All over the world, people are struggling with mental health issues, but it has only been in recent years that a line has started to be shone on this problem. And depression leads the way as being the common condition that people are battling with. If you are currently suffering with this illness or you have in the past, you will already be only too aware how debilitating and destructive it can be.
There is a wide range of treatment options out there which you can seek to find more info about. It is always worth speaking to a qualified medical professional to weigh up your choices. But there are also plenty of lifestyle changes which you can try to adopt to help you in your battle. Here are just a few of them.
They say that a problem shared is a problem halved, and it can certainly help you out enormously to simply talk about your struggles with those who are closest to you. Otherwise, you may feel more comfortable talking to your physician or another trained professional. It can also help to speak to other people who are suffering from the same condition or those who have been through it before. This way, you will be able to see that you are far from being alone.
There have been plenty of studies which have linked exercise with helping to tackle depression as it reduces the activity of the stress hormone cortisol. And it has also been shown to increase your levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin with so many different types of exercise and ways of getting moving; you just need to take the time to find something that you enjoy, be it running, practicing yoga or competing in a team sport. And many types of exercise also provide you with a social activity which can also be beneficial when trying to cope with depression.
The types of food which you eat on a regular basis can help to make a big difference when it comes to your mental health and wellbeing. To start off with, you should base your diet on high-protein food such as eggs, fish and chicken, or tofu and beans if you are a vegetarian or vegan.
Getting plenty of cofactors and B vitamins from food like chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, salmon and spinach has also proven to be beneficial. On the other hand, the kind of refined sugars that you get in cakes, sweets and fizzy drinks may provide an immediate surge of energy, but this is often followed by a dip which leaves you feeling tired, anxious and low.
The amount of sleep that you get on a regular basis makes such a difference to your physical, mental and emotional health. Unfortunately, depression is one of those conditions which can result in either insomnia or oversleeping. If the latter is a problem for you, try to make your bedroom as cool, dark and quiet as possible. Remove all electrical items from the room which only serve to keep your mind overstimulated.
Try to keep a consistent bedtime and nightly routine so that your body automatically starts to get ready for sleep. If oversleeping is your issue, be strict with yourself about the amount of time you spend in bed. Make plans and give yourself a reason to get up in the morning to do things.
The time that you spend staring at your phone or the TV is unlikely to do you much good when it comes to your mental health. Instead, you should try doing something creative whether this is drawing, painting, writing or playing music. Some studies have shown that spending a bit of time being creative every day helps to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. There is a great feeling of satisfaction in coming up with ideas and seeing your ideas come to life.
Okay, so ‘routineing’ may not be a word, but it fits in with the titles that we have used so far! Having a sense of structure in your life can help when you are coping with depression. For many people, this is provided by their work, but if you don’t have a job, you should try to implement a routine in your life anyway.
Try getting up at the same time every day, eating regular meals and building other activities around this. You should aim to get some sort of social contact every day. Depression is often closely associated with a sense of purposelessness, so you should try to fill your schedule so that you always have somewhere to go and something to do.
Some people have found that breathing exercises and meditation have helped them to deal with depression, and this is something else which is certainly worth trying. Essentially, meditation helps to increase a sense of mindfulness – something that we often don’t get in our busy daily lives.
Meditation can help to increase your own awareness of your thoughts and feelings, manage negative thought patterns and give you more resources to deal with the challenges and obstacles which you face in your day to day life.
Coping with depression is something which varies greatly from person to person, but these are just a few of the most common pieces of advice and techniques which you can implement to make a difference. Of course, don’t let this act as a substitute for getting the help and support of a qualified medical professional.
But many of the things that we have talked about are quite simple to put into practice and involve you making positive lifestyle decisions which should be good for your physical health as well as your mental wellbeing. As time goes on, there is a growing body of research around depression and also an increased sense of awareness. Always remember that you are not going through this alone.