We’ve talked about some of the consequences of depression before. Among its many ill effects, depression can exacerbate pain symptoms and put you into a repetitive cycle of misery. If left untreated, depression has the potential to completely cripple your normal way of life. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to cope. According to those knowledgeable on the topic, like Smart Brain and Health, there are several strategies available to help individuals cope with depression and its adverse effects.
Boosting one’s mood, relieving stress, and combating some symptoms are all possible with some smartly applied self-coping strategies. These methods allow for individuals to feel empowered improving health & depression symptoms. Instead of feeling like you are at the whim of your moods and incapable of controlling anything that happens to you, you will feel an ability to exercise your own measure of control over your circumstances, and limit the effects depression has on you throughout day to day life.
It’s easy to overlook, but a big part of what affects how you feel is your lifestyle. The choices you make from day to day play out in different ways that can alter how you think and feel later on. For instance, what you choose to eat. Your dietary choices can have a significant impact on how you will feel throughout the day. There are nuances, but the saying “garbage in garbage out” certainly applies here. If you ingest lots of unhealthy food with low nutritional value, you will, as a consequence, feel sluggish, deprived of energy, and generally lethargic.
You’ll have to make smart choices about what to eat. Limit (but don’t cut out) carbohydrates from your diet. Make healthy carb choices like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Making breakfast a part of your routine is helpful. Balancing your diet with helpful proteins, along with healthy fruits and vegetables is essential. It’s important not to fall into a harmful cycle of overeating.
For some, comfort eating is a direct result of depression. Overindulging causes them to gain more weight. Their depression worsens, and they eat more in an attempt to cope. Just as important is what you keep out of your body. Overuse of drugs and alcohol will bring down your mood, wear out your immune system, and leave you feeling much worse overall. Caffeine is included in this list of things you should limit. In those with heightened sensitivity, it can cause a loss of sleep which in turn worsens your mood.
Speaking of which, if you weren’t already aware, sleep is an essential part of boosting your mood. Operating off of too little sleep will leave you perpetually cranky. According to some research data, individuals who average only 4-5 hours of sleep a night are more irritable and less capable of coping than those who get plenty of rest. In many cases, addressing the lack of sleep helps individuals become more productive during the day, which further increases their fight against depression.
Sleep helps you prevent disease (getting sick usually makes you feel worse), and will help you deal with some of the issues that may be stressing you in your day to day life. After you get that full night’s sleep, make sure you also get a healthy dose of exercise. In addition to helping you manage your weight, the very action of exercise can help you to feel better. The chemicals released by the body when undergoing physical activity relieve stress and have a host of additional psychological benefits. Your self-esteem will improve, your physical fitness will improve, and your overall outlook will improve as well.
You should make all of these healthy coping strategies a part of a routine. Believe it or not, having a schedule is one of the most helpful things you can do to combat the lack of motivation that is a hallmark of depression. You will know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and because you are doing something you will feel balance and purpose return to your life, and be more able to continue with your day to day activities as a result. There are wealth of resources out there for other techniques you can use to manage feelings of depression. These four major ones though should serve as an excellent starter and kick start you into a healthier pattern of living!