How to deal with depression? Depression can be an exhausting emotion to deal with. It leaves you feeling weak, disappointed, and extremely sad. The good news is – you’re not alone! In fact, 1 in 3 people experience a major depressive period in their lives. If you’re reading this article, you have probably experienced an intense feeling of sadness, disappointment, or helplessness.
Sadness is a normal human emotion, but when this feeling becomes intense and affects your life substantially, you may be suffering from depression. You must remember depression is a feeling anyone can experience, especially if you are going through a significant life change, hormone changes, loss, or disappointment.
Without the feeling of sadness, you won’t be able to enjoy those happy moments. Depression is a medical disorder that accompanies excessive sadness, low motivation, and mood swings. The feeling of depression usually arrives when you are experiencing a life event.
It is a little different from the mood swings that happen during your typical day. In most cases, depression occurs with a drastic change in your life. For example, you may feel depressed when you lose a loved one.
Depression can linger for many months and return at significant times, such as the anniversary or birthday of a lost love or family relative. If you feel sad from time to time, you may not be depressed. In fact, sadness is not a sign of depression.
While most cases of depression are mild, some cases of depression are severe and can persist for years (about 1 in 10 people experience moderate and severe depression)
What Are The Symptoms of Depression?
Depression is a medical condition that can affect both your physical and physiological wellbeing.
Physical Symptoms of depression include:
- Loss of appetite coupled with weight loss
- Loss of interest in sex or low sexual desire
- Slowed activity and speech
- Fatigue even when not physically active.
- Loss of sleep despite feeling exhausted, or
- Sleeping too much or more than usual
- Anxiety, Agitation, restlessness, and pacing up and down
- Increased cravings for food coupled with weight gain
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
Psychological Symptoms of depression include:
- Contemplating suicide or recurrent thoughts of death
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
- Feeling miserable and unmotivated for many weeks.
- Recurring guilt and self-critical thoughts
- Inefficient thinking and loss of focus
- Challenges with decision-making and problem solving
- Self-harming thoughts such as thoughts of death
Depression is not a death sentence. It can happen to any man, woman, or child. Unfortunately, women are more prone to depression (twice as much as men).
Like life isn’t difficult enough, depression can make everything feel like a struggle. Simple tasks like going to work, meeting friends, or even standing up from your bed can seem like an uphill battle. Fortunately, there are different strategies you can use to cope with your symptoms and deal with depression.
Common Causes of Depression
The exact cause of depression remains a mystery. Many factors could trigger depression.
Factors that are likely to play a role in depression include:
- Environmental factors
- Genetic features
- Changes in the brain’s neurotransmitter levels
- Psychological and social factors
- Medical conditions, such as bipolar disorder
11 Easy Ways Help You Deal with Depression
1.Connect with a support group
One of the most effective ways to deal with depression is by developing strong social support. There are tons of ways to connect with a support group. For example, you may choose to spend more time with friends and family.
Relying on your loved ones can boost your mood and help you get out of depression faster. Besides, spending time with family will help you forge a stronger bond.
You can also form a connection with a support group. The support group can be a group of people that have also suffered from depression or an online community that can help you deal with it.
2.Get rid of the unnecessary stress
When the body is under stress, it produces an excess amount of cortisol. Although this hormone helps alleviate your stress in the short term, cortisol in your system can also trigger depression.
Rather than increasing your risk of depression, you should find the cause of the stress and find ways to reduce it. The more you find ways to reduce stress, the less prone you become to falling into depression.
3. Improve Your Sleep quality
Sleep has a strong connection with your mood. For example, it’s not uncommon to have a sleepless night and wake up grumpy. According to research in 2014, some researchers studied the connection between sleep and mood, and we found out 80% of people suffering from moderate and severe depression had sleep disorders.
For some people, it feels impossible to fall asleep, while for some others, it is exhausting to get out of bed each morning. Finding ways to improve the quality of your sleep can help you deal with your depression.
Good sleep routines you can practice include:
- Keeping a consistent sleep schedule
- Turning off phones and other electronics an hour before bedtime.
- Restricting your bed to only sleep and sex
- Avoid going to bed unless you feel sleepy
- Make time to get at least 7 hours of sleep
Creating good sleep hygiene will help you improve your sleep quality and help you deal with depression.
4. Improve Your Eating Habits
You are what you eat. There’s no denying the relationship between diet and mental health. In fact, there’s more evidence on nutrition treating and preventing mental illnesses.
