As a social worker and someone who has dealt with depression for over 10 years myself, I've learned a thing or two about the disorder! In addition to the normal suggestions of therapy and medication, there are a few things that you can do to help your symptoms not be so harsh or eliminate them completely. Every little bit helps and if you're like me, you're trying to live your best life and not let depression hold you back. So let's get to it with Tip #1!
1. Resist Isolation
Accountability: Have someone in your life that makes you get up and out
Check-Ins: Ask people to check in on you (phone calls, video chats, in person)
Adult Play Dates: Have regularly scheduled outings with friends (coffee shop, movies, etc)
2. Resist Hibernation
Resist sleeping too much by having the same bed time every night and a reason to get up in the morning.
If you are not able to sleep, explore things that might make you tired such as working, out, swimming, reading, low lights, etc. or talk to your Dr. about taking melatonin
Go outside/get some sun. Don't underestimate the power of sun improving your mood!
3. Resist Stagnation
Get moving! Duration doesn't matter: walk, jog, yoga, swim, play with kids, dance to your favorite song
Exercise: your body releases endorphins. They trigger a positive feeling in the body.
4. Supplements or Medication
Research your options: Talk to your doctor or a psychiatrist about medication options
Blood Work: Find out if you are low in iron, vitamin D, potassium etc. because this can contribute to feeling sluggish
5. Light Therapy
Light therapy exposes you to a bright light that mimics the sun and is a natural way to boost serotonin.
Serotonin helps calm the brain’s response to stress and boosts overall feelings of happiness
Especially helpful during the winter months
Talking with an unbiased person that will not judge you for how you feel is priceless
Therapists give suggestions, coping skills and tools to relieve stress, to heal and to reduce your symptoms
7. Shed Toxic Relationships/Environments
Do no underestimate how much toxic environments and relationships can affect your mood
Evaluate if the things and people in your life drain you or pour into you
Eliminate who/what doesn't enhance you
8. Be Proactive
Act before your symptoms get worse
Don’t wait until you can’t get out of bed to seek help
Implement consistency while you’re feeling well
9. Eat Healthy
Junk food and carbs will only make you more sluggish
Healthy foods can give you the energy you need to get through the day
10. Connect to your Higher Power
Prayer and meditation are very calming
Attending services where people gather is comforting and supportive when you feel alone
This list is not exhaustive, but it has helped me and I hope it helps you too! Anything I didn't mention that helps your symptoms? Please share!
Until next time!