This is Part 1 of my Depression Segment. I’ve already done Part 1 of ‘Coping’ (which you can see here: Part 1 ) but because it was so long, I’ve now made Part 2!
Depression – Part 1 – How to cope with Depression (Part 2)
Reduce your intake of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fast foods, and processed foods. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole foods. Drink plenty of water and do some research on foods that are said to improve your state of mind and well-being. Improving your diet can be a positive project to keep you constructively occupied and focused when you’re working through your depression.
It can be easy to let yourself go when depressed and to pay no attention to appearance and clothing. Reintroducing daily attention to grooming can help improve your mood and give you a sense of well-being. Get a new haircut or new clothes as part of cheering yourself up. And concentrate on the parts that you do love about yourself instead of fretting over what you don’t like.
Support from people who love and care about you is an important part of the healing process. Tell people you trust that you’re depressed and would appreciate their understanding and sympathy. It is far harder for people to help you if you’re secretive and do things that seem inexplicably strange. Knowing will help people to make allowances and support you as best they can. Realize that some people will find this confrontational or upsetting if they’re also feeling down, and others may be dismissive. You’ll need to reach a decision yourself as to whether it’s worth explaining things further with them, or whether it’s just best to stay away from them until you’re more resilient. Be willing to be honest about your irritability and reclusive behaviour with those you trust. They need to know it’s not personal, but that you need space or time out every now and then.
Being busy is a way to prevent negative thoughts from going around your head repeatedly. For depressed persons, the first step is often the hardest, so making yourself do things can be a huge difference in your day and getting you started.
Do a hobby you enjoy or think you’ll enjoy. Immerse yourself in it. It doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. As long as it’s interesting it will serve the purpose.
Care for pets. The routine involved in pets needing to be fed, groomed, and played with can be very satisfying for a depressed person. This is especially so because pets don’t provide a sense of judgment but return love and acceptance.
Introduce structure into your everyday life. Make a schedule of what to do every day, no matter how mundane and gradually expand this as you start to feel better. It doesn’t matter whether you work or not. A schedule can put some direction back into a day that might otherwise feel empty or aimless.
Feeling down feeds on itself and it soon becomes a catch-22 when you convince yourself that you don’t deserve to enjoy anything. The antidote is to do things that you used to enjoy or that are fun for people around you – “one fun thing a day to keep the blues at bay”.
As with everything else, do this gradually. One fun thing a day, such as watching a beloved comedy or reading a funny book can give you a sense of fun for a while.
Schedule positive events into your life. Go out to dinner, the movies or for a walk with friends.
Take it slowly. If you used to enjoy gardening, plant a single plant. If you used to enjoy a long walk, take a short one. Gradually build up to more enjoyable experiences.
This can be a good way of moving through your depression once it’s under better control, and is often an ideal technique to use when your healing seems to have temporarily “plateaued.” In helping other people going through hardships, you will be able to channel some of your sadness and inability to cope into ensuring that other people can. This removes the concentration from you to others, which can be good if you’re prone to too much introspection.
Look for the Good
Sit back and try to find the good in your life. Whatever it is, it is something worth finding. Return to this list regularly and continue to update it. In your initial recovery, it might have one or two things such as “my house” or “my spouse.” Over time, it should grow as you start to experience the more joyful side of life again.
Replace unhappy thoughts with memories of happier times. You are in control of what you’re thinking about. Make the choice to prefer the positive, happier memories over the unhappy thoughts.
Accept Future Struggles
Once you’re affected by depression, your vulnerability to it can mean it has a higher chance of returning in your life if you don’t manage its causes well. Recognize the warning signs and take constructive actions to deal with it earlier on before it starts. Aim to minimize its impact and duration.
When you’ve passed through depression, you can help others to work through it too. Reassure them that what they’re experiencing is real, worthy of treatment and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
So, I hope you have enjoyed Part 1 of my Depression Guide. Part 2 will be published on Saturday.