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5 Ways to Cope with Depression
Depression is a common mental disorder, with nearly 264 million people globally diagnosed with it each year.2 People who have depression experience recurring negative thoughts that affect their actions, words, and mindset that makes them unable to reach their goals. Depression makes people feel unmotivated and trapped, and they may feel incapable of getting out of bed and doing the things that they used to enjoy.
Depression can be treatable and preventable by taking the right steps. You can consult with a medical professional to learn more about depression and how it affects your life.
Here are 5 tips you can use to start coping with your depression today.
5 Ways to Cope with Depression
While depression can drain your energy and make your aspirations feel far away, you can still work to think more positively and cope with your negative feelings. Even though there is no one cure for depression, you can start taking the right steps to learning how to manage your feelings.
Here are 5 tips to help you overcome your depression and develop a positive, healthy mindset.
Plan a Routine Based on Positivity
People who have depression might not feel like going out and doing the things that they used to enjoy. However, exposing yourself to the activities you once loved can help you cope with depression.
Planning a routine that incorporates activities you enjoy can help you slowly begin to feel engaged. While you might not always feel motivated, you can push yourself to try activities that will help cultivate a sense of belonging again.
Here are a few ways you can plan a positive routine:
- Do things out in the world. Getting a change of scenery and going back out into the community is one way to help overcome your negative feelings that come alongside depression. Activities such as bowling, going to restaurants, shopping, taking a hike, or visiting with family are just a few ideas you can do to help relax your mind.
- Wake up and go to bed at the same time. Many people with depression struggle to get enough or too little sleep. However, waking up and going to bed at the same time can help your body get into a routine. Sleep for at least 8 hours and avoid eating or drinking things that will impact your rest. Check out our article on 6 ways you can get better sleep at night.
- Get a job with purpose. Another way to cope with depression is by getting a job that will help you find purpose. Going to work every day can give you a sense of belonging and help you meet new people. As you grow your skills, you might find new meaning in your life.
- Have a friend or family member help motivate you. Ask a trusted friend or family member to encourage you to stick to the goals you set for the day. A person who can hold you accountable will help you stay on track and guide you through the steps you need to accomplish.
Seek the Right Support
Another way you can work to cope with your depression is by building the right support network. You don’t have to see your depression as something that needs to be overcome alone, as there are many people who can support you through your journey.
Some ways you can build the right support network include:
- Talking to your doctor. Your first step to learning and understanding more about your depression is by consulting with an expert. Your doctor can tell you what type of depression you have as well as provide you with professional resources on how you can cope with it. Doctors are also able to prescribe medications that can be used to help treat depression.
- Informing Family Members and Friends. Your family members and friends can be your biggest cheerleaders when it comes to coping with depression. Share your story with them and let them know about some of the challenges you face. They will be there when you need an ear and can remind you that there are people who love you.
- Finding a support group. There are many local and virtual support groups that are available to helping people who experience depression. A support group is a great way to share your difficulties and hear about the challenges of others. You might also learn some helpful tips from other people in the support group as they tell you about their journey through depression.
- Enrolling in therapy. If your depression is prolonged and affecting your relationships, you should consider finding a therapist who can help you through your challenges. A therapist will be able to help guide you in understanding your depressive episodes and can give you a new perspective on your situation.
Reduce Stress In Your Life
Being stressed out can make your body feel tense and anxious all the time, which will make you more likely to experience depression.
One reason for this is when we are stressed our bodies produce cortisol, a hormone that causes your heartrate to increase and your body to be on alert. Normally, your cortisol levels will naturally decrease, but people who remain stressed all the time can have depression as a potential side effect.3
One way you can reduce your depressive thoughts is by learning how to reduce the amount of stress in your life. A few ways that you can reduce the stress include:4
- Know the source. Knowing the source of your stress – whether it’s financial, work, or another obligation – is important to helping you take the first step in reducing it. Think about what makes you stressed, and make a plan to tackle the problem.
