7 Techniques That Will Transform How You Manage Your Depression
As the sun starts to go down earlier, depression symptoms may be amplified. These daily tips can help you cope.
Ashlee ValentineCNET Contributor
Ashlee is an MBA business professional by day and a dynamic freelance writer by night. Covering industries like banking, finance, and health & wellness, her work has been published on sites like bankrate.com, thesimpledollar.com, interest.com, womens-health.com and more. Ashlee specializes in personal finance and is passionate about helping others achieve greater financial freedom.
If you're struggling with negative thoughts or suicidal feelings, resources are available to help. In the US, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988; in the UK, call the Samaritans at 116 123; and in Australia, call Lifeline at 13 11 14. Additionally, you can find help at these 13 suicide and crisis intervention hotlines.
It's officially fall outside, which means the sun is setting earlier in the day. For many people, that means they will see spikes in seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that can affect their ability to function at work or maintain healthy relationships.
Managing symptoms of depression can feel impossible at times. If you're looking to get ahead of your depression symptoms -- seasonal or not -- try implementing these coping strategies to help manage your daily depression while still thriving.
The World Health Organization reports that approximately 280 million people in the world have been diagnosed with depression. Though depression is common, it's a serious health condition that shouldn't be taken lightly. Over 700,000 people die yearly from suicide, often resulting from depression.
No one knows you better than you. Look for signs and symptoms that may be out of the norm. Here are some to look out for:
You're feeling more withdrawn than usual.
You're behaving more erratically or impulsively than usual.
You're more irritable more often.
You're feeling sad, lonely or hopeless.
You're experiencing sleep disturbances.
It's always a good idea to pay attention to concerns expressed by close friends and family. If the people who love you are concerned about your mental health, they may be seeing symptoms of depression you aren't aware of.
If you're experiencing some or all of these symptoms, acknowledging that stress or depression may be the cause will help you get on the path to feeling better.
Give yourself some grace
Giving yourself some grace can mean different things to different people, but the general idea behind it is self-compassion. Practice extending to yourself the same compassion you show others. For example, if your friend were feeling down, what would you say? Now imagine saying the same thing to yourself in that situation.
It's perfectly OK not to fit into the cultural norms that leave you feeling pressured, stressed or anxious. For example, it's OK if you can't attend every social event or simply don't want to (see the next item).
Social situations like parties and other get-togethers can sometimes add to negative feelings or even social anxiety. Depending on your situation, you may have invitations to parties with friends, work, church and other social groups. Or you may have no invitations at all. Your self-worth isn't dependent on the number of events you attend. Accept only the invitations you wish to accept and avoid overscheduling.
Sometimes the unrealistic expectations are those we set for others. Then, if they don't quite muster up, we feel disappointed. Remember to avoid setting expectations for others.
Don't be fooled into thinking the sometimes relaxing effects of alcohol override the negative effects. When too much is consumed, alcohol can quickly turn from relaxing to depressing. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and affects mood and behavior. Even after the alcohol is out of your system, hangovers are known to increase anxiety and stress levels.
And you should consult your medical doctor before consuming alcohol while taking any prescribed antidepressants or antianxiety medications.
Exercise does more for you than just keeping you fit. Working out can also be extremely beneficial for your mental health. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These chemicals interact with your brain's receptors and can reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins can also boost your mood and reduce stress. If you don't feel like doing a strenuous workout, walking for just 20 minutes a day can make a big difference.
Lean on your family and friends
Spending time with people you enjoy can be a wonderful mood booster. Being in the company of those we love can increase our feelings of acceptance, comfort and security. If you're feeling down, it's OK to talk with your loved ones about it so they can give you the support you need. If they know what's going on with you, they can be a better support system.
Don't be afraid to get help
When you're showing signs of depression, help can come in several forms. But the most important thing to remember is never to be ashamed to ask for help. Whether it's talking to a loved one, seeking help from a mental health professional or discussing medication or treatment options with a medical provider, it's important to get the help you need.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.