It can happen to anyone, when you least expect it. Depression is nothing to feel ashamed about. There are many different reasons, why you can feel depressed. It could be situational. Maybe, you are struggling in your marriage, you lost your job or you have an illness. It could be genetic. Maybe, depression runs in your family. It could also be chemical. The good news is depression is treatable.
You will be able to get through it, but you will need some help. The first step is reaching out to others. Talk to friends and family. If that’s not enough, then seek help from a professional. When you feel depressed, you may feel more irritable. You may not enjoy doing the same things that you used to. It may also be difficult to sleep, or you may sleep a lot and still feel tired. These are few of the symptoms, there can also be more.
Here are 5 tips for taking care of yourself when you’re depressed:
- Start by taking care of the basics. You need at least 8 hours of sleep every night. You need to drink plenty of water, and eat nutrient rich foods. Make exercise a habit in your life. Make sure you get some natural light, if possible. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. I know it’s more convenient to stop at the drive thru on the way home from work, but there aren’t very many nutrient rich foods there. These really are important, make sure you don’t overlook them.
- Stay away from negative people. It’s true they will only bring you down. This also means limit the amount of time that you watch the news. There is never good news on the news. This can easily bring you down, and make you feel like the world is horrible. Stay around positive people. Start to notice the good that is happening in the world.
- Don’t take on more than you can handle. This doesn’t mean that you are quitter. Take a good hard look at your life. What can you trim? How many marathons do you really need to run in? How many organizations do you really need to volunteer for? How many extra work projects can you take on at the office? Do you really need to remodel your entire house right now? Learn to say no, you will feel much better in the long run.
- Make sure you are having fun. It’s easy to get caught up in work, the house and the family. Your life may feel like a to do list. When was the last time you put having fun on your to do list? This is one of those things that makes it way to the bottom of the list, or it may not even be on the list at all. Watch a comedy, spend time with friends that make you laugh, or get outside and go on a hike.
- Don’t feel ashamed about asking for help. Many people feel embarrassed about feeling depressed. There is no reason to feel this way. The best thing you can do is talk to someone about it. You can’t keep everything in. It will eventually come out as a headache, stomach ache or feeling depressed.
If you’ve read this article, I’m proud of you. It’s easy to ignore depression. This will not make it go away. This will actually make it worse. Depression doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Many people have had it treated, and go onto live reasonably happy lives.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many people overcome depression, and thrive in life. For more information, please visit www.LessonsforLove.com.