8 Tips for Dealing with Mild Depression
The term depression is so commonly used today that people tend not to take it seriously anymore. But depression is a very serious condition that can severely diminish quality of life. Even mild depression takes it’s toll. Depression is not just a passing phase or mood-of-the-moment. The struggles faced when dealing with mild depression are very real and surprisingly difficult to understand for those who are not suffering from it themselves.
Depression can debilitate a person’s normal functions, making even the most mundane tasks such as getting up from bed or eating breakfast seemingly impossible. It is a tragic truth that a lot of depressed individuals are never treated because of a lack of information, dismissal of seriousness by self or others and even misinformation.
However, coping with mild depression is very possible – even without professional help in some cases. Learning ways to combat the effects of mild depression, and applying them to practice, can give you the edge you need. (it is important to note here that professional therapy is still invaluable and very necessary when it comes to moderate or serious depression.)
Here are a few things that can help you alleviate symptoms and manage your depression:
Staying active is one way to fend off mild depression. Primarily, activities help distract people from whatever it is that is causing their depression and it also helps channel unspent energies (anxiety) that build up when we feel depressed. Keeping active also releases endorphins – natural mood boosters in your brain that have a direct and positive impact. We sometimes say, “You have to get up to cheer up.”
It is also important to rest. Not lethargy and laying about – but regular sleep and down time. Insomnia and lack of good sleep actually compound anxiety, lower frustration tolerance, diminish short term memory and have a tendency to make us more emotionally reactive – these typically cause more problems and add to depression.
Being depressed can be very exhausting, so it is essential to regain strength and energy if you are going to effectively deal with depression. Relaxation techniques can help us all be more attuned to daily impact on our body and mind, and of course to be more at peace. When resting, stressors should be kept away from the bedroom so that ample rest can be obtained. (Tip – get that TV/tech out of the bedroom. It stimulates a part of the brain that actually makes getting the sleep you need harder to get).
LET IT GO
Depressed people often have been holding back from expressing their emotions. Mild depression often comes, in part, from suppressed emotions and avoided conflict. People who are grieving or silently angry can be very prone to depression – especially if they keep their emotions locked up to themselves. Sometimes people avoid crying because they think it might be a sign of weakness. Or avoid being angry because we are not sure how to do it without negative results, or even because of how they think others will judge them.
LET IT SHOW
However, expression of emotions and talking about what we think and feel is a part of being human. We are communal creatures and even the most introverted of us needs the support and confidence of others. It is okay to express anger in a healthy way. It is important to cry because release is needed.
When expressing feelings, it is important to avoid destructive behaviors – like releasing your anger by doing something violent like boxing, smashing things, and the like. Joining destructive behaviors with release teaches the brain that these go together – that force is required for release. Not a very smart pairing, right? If you need help with expressing grief, anger, sadness or other concerns, reach out to a seasoned and professional counselor. (for help knowing how to find the best counselor for you, check out our previous blog)
FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Hang around with your friends and loved ones. Depressed individuals need support very much. Other people can distract us from stressors, provide support and insights. Your supporters can also remind you that there can be so much more to life, and it is worth living even if it is simply because of the company you share with wonderful people.
TAKE CARE OF YOU
It is important to preserve, protect and believe in yourself. A lot of people feel depressed because they put themselves down or allow themselves to be taken advantage of. Boundaries are gold here – learning how to set clean boundaries and uphold them is a great way to start taking care of you. It is also important to satisfy yourself spiritually and to cultivate a sense of self-worth. Raising the health of your mind; the way you think, is as important as taking care of the health of your body. Some activities can benefit both – like yoga.
ENTERTAIN YOUR BRAIN
There is nothing more depressing than a life of desolate monotony to many of us. Your brain needs “new” experiences and material. Go to a museum you’ve never been to, try a new type of restaurant, revive the old days and go bowling or to a kids’ movie, go listen to a live band … Do something new.
ACTS OF SERVICE
If you are still struggling or can’t get peers together – Get out there and volunteer. Acts of service to others less fortunate than us is a great way to put perspective back into an otherwise gloomy view. Do something that is meaningful to you. It feels good to do good. And right now your brain needs some healthy “feel good” time. So, while you are out there helping others you’ll be helping yourself too.
One Last Comment…
Sadness does not disappear overnight; it takes time. Everything worthwhile in life does. So be patient. However, if symptoms are more than mild or seem to be getting worse – please, don’t wait. Reach out to your physician or counselor. Or let a friend know you need help finding one. Nobody waits until a fire spreads throughout the house before they go to get help. So, don’t let a growing problem become something even more difficult before you get a professional on your team.
Hope this gave you a few ideas or re-inspired some old ones.
Journey Well and thank you for visiting!