Ways to Cope With Depression
When a person is suffering from depression can drain a person’s energy, drive, and hope. It can make it hard to take the needed steps that one needs to take to help themselves feel a lot better. Even though overcoming depression is not something that is easy and quick, it is far from being impossible to rise above.
It’s important to realize that depression isn’t just something that you can just tell yourself to “snap out of it,” however, a person needs to realize that they do have more control over the situation than they think they have. This is true even for those who have severe depression that is persistent. The most important thing one can do is start off small and then build from there. It’s going to take time to feel better, but a person can make it if they make positive choices over negative ones on a daily basis.
Difficulty Dealing With Depression
It requires a lot of action to deal with depression. Taking positive action when a person is depressed really can be difficult. Often, when a person just thinks about things they should do in order to feel better can be like exercising or spending time with family and friends. It can often seem very exhausting or even impossible putting into action.
It can be like a “Catch-22 situation when a person tries to recover from their depression. Things that are meant to help the person the most can be the things that seem to be the most difficult for them to do. However, there can be a huge difference between a thin that is difficult to do and something that really is impossible to do. A person might not have a lot of energy but, they still need to draw on their reserves but they still need to take a nice walk in a park, around the block, or just pick up the phone and call a friend or family member. This alone can help immensely when a person is depressed.
The First Step Is the Hardest
Probably the hardest thing one can do is take that very first step. However, if taking a walk, make a phone call, or getting up and dancing to their favorite song, can be something positive one can do at that very moment. Taking that first positive step can boost a person’s mood and even given them the energy that can last for hours. Taking that first step can give a person enough energy to be able to take the second step and putting it into action. This could be putting together a great tasting meal that can boost a person’s mood or they can arrange to meet with a loved one or an old friend. A person can improve their mood by taking small positive steps on a daily basis that can eventually lift the fog of their depression and find themselves feeling a lot happier, more hopeful, and healthier.
Reach Out and Stay Connected
For someone who is suffering from depression, it’s important to get support. Support can play an important role when trying to overcome their depression. If someone tries to do it on there own can find it difficult for them to maintain a good and healthy perspective and then sustain their effort to beat being depressed. The nature of depression itself can make it very hard to reach out to someone for help. When a person is depressed, there is a normal tendency to want to withdraw and become isolated. It can make it extremely difficult for them to connect even with their best friend or close family members.
When a person is depressed, they might feel too tired to even talk to anyone. They may also feel ashamed at the situation that they are in, or they may even feel guilty for neglecting their relationships.
However, someone who is depressed needs to realize that this is just their depression taking over. When a person connects with others and takes part in some of their favorite social activities is going to make a huge difference in their outlook and mood. When a person reaches out doesn’t mean a person is weak and it doesn’t mean they are being a burden to other people. Loved ones care about what someone they love is going through and they generally want to help however they can. Even if a person feels like they have no one to turn to then it’s important that they try to build some new relationships and try to improve their support network.
How Does One Reach Out for Support?
When looking for support, it’s important that a person looks for it from those that make them feel cared for and safe. It should be a person they talk to does not need to be able to fix them or their problem, all they need to do is be a very good listener. It should be a person who will listen to them attentively and with compassion and not be judgmental or distracted.
Face Time Needs to be Top Priority
Texting, social media, and phone calls can be good ways to stay in touch with people, however, this doesn’t replace old-fashioned in-person quality face time. Talking in person is a simple act and by just talking to someone in person can be important and play a huge role in helping to relieve depression and even help to keep it away.
Keep Up With Favorite Social Activities
Even if a person doesn’t feel up to going out and getting involved with their favorite activities it still can give a person a huge boost in their mood. When a person is depressed they can often feel a lot more comfortable to hide within themselves and avoid being around people, it’s not the positive thing to do. The reason for this is that being around those who are uplifting can help people feel much less depressed.
Find Those That May Need Your Support
Even though this might sound difficult to do, research has shown that even though receiving support is great, when a person supports someone else, it can boost their own mood and can provide them with more support for themselves. This is why volunteer work is often recommended for those who are depressed. Helping a friend or even a stranger can give a huge mental boost for those suffering from depression.
