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. This article will discuss 11 easy ways to deal with depression.
What Are Depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent sadness, emptiness, or a lack of interest in activities. It goes beyond normal feelings of sadness and can significantly impact a person’s daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. Depression affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves, often causing emotional and physical symptoms.
Common Causes of Depression
Some common symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sadness or feelings of emptiness: A person with depression may experience intense and prolonged sadness, hopelessness, or a general sense of emotional heaviness.
- Loss of interest or pleasure: Activities may no longer hold any appeal or satisfaction once enjoyable. This can lead to a significant decrease in motivation and participation in previously enjoyed hobbies or social engagements.
- Changes in appetite and weight: Depression can cause significant changes in appetite, resulting in weight loss or weight gain. Some individuals may experience a loss of appetite, while others may find comfort in overeating.
- Sleep disturbances: Insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or excessive sleeping (hypersomnia) are common symptoms of depression. Sleep patterns may be disrupted, leading to feelings of fatigue or low energy levels.
- Fatigue or energy loss: Individuals with depression often feel chronically tired, lacking energy for even simple tasks. This persistent fatigue can interfere with daily functioning.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt: People with depression may have intense feelings of worthlessness, self-blame, or guilt, even when they are not at fault.
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions: Depression can impair cognitive functioning, making it challenging to concentrate, make decisions, or remember things.
- Thoughts of death or suicide: In severe cases, depression can lead to thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing such thoughts, it is crucial to seek immediate professional help.
11 Easy Ways to 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 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 excess 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 depression.
3. Improve Your Sleep Quality
Sleep has a strong connection with your mood. For example, it’s common 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 others, getting out of bed each morning is exhausting. 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. 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 treatment that helps change negative thinking (cognitive distortions) and combats depression.
Various online courses, self-help books, and apps 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, fueling depression.
You can create deadlines and routines that manage your time well to stop procrastinating. 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 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 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 strenuous exercises. Make sure you find out the activities you enjoy and do them. You can take a 15- to 30-minute brisk walk daily, jog, bike, or even dance.
Other exercises that can help you boost your mood include:
- Jumping rope
If you don’t want to exercise alone, you can find an exercise buddy who can work with you and hold you accountable.
By asking a friend to exercise with you, you’re also creating a social connection that 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, leaving your comfortable dark room and going outside may seem like a struggle. 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. A lack of Vitamin D 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 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 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 be more effective in combating depression. If you think you may be depressed, you must seek help immediately.
Depression is a real and common mental illness. It shapes our thoughts and makes life 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; with therapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications, you can deal with depression.