Depression is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses and causes of disability here in the United States. Whether you are low-functioning or high-functioning, depression can create a cycle of maladaptive thinking and patterns. When you struggle with depression, it can be difficult to know what to do in order to manage it.
Here are some helpful tips that may work for you when it comes to managing depression.
A Disclaimer About Depression
As nice as it would be for there to be a “one-size-fits-all” treatment method, the fact is that what helps one person may be awful for someone else. In order to come up with the best way to manage your depression, it will likely take some trial and error, so take the following tips with a grain of salt. This does not mean that the following tips are ineffective, just that different things work for different people. By listening to your body and consulting with professionals, you can figure out what works for you.
It’s important to note here that if you have severe depression or it feels like nothing is helping you, this does not mean that nothing can help you. Help is out there and you can get better and find ways to manage your depression that work for you. If you are in a bad spot, ensure that you have mental health professionals in your corner, as they are the people who are best equipped to help those struggling with mental health issues.
Tips For Managing Depression
#1. Try To Stay Active
This is one of those tips for managing depression that you’ve likely heard a million times before – because it can help. Exercise is a natural mood booster because physical activity releases endorphins. As Elle Woods famously said, “Endorphins make you happy!”
If you have low-functioning depression, getting up and being active may seem like the hardest thing in the world. But even if you can’t make it to the gym or outside, even just walking around your house or pacing in your room can help.
#2. Get Outside
When you’re depressed, it’s easy to self-isolate and hole yourself up in your room. However, sunlight and nature can improve your mood. Getting outside, even if it’s just to sit on the patio, can help you to feel a bit better.
If going outside is too much, you can try opening your blinds or curtains and cracking open your windows. That way, you’re still getting more natural light and fresh air than you would otherwise. While no cure for depression, the sun’s vitamin D can make managing depression easier.
#3. Set Realistic Goals
We’re all guilty of it: when people think goal-setting, they think about the big picture, their dream life, things that take time – and often, a lot of it, at that – in order to achieve. When you’re trying to manage depression, such big goals can make you feel even worse because you’re reminded of how far you still have to go.
Setting little, realistic goals can be useful when managing depression. Breaking large goals down into tiny pieces gives you plenty of micro-successes to celebrate. If you have low-functioning depression, a goal may look like brushing your teeth. Celebrate every win, whether it’s making it out of bed, putting laundry away, getting out of your home, or whatever other goal you may have set for yourself.
If you are majorly depressed, setting multiple goals for the day may make you feel worse. Pick one, and over time, you can build on your goals. Achieving a goal, any goal, can help you feel more accomplished, making managing depression easier.
If you’re trying to manage depression, you’re likely struggling with all sorts of negative thoughts, like rehashing that awful memory or beating yourself up for something you did or didn’t do. Journaling is a way to help yourself stop overthinking and fixating on an issue by allowing you to get it all out and identify where it’s coming from.
Negative thinking can make dealing with depression even more challenging than it already is. There are many different types of journaling you can try. Some people find it helpful to write out everything they are thinking. For others, doing that makes their depression worse and perhaps writing down things that you are grateful for or affirmations or goals that you have may be more useful to you.
#5. Do Something New
When you’re depressed, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Forcing yourself to get out there and try something new gives your brain something else to focus on, which can be helpful when managing depression. Trying new things alters the levels of dopamine in your brain, which is the chemical associated with pleasure and enjoyment.
Ineffective Methods For Managing Depression
The above are but 5 different tips that may help you when managing depression. It’s important to note that effective coping strategies don’t try to ignore your mood, but shift your focus so you can get out of your head. Many people turn to harmful methods of dealing with depression that can end up making it even worse over time, such as drinking, doing drugs, working too much, sleeping too much, self-isolating, and more.
As nice as it would be if there were a cure for depression, it often takes time to feel better. What managing depression looks like will vary from person to person. Some people struggle with depression throughout their entire lives while others struggle with periods of depression after a major life event. Remember that whatever the reason for your depression, you deserve to feel better, and the best way to do this is through healthy coping mechanisms, such as those listed above.
Are You Struggling With Depression?
Regeneration Health takes a functional medicine approach to treating depression. We look to see if there is a root cause for your depression, such as inflammation, imbalance in gut bacteria, adrenal dysfunction, and other such issues. If underlying issues in your body are resulting in depression, we can provide treatment.
If your depression is the result of chemical imbalances in your brain or personal circumstances, we can provide you with dietary guidance to ensure that nothing that you are putting in your body is making the problem worse.
Managing depression is difficult, but professional help makes it easier. Contact us today to learn more about the treatment options we provide for depression.