Take Care of a Pet
Even though there is nothing that can take the place of human contact, pets, especially dogs and cats, can bring a lot of joy as well as companionship into one’s life. Pets can also help people to feel less isolated from the world. When a person takes care of a pet it will also get them outside of themselves and it can give them a sense of being needed. This can be extremely powerful when fighting being depressed.
Join a Support Group
By being with others who are also depressed in an organized group can play a big role in making people feel less isolated. Groups for those who are depressed can also encourage others in the group and groups can give and receive advice on coping and also sharing experiences.
Tips for Staying Connected With Others
- Talk to just one person about their feelings
- Volunteer and help others
- Have coffee or lunch with a loved one or friend
- Ask a relative to check in on them on a regular basis
- Go to the movies or a concert with others
- Have a small get-together
- Email or call a close friend
- Schedule weekly dinner dates
- Go out and meet new people by joining a group or a club
- Confide in a teacher, coach, or clergy member
Do Things That Will Make You Feel Better
To make it easier to overcome a depressed mood, one will have to do things that energize and relax them. This can include living a healthy lifestyle, setting limits on what they’re able to do, schedule fun activities, and learn how to manage stress better.
Do enjoyable Things
Even though one can’t force themselves to experience pleasure or to have fun, a person can push themselves to try and do things, even if they don’t really feel like it. A person might be very surprised at how much better they will feel after they’ve gotten back out into the world. Even if their depressed mood doesn’t go away immediately, they’ll eventually feel more positive and energetic when they make time for fun activities.
It’s often recommended that one pick up an old hobby or a sport they used to enjoy. It’s also recommended to express themselves creatively through art, music, or even writing. Take day trips to a park, the mountains, a museum, and more.
It’s Important to Support Health
Someone who is depressed should always try to get eight hours of sleep each night. Quite often being depressed can cause sleep issues, it can be sleeping too much or not enough. Either way, a person’s mood will suffer from it. It’s best to get on a good sleep schedule by learning better and healthier sleep habits.
Another thing one should do is to keep their stress in check. Stress can worsen and prolong depression. However, it also can trigger a depressed mood. A person should figure out the things in their life that tend to stress them out. This can be a work overload, money issues, bad relationships and then find ways they can relieve this pressure and get control again.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
Those who are depressed need to come up with a daily practice of relaxation. This can help them to relieve their symptoms, reduce their stress, and boost feelings of overall well-being and boost their feelings. They can do this through yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or deep breathing.
Create a “Wellness Toolbox” to Help With Being Depressed
Those who are dealing with depressed moods need to try and come up with a good list of things that they can do for a fast mood boost. The more of these “tools” for coping with their low moods, the better it’s going to be. Here are just a few “tools” that can be used:
- Spending time with nature
- List the things they like about themselves
- Read a good book
- Watch a funny TV show or movie
- Take a long hot bubble bath
- Take care of small chores
- Engage with a pet
- Talk with family or friends in person
- Listen to some of their favorite music
- Be spontaneous
When a person is depressed getting out of bed can seem like a huge chore to do, so don’t even think about working out. However, exercise can be a very powerful way to fight a depressed mood. It can also be one of the key “tools” in their “toolbox”. Research has found that exercise on a regular basis can be just as effective as any medication for the relief of depression and its symptoms. Exercise can also help to prevent any relapses.
For someone to get the most out of exercising they should try to aim for about 30 minutes each day. This need not be at one time and it is perfectly alright to start off small. Even just a 10-minute walk can help improve their mood for a couple of hours.
Exercise is Something One Can Do Immediately to Boost Their Mood
If a person sticks with exercising their fatigue is going to improve. It can be hard to start exercising when a person is exhausted and depressed. However, there is evidence that shows a person’s energy levels will improve if they keep up with it. Exercise can help a person feel less fatigued and more energized.
Exercises Should Be Continuous and Rhythmic
Rhythmic exercises seem to offer the most benefits for those who are depressed. This would be exercises like walking, swimming, weight training, martial arts, and dancing. Exercises where both the legs and arms are in movement.
Pick an Exercise Partner
Sometimes it’s a lot easier to exercise when a person has a partner when exercising. Not only will working with another person keeps a person motivated but it’s a great way to socialize. If a partner can’t be found then often it’s recommended to join a gym, an aerobics or dance class.
