Sadness is a normal part of being human that will come and go, but depression is a constant state. It can last for weeks, months, or years and can make it hard for you to do what you love. Recovery is not easy, but there are a number of small things that one can do in order to help ease the symptoms and help one on their way to recuperation.
1. Avoid Isolation, Spend Time With Friends and Family.
Depression may cause individuals to become withdrawn or less sociable. This can turn into a cycle that is difficult to overcome. Connecting with others is one of the most basic needs and often forgotten when depression hits. When you notice the first signs of depression, make an effort to spend time with friends and family. These are the individuals that will be your support network when things get rough. It is important to be able to talk about your problems. This makes them easier to identify and deal with.
2. Eat a Healthy, Mood-Boosting Diet.
Your diet has a direct impact on how you feel. You should limit your intake of foods that can have an adverse effect on the brain and mood, like alcohol, caffeine, trans fats, and foods with a lot of preservatives or hormones. Do not skip meals, as this can make you feel irritable and/or tired. Have something small every 3 to 4 hours. Limit the amount of refined carbs and sugars that you take in. Though you may crave this, it can cause a crash in energy and mood. Vitamin B deficiency can also trigger depression. To get more, eat foods high in vitamin B12 and folic acid or take a B-complex vitamin supplement.
3. Challenge Negative Thoughts.
Obsessing over negative thoughts is a byproduct of depression. The key is to be mindful of this and shift the focus on to gratitude -- it will make you feel more positive about yourself and your environment. Identify these negative thoughts, as they are not representative of reality. It will help to gain perspective and filter out the negative thoughts.
4. Break Down Overwhelming Tasks into Small Chunks.
When you begin to feel overwhelmed by ordinary tasks, try breaking them down into smaller chunks. Mentally visualize the actions of the task or write them down, and then complete each of these actions in sequence, slowly. This allows each action to be achievable without the worry of the entire task.
5. Accept Responsibility.
It is possible to work toward overcoming mild depression when you can take personal responsibility for your own actions and behaviors. It is about making the decision to feel more happy and powerful. These answers exist inside of everyone, but the challenge is to discover these answers and utilize them to improve out life.
6. Have a Regular Sleep Pattern.
A good night's sleep is vital no matter what mental state you are in, but too much sleep can worsen depression. Work to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends. Use and alarm and create a routine that includes calming rituals before bed. Regular sleep routines will have a positive effect on mood and can reduce depressive symptoms with time.
7. Do Things That Promote Relaxation and Supply Energy.
Aim to do things that energize and relax you. This can be things such as getting enough sleep, practicing relaxation techniques, and getting exposure to sunlight each day. Even just sitting outside for a little bit of time will boost your mood. Caring for a pet is another way to feel less isolated. It will give you a sense of being needed. Though it does not in any way replace human interaction, it will bring love and companionship and will help you to feel less isolated.
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If you -- or someone you know -- need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.