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Dealing with depression

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We all have our ‘off days’ or even times when we feel really down in the dumps – particularly if we’re going through a traumatic life experience.

But dealing with depression is difficult, this can have a major impact on our well being, especially if it snowballs into depression. Full-blown depression drains your energy, hope and motivation making you feel tired, lethargic and miserable. If these feelings carry on for a few weeks or more, it’s probably worth checking in with your GP, but there are things you can do to take back some control of the situation.

Taking small steps

  • The key is to start off small, by taking small steps each day and forcing yourself to do the simple things you really don’t feel like doing anymore.
  • Recovering from depression requires action, but this can be extremely difficult when you’re de-motivated and depressed.
  • Going for a walk or arranging to meet friends may seem like the most impossible and exhausting task, even when you know it’s something you should be doing to feel better.
  • But try to think of the end goal; no-one wants to be crippled by depression. Draw on whatever resources you have to take the first step, which could be a quick walk around the block or a phone call to a friend.
  • It may seem like a very small accomplishment, but make sure you reward yourself for it and try and build on it the next day.

Here are some other self help tips you can use to get your life back on track.

Seek support from friends and loved ones

The very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help, but isolation and loneliness only make it worse. It can be very easy to lose perspective of a situation. You may feel too ashamed or even exhausted to talk but it will help to share what you’re going through and to let others lend their support.

Try to keep up with social engagements even if you don’t feel like it. If you can force yourself to get to that coffee or play date you will probably find that it’s not nearly as bad as you had thought it might be. Retreating into your shell and shutting yourself off from the world will only make it that much harder to come back from.

You could even join a support group for people with depression as this can go a long way towards relieving feelings of isolation by talking to others experiencing the exact same emotions.

Challenge negative thinking

Depression makes you see everything in a negative light and these thoughts have to be replaced by more balanced ones.

Ask yourself if you would be thinking these thoughts if it was about someone else and allow yourself to make mistakes and be less than perfect.

It is impossible to meet ridiculously high standards, so don’t put extra pressure on yourself.

dealing with depression

Look after yourself

A healthy body does help to maintain a healthy mind and to get over your depression you will have to take care of yourself, for example by following a healthy diet, exercising, managing stress and taking part in fun activities.

Some healthy lifestyle pointers include aiming for eight hours of sleep a day, exposing yourself to a little daily sunlight and watching out for stress triggers such as work overload, unhealthy relationships and health problems. Do what you can to either avoid or minimise these triggers.

Daily relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and meditation, can also help relieve symptoms of depression and make you feel better within yourself.

It’s also important to try and have fun, even if you don’t feel like it. Perhaps pick up a former hobby or try a new one to get yourself out and about in the world.

Healthy Eating

What you eat can also have a direct impact on the way you feel; we all know, for example, that caffeine, alcohol and certain fats can make you feel sluggish and gloomy.Aim for a balanced diet of low-fat protein, complex carbohydrates, fruit and veg.Don’t skip meals, avoid sugary snacks, pasta and fries and instead focus on foods such as baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta and wholegrain breads which can boost serotonin levels without triggering a crash in mood and energy.

‘Super-foods’ such as bananas, brown rice and spinach can boost your mood by decreasing anxiety, reducing agitation and improving sleep.

 

 

 

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