What you can do about depression
So, let’s be clear from the onset, if you have a diagnosis of depression from a trained professional, then this could mean several things. Firstly, what type of depression do you have and is there a specific treatment plan? Are you prescribed medication alongside a psychological intervention such as counselling? You may even be asked to stay off work for a while whilst you recover.
Regardless of the type of diagnosis one is given, in most cases there are many things an individual can do to help themselves with the journey to recovery. The challenge for individuals with depression is that motivation and energy levels can be very low, sometimes getting out of bed takes great effort so the thought of doing extra activities can be daunting. The best approach is to take small steps and gradually build up as your confidence and motivation grows.
Here are some self-care tips for those suffering with depression
Exercise – We know that exercise is good for us and that people who are physically active feel better for incorporating exercise into their daily lives. You don’t have to join a gym or a class, you can start by going for a walk. There is so much evidence that states that walking is one of the best exercises to lift a person’s mood.
Avoidance – Face up to those things that you are trying to avoid because you feel they are difficult. People who feel depressed tend to avoid speaking to other or even speaking on the phone. This has a negative long term affect as this adds to the isolation.
Eat healthy – The importance of a healthy diet on a person’s emotional well-being can never be underestimated, however, the evidence suggests that people who suffer from depression are more likely to neglect a healthy diet. Look into how you could improve your diet with healthier options that are available.
Sleep hygiene – We know that when a person does not get a good night sleep it can affect the next day in many ways, for example, low mood, low energy, unable to concentrate and focus to name a few. If you have depression and your sleep is disrupted it can be even more troublesome. A few simple practical things to improve sleep, turn off all electronics ninety minutes before going to bed, make sure your bedroom temperature is cool, give yourself at least two hours after eating before going to bed and don’t take your work to bed with you. Try to keep a consistent routine by going to bed and awaking at the same time even at weekends.
Challenging your inner critic – One of the best psychological interventions that is used to help people suffering from depression is cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). The central thinking behind CBT is that a person’s thoughts, rather than their life situation, affects their mood, CBT teaches the client how to challenge the negative thoughts.
First and foremost, notice the negative thoughts and what they are saying, for example, “I always fail” or “everyone is better than me”. These negative thoughts can be reframed in a positive way, such as “I don’t always fail” and “not everyone is better than me, I am good at many things”.
It is so easy to slide down the spiral of negativity especially if you are suffering from depression as this inner dialogue can slowly eat away at how you perceive the world around you.
Mindfulness – Mindfulness is often used in certain kinds of therapeutic interventions such as CBT. It can be viewed as a tool that people can incorporate into their life in order to bring about a sense of calmness without getting caught up in self-criticism and judgment.
There are many ways that mindfulness can be cultivated into everyday living, there are many examples and methods that can be found online, find some that will work for you.