reduced anxiety and stress, a boost in self-confidence, and social interaction. All these perks can help counteract the effects depression has on your mental health.
Take a day to volunteer. You could volunteer to help out at a senior living center and spend time with its residents. You could also volunteer to landscape your local school or church. Giving back helps establish a sense of purpose, which can keep you motivated throughout the day.
In the end, it’s up to you to determine how you want to manage your depression. It’s important to note, though, that no two people are the same when it comes to depression management and treatment. What may work for your friend may not work for you, and that’s okay. It just means you have to find a way that does work for you.
You could read some digital textbooks about depression management and get ideas, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to try new strategies. Trying these strategies out may push you outside of your comfort zone, but it will be worth it. Your mental health is incredibly important, and it’s crucial that you find a depression management strategy that works for you.