Lack of certain brain-essential nutrients can trigger depression. For example, a study in 2012 found that zinc deficiency in the body increases symptoms of depression. Improving your eating habits could be vital in reducing your symptoms. Rather than binge eating when you feel depressed, you can create a healthy diet plan.
Top tip: Before you make any significant diet changes, make sure you consult your physician.
5. Learn How to Stop Negative Thoughts
Depression doesn’t just dampen your mood; it can anchor in negative thoughts. These negative thoughts can worsen your symptoms and make it difficult to deal with depression.
Fortunately, you can learn to change those negative thoughts and improve your mood. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a special type of treatment that helps change negative thinking (cognitive distortions) and combats depression.
There are also various online courses, self-help books, and apps that can teach you how to deal with negative thoughts. By changing your unhealthy thinking patterns, you can ultimately deal with your depression.
6. Stop Procrastinating
Procrastinating is one of the most common symptoms of depression. You suddenly postpone the work you should be doing and leave everything for later.
However, procrastination does more harm than good. Procrastinating can cause increased stress, guilt, and worry, which will only fuel depression.
To stop procrastinating, you can create deadlines and routines that manage your time well. Create a priority list for your short-term goals and get started with an essential task. As you work down your list, you’ll feel better about yourself and feel less depressed.
7. Do Household Chores
Household chores aren’t always fun. However, if you’re feeling depressed, doing your house chores can help you out of depression.
When you’re depressed, and you have a pile of unfinished paperwork, a dirty laundry basket, and dirty dishes, it may only magnify your feelings of sadness.
Getting up and starting a few chores can help elevate your spirit. Work on one chore at a time. As you progress, your mood and overview of life may improve.
8. Create a Wellness Toolkit
If you have severe depression, I recommend you create a wellness toolkit. A wellness toolkit is a box of tools and objects that you can use to elevate your spirit when you’re feeling down.
Create a list of things you love doing when you’re in a good mood. It could be listening to music, playing with your pet, reading a book, or watching your favorite show. Doing activities genuinely can help you cope during depression periods.
Top tip: The tools that work for someone else may not work for you. To maximize your wellness toolkit, you need to tailor what makes you feel at your best care.
9. Get Exercise
When you exercise, your body releases a hormone known as endorphins. These chemicals trigger a positive and happy feeling throughout your body.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend hours trying out different strenuous exercises. Make sure you find out the types of activities you enjoy and do them. You can take a 15- to 30-minute brisk walk every day — or jog, bike, or even dance if you prefer.
Other exercises that can help you boost your mood include:
- Jumping rope
If you don’t want to exercise alone, you can also find an exercise buddy who can work out with you and hold you accountable.
By asking a friend to exercise with you, you’re also creating a social connection, and it can keep you motivated. The more you exercise, the easier it’ll be to deal with depression. According to a study in 2017, taking as little as 1hour to exercise every week can prevent future episodes of depression.
10. Get sunshine
Sometimes, it may seem like a struggle to leave your comfortable dark room and go outside. However, spending some time in the sun can help you prevent depression symptoms.
Coincidence? Not exactly. The sun gives us Vitamin D — which can help boost our mood. In fact, a lack of Vitamin D in the body can make you more prone to depression.
However, there’s still a lot to be unraveled. The research isn’t conclusive enough to ensure that getting more Vitamin D alone is enough to prevent or treat depression.
11. Seek professional help
If you have severe depression, I recommend you seek professional help. Working with a therapist can help you treat and prevent depressive episodes.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of treatment that reshapes negative thoughts and changes their thought patterns.CBT can be beneficial for people suffering from depression, whether that be mild or severe.
Most cases of mild depression can be managed with certain lifestyle modifications.
In other cases, your doctor may prescribe antidepressant medication, depending on the severity. In research carried out on 100 adults with moderate to severe depression, 40 to 60 felt relieved within six to eight weeks of taking an antidepressant.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recommends using both therapy and medication to treat depression because using their combined effort may prove to be more effective in combating depression. If you think you may be depressed, you must seek out help immediately.
Depression is a real and common mental illness. It works by shaping our thoughts and making life itself seem like an endless loop of negative thoughts. Luckily, depression is treatable. If you are showing symptoms of being depressed, make sure you reach out for support. You aren’t alone, and with therapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications, you can deal with depression.