We live in a society with little regard for mental health. Depression, for example, is too often dismissed as a spiritual problem and even considered a result of idleness. “After all, only idle people have time to think badly about themselves,” someone once said. “The rest of us are too busy trying to make ends meet.” Faced with the grind of each day, we think of ourselves as too tough (mentally) to be weighed down by the hustle and bustle of life.
Sadly, nothing could be farther from the truth. Clinical depression is real. It’s not a ‘White Man’s disease’ nor is just ‘sadness’. It doesn’t discriminate though we know that affect more women than men. It can be physically debilitating yet it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
You may be reading this post because you or someone you know has been living with depression, the symptoms of which include long-term moodiness or sadness, lethargy, lack of motivation or interest or thoughts of suicide. Regardless of how you feel, there is always help at hand. Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy where you work with a trained mental health professional. There are also things that you can do yourself –here are our self-help tips to support you in managing your emotions.
- Exercise: You will be surprised at the positive effect a short, 20 minutes jog can give. Research shows that exercise releases endorphins; hormones that help you feel good about yourself. To get the maximum benefits, exercise should be done regularly and can include anything from sweeping the floor every day to a weekly jog.
- Talk to someone: They say a problem shared is one half-solved. So, open up to someone and discuss what you are going through. It could be a close friend or family member you trust who simply has to listen actively. You may be surprised at just how supportive they may be.
- Have an adventure: From a fun night out with friends to visiting a brand new location, enjoy varied experiences outdoors. Don’t lock yourself up indoors. Choose to discover what the world has to offer instead.
- Subscribe to daily humour: A good laugh does wonders for the soul. Watch a funny movie or chat to your more humorous friends. Even your goofs can be a source of enjoyment and entertainment to you and those around you. You’ll be amazed at how your spirits will be lifted.
- Eat balanced meals: Food is another gift of nature that helps combat depression. Fast food, though convenient, causes a brief sugar high before a crash. A balanced meal eaten on a daily basis should not be full of sugar but be rich in green vegetables that are eaten with balanced portions of carbs and proteins. Two more tips – don’t skip meals and don’t eat too much.
- Get some sleep: An important restorative activity, disturbed sleep can cause irritability and tension which can, in turn, play a role in depression. Speak to your doctor if you have trouble sleeping.
- Take life one day at a time: It’s that feeling of being overwhelmed that can make life seem so tough and your days dark. Don’t give in to those negative feelings, see each day as a chance to start anew and tackle each task as an experience to learn something new. You don’t have to cross off all the things on your to-do list so stop worrying about what lies ahead. Enjoy the present to the best of your ability.
Listen here for practical tips on how to fight depression
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