Take a Dog for a Walk
Not only can pets help by taking care of them, but walking a dog can also be part of an exercise program. If a person doesn’t have their own dog they can always volunteer at a local shelter and walk their dogs. This not only helps the depressed person but it helps to exercise and socialize the dogs and makes them a lot more adaptable.
Eat a Healthy Diet
What a person eats can have a direct impact on the way a person feels. That’s why it’s important for a person who is depressed to eat fewer foods that have an adverse effect on their moods and brain, caffeine, alcohol, trans fats and high levels of hormones or preservatives, are all examples of foods to avoid when depressed.
Never Skip Meals
It’s never good to skip meals but, it’s even worse for those who are depressed. By skipping meals can make a person feel more irritable and fatigued. So it’s important for anyone, especially those who are depressed, to eat something healthy every three to four hours.
Minimize Refined Carbs and Sugar
Even if a person craves baked goods, sugary snacks, or “comfort foods”, like pasta or french fries, for example, these so-called “feel-good” foods can actually lead to a mood crash and lack of energy. So it’s important to try and cut down on these foods for a person who is depressed often.
Need to Boost B Vitamins and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
To make a depressed mood to improve people should try and increase their B vitamins like B-12 and folic acid. When a person has a deficiency in these it can cause their depression to get worse. So it’s important to eat foods like citrus, leafy green vegetables, eggs, chicken, and beans.
It’s also important to eat more foods with omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids play a huge role in mood stabilization. Great sources are fish like herring, salmon, anchovies, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
Get Daily Sunlight
Sunshine can boost a person’s serotonin levels which in turn can improve a person’s mood. Whenever it’s possible should try and get outdoors during the sunny hours. They should try to do this for about 15 minutes each day. Just make sure to use sunscreen.
- Try taking walks on lunch breaks, have coffee break outdoors, or spend some time gardening
- Exercise outdoors. Go hiking in a local park or play some tennis or golf with a friend
- Increase natural light in the home and workplace by opening up the blinds and sit by windows in the home or at work
Challenge the Negative Thinking
Often those who are depressed feel weak and powerless. They also feel like bad things always happen to them and they can’t do anything about it. They also often feel hopeless. This is because their depression always puts a negative spin on everything that happens.
These types of thoughts can overwhelm a person and that’s why it’s important to realize that this is just a symptom of a person’s depressed mood and these thoughts are pessimistic, irrational and are known as “cognitive distortions” and are not realistic. A person should examine these feelings closely and when they do will discover that they don’t hold up to the truth. Even after realizing they’re not realistic they can still be hard to give up. This is because it’s often just a part of a lifelong pattern that has become automatic. The trick here is to try and identify the kind of negative thoughts that are fueling their depressed mood and then replace them with a more well-balanced way of thinking in a positive manner.
Unrealistic and Negative Ways of Thinking That Feed Depression
There are some key negative and unrealistic ways of thinking that can make a depressed mood worse:
- All-or-Nothing Thinking – This is looking at things in simple black and white categories and there is no middle ground
- Overgeneralization – This is generalizing from one single negative experience and then expecting it to hold true for all things
- A Mental Filter – This is ignoring the positive events and just focusing on all the negative. Focusing only on the thing that went wrong instead of all the things that did go right
- Diminish the Positive – This is when a person to come up with reasons why any positive event doesn’t count.
- Jumping to Conclusions – Without evidence, a person makes negative interpretations and act like a mind reader or fortune teller.
- Reasoning Emotionally – They believe that the way they feel reflects their reality
- Shoulds and Should Nots – Holding oneself to a very strict list of what they should and should not do and they tend to beat themselves up if they don’t live up to their own rules and standards
- Labeling – This is classifying themselves based on their perceived shortcomings and mistakes
When Should a Person Seek Professional Help
If a person has followed some self-help steps and even made positive lifestyle changes and they still feel depressed and may even be getting worse, could be signs that there is a need for professional help. If a person finds that they need additional help there is no shame or weakness in this. Often all the negative thinking from their depressed mood can make them feel like they are lost cause, so it’s important that they consider seeking professional help.