February 13, 2020
Depression goes beyond simply feeling sad over something that happened in your life. With depression, you may find yourself struggling with how you feel, think and act. Small tasks may suddenly feel overwhelming, and you may experience symptoms such as:
- Loss of interest in activities
- Sleep difficulties and fatigue
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of death/suicide
Depression comes in many different types, including:
- Major depressive disorder
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Postpartum depression
- Bipolar disorder
Regardless of the type of depression you have, there are a few ways to manage depression through lifestyle changes that can help your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
When you are dealing with depression, it may feel more draining and difficult to socialize. However, it is important to find trusted family members or friends that you can talk to and share your feelings and struggles with. They can share advice on coping mechanisms for depression, as well as offer support when you are going through difficult times.
Joining a support group can help, as well, since you will be surrounded by others who have gone through or are going through similar experiences. You can hear about how others managed their symptoms and feel encouraged by their successes.
While depression can cause low energy, staying active can help with boosting your mood and lessening symptoms. It is important to find an exercise program or activity you enjoy so you increase the chance you will stick with it. Some ways to stay active and get some more sunlight, which is a great mood regulator, include:
- Walking your dog
- Going on a walk or hike in nature
- Starting an outdoor hobby such as gardening or golfing
- Starting an outdoor sport such as soccer
- Joining an exercise group
Start small and build up your tolerance — even walking for 15 minutes to start can prove beneficial.
Be Mindful of Your Diet
What you eat can have a strong influence on how you feel. Using alcohol for coping with depression, for example, can make symptoms worse and even interact with medications. Diets high in sugar and carbs tend to make you feel better at first, but when the high wears off, you end up feeling even worse. Instead, make sure you don’t eat too much or too little. Diets rich in fresh foods and omega-3 fatty acids can help you feel much better.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
With depression, you can sometimes sleep a little or a lot. To manage symptoms, it is important to get a good night’s sleep. Some tips for better sleep include:
- Have a set sleep and wake-up routine
- Play white noise or soothing music
- Block out light
- Avoid electronics before bed
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol or energy drinks before bed
Getting Professional Help for Depression
When you don’t know how to deal with your depression, a mental health professional can help. Consulting with a professional psychiatrist is always best, as self-help with depression only goes so far. At Advanced Psychiatry Associates, we can assist with diagnosis, mental evaluation and medical tests. Our comprehensive treatment plans can include medication and therapy. If you have any questions about your depression or need help with managing it, please schedule an appointment or reach out using our live chat.