Depression is more than simply feeling sad, and with the World Health Organization stating that an estimated 350 million people suffer from the debilitating affliction worldwide, it’s important that the problem is recognized and tackled in proactive ways. Often, the major symptoms of depression are also the cause of spiraling deeper into it, which is why sufferers need to find their own coping mechanisms and find the methods that will help alleviate those symptoms. The good news is that there are a number of first steps that you can take that will help to give yourself a boost, and with the energy and motivation that you can create you might find you can take those bigger steps, and hopefully eradicate the affliction completely from your life.
Don’t neglect your social life
One of the most frustrating symptoms of depression is the sense that you’re better off alone. People with depression can all too easily disconnect from their family and friends, and it’s important that you try and face that feeling and tackle it. It can be very difficult, but it’s incredibly beneficial to maintain those connections, largely because spending time with the people that you know can help to smooth over those feelings of loneliness. No matter how much you feel like you’ll be better off by pulling away from life and your responsibilities, you may find that taking on extra diary dates and remaining involved in the lives of others can help your fight against depression. Feeling grounded by others is a leveler when it comes to your mental health, so don’t face the battle alone.
Pulling the curtains closed and flopping on the sofa may be relaxing, but it’s no good simply cutting out the outside world. The scientific studies that have confirmed the benefits of being outside should be enough to encourage you to put your shoes on and take a stroll. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to overextend yourself, and there’s no need for long hikes or weekend camping trips when you’re not feeling up to it. Instead, a simple stroll through your local park on a sunny day can be a great way to boost yourself, because the sunlight helps your body to create the endorphins that can lower your stress levels and even reduce pain. Head to your nearest green space, wander through trees and feel the benefits of being outside.
Some light (very light) exercise
Not everyone likes to exercise, and for many, the mere idea of going to the gym is enough to bring on a depressive episode. Like going outside, you don’t need to do any more than you feel comfortable with, and your exercise can take different forms that might surprise you. One of the most beneficial is to stick on your favorite album, open your windows, and do a tidying-up blitz of your home. Take it at your own pace, but that movement can be enough to get your heart racing, which can help you to feel more positive. If tidying up seems like it’s not going to give you the proper work-out that you want, you could opt for some yoga, or even a stroll into work rather than a drive. When 25 consecutive studies all confirm that exercise can help to alleviate depression, then it might be time to get your jogging pants on.
Laughter is medicine
When you laugh, your body releases those all-important endorphins, which is why it’s essential that you take some time out of your day to find something funny. The work environment is rarely the right place for full belly-laughs, but you should make an effort as and when you can. Perhaps when you get home after a hard day, make time to watch the latest comedy, or spend thirty minutes watching funny YouTube videos of cats falling over or your favorite comedians. One of the symptoms of depression is that it can be very hard to find things funny, which is why it’s ever so important that you try, then try again.
Talk to professionals
Although depression can make us feel very alone, you need to understand that you’re not, and a good way to come to terms with that idea is by visiting your doctor. There are a wide variety of modern medicines that help to alleviate the symptoms of depression, and it’s worth talking with a medical professional about the pros and cons of each. You may be concerned about taking pharmaceutical remedies for depression, but there are products available that can be of major help. One of the most popular remedies on the market at the moment is Escitalopram, and if you’re already asking yourself “what is escitalopram?” then you’re already on the right track. Able to help restore your natural serotonin levels, Escitalopram can help to alleviate depression and even reduce the symptoms of migraines as well. As one of the more effective medical solutions to depression, Escitalopram is a fantastic first step you take.
Disconnect from social media
It’s great when you’re feeling good, and there are some benefits to social media, but consistent research has shown that if you are already feeling down, then social media only reinforces that negativity. Even on a general scale, studies have shown that too much social media can lead to both anxiety and depression, even if the symptoms weren’t there originally. Not everyone uses social media platforms in the same way, and they do have their uses for keeping in contact with people or helping you to feel part of a community. The trick is knowing when to log on and when to do something else instead. If you’re feeling especially low, it may be worth tackling one of the other suggestions on this list rather than checking how many likes you did or didn’t get on your latest Instagram post.
Overcoming depression is not easy, but it’s always essential that you remember that you’re not alone and that with a little self-care it is possible to pass the worst of the symptoms. Do some online research into the best foods to eat, create a positive playlist, or pick up a good book, and you might find that these coping mechanisms are enough to motivate you when it comes to taking the bigger steps like exercise or reconnecting with friends and family.
Depression should never be taken lightly, and you should never feel like it’s something that can’t get over. Recognizing that you have a real problem is the first step to beating it.