Coping With Depression – How To Get Help

Depression can be overwhelming and oftentimes can feel isolating and lonely.

Depression can look like irritability, isolating or withdrawing, sleeping too much or difficulty sleeping, binge eating or loss of appetite, loss of pleasure in previously pleasurable activities, lack of motivation and energy, and more. These symptoms can make daily life activities more challenging. Getting out of bed, going to work, cleaning your home can feel impossible to do. Below is a list of coping skills that can help you manage and improve your depressive symptoms.

1.Rely On Your Support Network: Share your feelings with friends and family who you can express your feelings too. Having someone to talk to and validate your feelings will make you feel less alone, heard, and improve your depression. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, look into group therapy for people struggling with depression.

2.Manage Stress: Stress can intensify mental health concerns, depression being one of them. When we begin to feel overwhelmed with school, work, and life, it can be easier to avoid the stressors and engage in negative behaviors that exacerbate our depression. Prioritize self-care and stress management skills to improve your depression and reduce your stress.

3.Stop Procrastinating and Create A Schedule: One way to manage stress, reduce depressive symptoms, and improve your mood is to create a schedule for yourself daily.

Thinking of all your responsibilities, errands, deadlines, and chores can be overwhelming and result in not wanting to do any of it. Creating a schedule daily, and picking a time to do it will make you more likely to complete the activity and stop procrastinating. It will also help you identify what is necessary to complete that day and what can wait, helping you feel less stressed and overwhelmed. In addition, you can schedule time for self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, reading, journaling, sleep, spending time with family and friends, and more.

4.Prioritize Healthy Sleeping Patterns: Lack of sleep directly affects our mental health, reduces clarity in thinking, and increases irritability. Prioritizing getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep will help reduce the intensity of your depressive symptoms and make it easier to cope with life stressors. However, oftentimes with depression, we want to stay in bed sleep a lot which only exacerbates our symptoms of depression. Try to engage in good sleep hygiene techniques such as avoiding screens an hour before bed, reducing caffeine intake, going to bed, and getting up at the same time every day, and more.

5.Establish Healthy Eating Habits: There is a direct link between diet and mental health. It is important to eat three balanced meals a day to improve your overall well-being.

6.Challenge Negative Thinking Patterns: When we will feel depressed, we typically engage in negative thinking patterns about ourselves and our environment. By altering these thinking patterns to more positive ones can improve your mood. You can do this by looking for evidence in your life to challenge the thought, don’t attach to the negative thoughts as they’re not facts just a thought, every time you have a negative thought counteract with a positive thought, write something you like about yourself daily, and more.

7.Create A Self-Soothe Box: Make a box or list of things that will soothe your five senses. For instance, for sight look at funny videos or good pictures, for sound listen to your favorite music or podcast, for taste eat your favorite candy or a home-cooked meal, for smell light your favorite candle, for touch wrap yourself in your fuzziest blanket, and more. Whatever brings you comfort will reduce the intensity of your symptoms.

8.Exercise Regularly: Exercise has been directly linked to improving overall mood and self-confidence. Try to engage in at least 20 minutes of exercise daily. It can be as simple as yoga, going for a walk, stretching, and more.

9.Journal To Express Your Feelings: Journaling has been proven as a healthy and private way to express your feelings. When journaling, don’t hold back, journaling is for you to take the thoughts out of your head and put them on paper so you can see them more clearly, and it’s not to share with others unless you choose to.

10.Engage In Activities That Are Opposite To Your Emotions: Oftentimes when we’re feeling depressed we engage in negative behaviors that exacerbate our depressive symptoms. Engaging in activities opposite to how we feel will improve your mood. If you’re feeling sad, don’t listen to sad music or watch a sad show, listen to happy upbeat music or watch a comedy show. If you’re feeling sad, don’t stay in bed all day, get up do some exercise, shower, stretch, journal, stick to your schedule, and more. Doing the opposite of how you feel will enhance your mood and improve your depressive symptoms.

Depression can make it difficult and at times feel even impossible to engage in these coping skills to make changes in your life. It can even result in feelings of hopelessness about oneself and their future. If that is the case it may be helpful to speak to a professional and/or seek medication.

1.Talk Therapy: Speaking with a professional can help give you a non-judgemental safe platform to process and explore your feelings; as well as learn coping skills on how to better manage your depression. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Psychoanalytical therapy, and more have all been proven to help people struggling with depression.

2.Medication: If talk therapy alone is not working, speak to a medical professional about medication. Anti-depressants combined with talk therapy have been proven to be an effective treatment for depression.