- Make Time For Hobbies. Another way to start overcoming your depression is by making time for hobbies, especially if they are creative and engaging. Hobbies are a great way to relax as you get your mind off what’s bothering you. A study from New Zealand found that 4 of 5 people who engaged in creative hobbies such as listening to music felt less stressed afterwards.5
- Meditate. Meditation can help you relax your body and refocus your mind. For years, meditation has been used to help people reduce stress and anxiety through breathing techniques. Try performing different meditation practices in a quiet space to reduce the amount of stress you feel each day.
Find Ways to Deal with Episodes
There will be times when you feel sad and down, even if there is no reason to. These depressive episodes will seemingly come out of nowhere and might hinder your everyday life.
Here are a few ways that you can help manage your depressive episodes:
- Journal. Journaling your thoughts is one way you can work through your depression. Be honest on what’s bothering you and why you’re feeling down. Later on, you can read through your journal entries to find trends in the source of your depression.
- Find ways to refocus your thoughts. Using techniques to refocus your thoughts can help you work through your depressive episodes. Whether you start to do chores, watch a favorite television series, or think about something in your room, try learning techniques that you can use to take your mind off depression.
- Discover ways to feel good about yourself. Depressive episodes can sometimes come from a poor self-image of ourselves. Find ways to feel good about yourself, whether that’s picking out clothes that make you feel good or getting a hairstyle you feel confident in. The more confidence you build, the better you can fight off negative feelings.
- Know when you need time alone. Another way to deal with your depressive episodes is knowing when you need to spend time alone. This can help you work through your thoughts and give you the space you need to reflect on your feelings.
Did you know that food and your mood are interconnected? What you eat each day could be impacting your body’s ability to cope with your depression.
Your digestive system has a chemical called serotonin, which is responsible for controlling your mood and assisting your body with fine motor skills. Your serotonin levels are partly dependent on the food that you eat, and low serotonin levels could be contributing to your depression.6 According to the Cleveland Clinic, foods with complex carbohydrates such as beans and sweet potatoes are best for increasing our serotonin levels.7
Furthermore, the food you eat will directly impact your energy levels, which can play a role in how you feel throughout the day. Unhealthy foods that are loaded with sugars and fats can make you feel bloated and prevent you from feeling satiated. Avoid eating fast foods which trick your brain into thinking that your body is getting the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates it needs.8
Eating fruits, vegetables, and other healthier options will give your body the energy it needs as well the nutrition that it requires to properly function. You’ll feel fuller for longer and will be less inclined to snack on unhealthy food when you feel down.
Take the First Steps Today
While there’s no one cure for depression, taking steps each day to minimize your negative feelings will help you reach your everyday goals. Use some of these tips to start overcoming your depression today.
Here at Saber Healthcare, our team works to help our residents have happy, productive lives. Our team will work to create an individualized care plan that works to meet our residents physical, emotional, and medical needs.
To learn more about our company and the care we provide, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Major Depression.” The National Institute of Mental Health, nimh.nih.gov. February 2019. Accessed July 14th, 2021. Link: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression
- “Depression.” World Health Organization, WHO.int. January 30th, 2020. Accessed July 14th, 2020. Link: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
- Cassoobhoy, Arefa. “What is Cortisol?” WebMD, WebMD.com. December 13th, 2020. Accessed July 14th, 2021. Link: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol
- “How to Manage Stress and Relax More.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. December 2nd, 2020. Accessed July 14th, 2021. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/manage-stress
- “Purposeful Activity – Hobbies.” Australian Government Department of Health, Head to Health. Last Updated July 11th, 2019. Accessed July 14th, 2021. Link: https://www.headtohealth.gov.au/meaningful-life/purposeful-activity/hobbies
- “How Healthy Food Affects the Brain.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. August 10th, 2020. Accessed July 14th, 2021. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/how-healthy-food-affects-the-brain
- “Does What You Eat Affect Your Mood?” Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials. January 12th, 2021. Accessed July 14th, 2021. Link: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/bad-mood-look-to-your-food/
- Clear, James. “What Happens to Your Brain When You Eat Junk Food.” James Clear, com. Accessed January 12th, 2021. Link: https://jamesclear.com/junk-food-science