Managing Your Depression
Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle
Depression is a difficult condition that causes suffering to many people.
Depression can strike in many different forms in different times in your life, even times that should be happy occasions. Cancer or other illnesses, a high-risk pregnancy, inability to conceive, miscarriage, birth of a new baby, older children moving out or going to college, starting a new job and other stressors can all bring on depression. It can effect every aspect of your life and sometimes medication is required to help try and balance things.When you have depression you can find ways to take control of your life and manage your treatment even beyond medications.
Making some lifestyle changes can boost your mood and help alleviate many of your symptoms, including low self-esteem. “Minimizing stress as much as possible is a good idea when you’re depressed, especially unnecessary or avoidable stressors that people can be pulled into when they’re depressed,” says Erik Nelson, MD, a psychiatrist and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, in Ohio.
What to do for depression? Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Talk to a therapist-“Psychotherapy will focus on helping people adjust their lifestyle in ways that are possible, minimize their stress, and cope with stressors,” says Dr. Nelson.
- Express yourself in writing-This really can work! Writing in a journal is great therapy and can help you manage depression. You can relieve stress by being open about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns in your writing.
- Boost your self-image-You can make lifestyle changes that can improve your self-esteem, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and spending time with friends who make you feel good about who you are.
- Stick to a schedule-Schedule an activity that you have to do every day – make it one you really enjoy – and aim for as much balance as possible in your life.
- Stay involved-Social life is important,” says Dr. Nelson. Push yourself to stay involved with your friends. Social connections can help keep you from spiraling downward into deeper depression and from becoming isolated and alone with your thoughts.
- Depend on others-Friends and family can help you feel better about yourself when depression brings you down. Allow yourself to lean on loved ones when you need. You can also join a support group for people with depression for the chance to talk to others who understand what you’re going through.
- Sleep well-Feeling run-down will exacerbate your symptoms of depression and make it more difficult to be social, get exercise, and manage stress. Get plenty of rest!
- Enjoy the emotional benefits of exercising-Physical activity relieves stress and can make you feel great. Plus, the satisfaction you get from finishing an engaging and challenging workout can boost your self-esteem as you get stronger and more physically fit.
- Make the food and mood connection– Some studies have shown that a higher daily intake of omega-3s, which you can get in fish like salmon or through fish oil supplements, can improve mood. There are many connections between elements of diet and good nutrition and depression adds Dr. Nelson.
- Say no to alcohol-Drinking can make the symptoms of depression even worse, and alcohol may also have a negative interaction with medications you’re taking to control depression.
Getting depression under control can take some time, but with the right balance you can.
Be sure to notify your doctor of any changes you may be experiencing emotionally as you work to get your depression manageable. Your doctor can help you determine your best course of action; what to do for depression.