Everyone experiences ups and downs in their moods, and sadness can be a natural reaction to many events in our lives. Many people use the word “depression” when speaking about these feelings. But in reality, depression is much more than feeling sad. Depression can often engulf one’s life, making one feel helpless and hopeless in everyday situations.
When dealing with depression, a mental health provider can provide much-needed support, but there are also some lifestyle changes that you can make to alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.
Choose A Healthy Diet
It is a fact that eating a healthier diet can have a significant effect on your mind and your mental health. Eating unhealthy foods could affect your progress in managing your depression, so it is vital to assess what you are eating and make changes accordingly.
Foods with good fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, found in fish and nuts, should be included in your diet, provided you do not have any allergies. These good fats can help with some forms of depression and mental health issues. You should avoid sugar, as well as processed and deep-fried foods. These foods can lead to mood spikes, which can be detrimental to your depressed feelings.
Drink more water! Every system in your body relies on water to function, including your brain. Dehydration exhausts your brain’s energy, blocks your serotonin production, and increases stress in your body.
It is always advisable to speak to a nutritionist before making any significant diet changes.
Implement An Exercise Plan
Once you have created an optimal eating plan, you should move on to implementing an exercise plan. Many studies have shown that anxiety and depression symptoms can be alleviated by regular exercise due to the endorphins and serotonin produced by physical movement.
You could take up an active sport such as running, weight-lifting, or team sports. If you are not interested in such strenuous activities, you could look into walking, yoga or pilates. Whatever you decide, moving your body can help improve your mood and help you manage your emotions better. Be sure to start slowly and create a plan that you can realistically manage for an extended time.
Set Up A Sleep Hygiene Process
Sleep is one of the most vital components of good mental health. To help combat symptoms of depression, you need to get at least six to eight hours of sleep per night. To accomplish this, so you should create a sleep hygiene process:
- Attempt to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
- Exercise earlier in the day so that you can sleep properly later on.
- Avoid having heavy meals late in the evening and stop drinking caffeine by at least noon.
- Avoid blue light before bedtime. We are mostly exposed to blue light when we’re outside during the day. However, our artificial sources of blue light are from computer and phone screens and fluorescent and LED lights. Blue light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel drowsy. It can also cause eye strain and headaches, leading to a lack of sleep and, in turn, a bad mood in the morning and worsened symptoms of depression.
Cultivate Supportive Relationships
Solid relationships and positive support networks can help reduce feelings of isolation that can often occur in those who suffer from depression. Nurturing relationships might be complicated when you do not feel like dealing with people, but avoiding contact with people can worsen your mental health issues.
Attempt to stay in contact with supportive friends and family who have a positive outlook on life.
Look into joining a new class or a social group. Connecting with others can take your focus off of your depression and allow you to forge bonds and build friendships.
Manage Your Stress
More often than not, stress and depression are two mental health issues that go hand-in-hand. Managing your stress can help relieve the symptoms of your depression. Still, you will need to continue with your stress management techniques to feel balanced and in control.
Try meditation or prayer to manage your stress. Practise breathing methods or repeat a positive mantra. You could also set time to do an activity or hobby that makes you happy. This activity could include reading a chapter or two of a favourite book or listening to music while writing in a journal.
It is important to remember that your stress management techniques should be positive and not involve alcohol or stimulants.
How To Find Help With Depression
Don’t wait until you have a severe problem before you get help. Finding someone to talk to now could be the best way to help you feel better and in control, whatever your situation.
These days, many doctors and therapists are also offering Zoom consultations while social distancing to avoid the anxiety of Covid-19 infection.
You can reach out to Life Path Health by visiting their therapist directory or call their 24/7-Helpline on 072 7900 506. They will gladly have a chat and put you in contact with a therapist or doctor in your area.