Practical tips to help people living with depression
Depression can be a very debilitating mental health condition. While anyone can become upset or sad from time-to-time, these feelings can become persistent and overwhelming when suffering from depression, affecting your ability to function on a daily basis.
If you are living with the condition, here are some tips to help you cope with the early stages, and information on the treatment that is available to you.
Listen to your emotions
When you feel sad, try to not to hide the emotion. Instead, make a ‘problem list’, where you then try to tackle the things on it one at a time. Also, take steps to talk to someone you know well. During your conversation with them, discuss how you are feeling and work with them to try and figure out what’s troubling you.
Look after your physical health
You may find that depression impacts your sleep, appetite, weight and concentration. You may also lack energy and find little enjoyment in the things you used to like doing.
While depression can make you want to hide away, it is important to try and look after your physical health. Below are some strategies you can introduce into your daily routine:
- Try going outdoors to get some fresh air and exercise, as this can help boost the ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain known as endorphins.
- Eat healthily throughout the day, and try not to overeat. There is evidence to suggest that eating foods rich in folic acid (such as avocado and spinach) as well those high in omega-3 acids such as salmon and tuna can help to ease symptoms.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Avoid napping and having any distractions and electronics in your bedroom.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol too, as they are counterproductive.
Maintain a structure
Keep structure by setting yourself a positive daily schedule. For example, try and cook at specific times of the day and have time set aside to exercise outdoors if possible.
Document your thoughts and feelings
Before you go to sleep, write down three positive things every evening and reflect on them when you wake up in the morning. Also, think about ‘where you want to be’ emotionally, mentally and even physically, and make a plan where you jot down small steps to help you get there.
Get the support you need
If you feel that your depression is getting worse as opposed to better, it is important to seek help.
Coping with depression isn’t something you should have to face on your own. It is a treatable illness and there are several treatment options available to help you manage the condition.
Talk to your GP first. They will be able to provide you with access to the support that you need, which can be a combination of medication and talking therapies like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
You can also turn to Priory for support when living with depression. With prompt access to experienced consultant psychiatrists and therapists, the team can help you to get the care you need to improve your wellbeing.