Studies have shown that it is estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men experience a major depressive episode in their lives before the age of 65. Our World In Data, states that depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the world.
Remember, you are not alone in this battle. In this article, we will cover steps on how you can overcome this mental illness.
What is depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder that is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities that people usually enjoy.
It can also cause a range of physical and emotional symptoms, including changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
Depression is a common and serious disorder that can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.
How long does depression last?
The length of time that depression lasts can vary depending on the individual and the specific type of depression that they are experiencing.
In general, acute cases of depression, which are the most common, can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
However, in some cases, depression can last for years and may even become a chronic condition.
Can depression make you sick?
Yes, depression can make you feel physically ill. Depression can affect the immune system and make a person more susceptible to illness.
Additionally, the symptoms of depression, such as loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping, can also contribute to physical illness.
It is important to seek treatment for depression if you are experiencing symptoms, as it can not only improve your mental health, but also your overall physical health.
Does depression go away?
In many cases, depression can be treated and managed successfully.
With the right treatment, which may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both, many people are able to recover from depression and go on to live healthy, fulfilling lives.
However, it is important to remember that everyone is different, and the course of treatment that works for one person may not work for another.
How to overcome depression
If you are experiencing depression, there are several things you can do to help overcome it:
1. Seek professional help
A mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, can help you identify the underlying causes of your depression and develop a treatment plan to address them.
How to seek professional help when depressed
If you are struggling with depression, seeking professional help is an important step in getting the support and treatment you need. There are several ways you can seek help for depression, including:
- Talk to your primary care doctor: Your primary care doctor can assess your symptoms and determine if you have depression. They can also provide you with a referral to a mental health professional or recommend treatment options.
- Contact a mental health professional: You can contact a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, directly to schedule an appointment. Many mental health professionals offer online or teletherapy services, which can make it easier to access care.
- Reach out to a support group: Joining a support group for people with depression can provide you with a sense of community and a safe space to discuss your experiences and feelings. You can find support groups in your area through organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).
- Call a hotline: If you are in crisis and need immediate help, you can call a hotline for support. Some hotlines, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (Phone number: 988) are available 24/7 and can provide you with support and resources.
Overall, seeking professional help for depression is an important step in getting the support and treatment you need to manage your symptoms and improve your mental health. By taking this step, you can start to feel better and begin to build a healthier, happier life.
2. Be active
Regular physical activity can help improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression. It can also help you sleep better and give you a sense of accomplishment.
How to be active when depressed
It can be challenging to be active when you are depressed, as depression can cause feelings of fatigue, lack of motivation, and difficulty concentrating.
However, engaging in regular physical activity can be an important part of managing depression and improving your overall mental health.
Here are some tips for being active when you are depressed:
- Start small: If you are feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated, start with small, achievable goals. For example, you could take a short walk around the block or do a few minutes of stretching or yoga. As you start to feel more energized and motivated, you can gradually increase the intensity and duration of your physical activity. Check out these fun yoga cards to get you moving!
- Choose activities you enjoy: It is important to choose physical activities that you enjoy, as this can make it more likely that you will stick with them. This could be a sport, a dance class, or a simple activity like gardening or hiking. By doing something you enjoy, you can make physical activity more enjoyable and rewarding.
- Find a support system: If you are struggling to be active on your own, consider finding a support system to help you. This could be a friend, family member, or therapist who can provide encouragement and accountability. You could also join a group or team that shares your interests, as this can provide a sense of community and support.
- Be patient and compassionate with yourself: It is important to be patient and compassionate with yourself when you are depressed and struggling to be active. Remember that depression is a real and serious illness, and it can take time to recover and to get back to feeling like yourself. Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Overall, being active when you are depressed can be a challenge, but it is an important part of managing your symptoms and improving your mental health.
By starting small, choosing activities you enjoy, finding support, and being patient and compassionate with yourself, you can gradually build a regular physical activity routine that helps you feel better and more in control.
3. Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can provide your body and brain with the nutrients they need to function properly.
Eating a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help improve your mood and energy levels.
How to eat a healthy diet when depressed
Eating a healthy diet can be an important part of managing depression and improving your overall mental health.
Here are some tips for eating a healthy diet when you are depressed:
- Eat regular meals: It can be easy to skip meals or to overeat when you are depressed, but eating regular meals can help to regulate your mood and energy levels. Try to eat three balanced meals a day, at consistent times, to help keep your mood and energy stable (If you struggle with meal prepping, check out this review I did on the popular meal delivery service, Factor75 Meals).
- Include a variety of healthy foods: A healthy diet should include a variety of nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Eating a balanced diet can help to provide the nutrients your body needs to function optimally and to support your mood and mental health. Consider this Best Selling healthy eats cookbook!
- Avoid processed and sugary foods: Processed and sugary foods can provide temporary energy and pleasure, but they can also cause mood swings and can contribute to feelings of depression. Try to limit your intake of processed and sugary foods, and opt for healthier, whole foods instead.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is important for overall health and can also help to support your mood and mental health. Aim to drink six to eight cups of water a day, and try to avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, which can dehydrate your body and worsen symptoms of depression. Check out this motivating water bottle!
- Get support: If you are struggling to eat a healthy diet when you are depressed, consider seeking support from a registered dietitian or a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and support to help you make healthy choices and to improve your diet.
Overall, eating a healthy diet can be an important part of managing depression and improving your mental health.
By eating regular meals, including a variety of healthy foods, avoiding processed and sugary foods, staying hydrated, and seeking support when needed, you can make positive changes to your diet that can help to support your mood and overall well-being.
4. Get enough sleep
Sleep is important for both physical and mental health. If you are experiencing depression, getting enough sleep can help improve your mood and energy levels.
How to get enough sleep when depressed
Getting enough sleep is important for overall health and well-being, and it is also crucial for managing symptoms of depression.
Here are some tips for getting enough sleep when you are depressed:
- Establish a regular sleep routine: One of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep when you are depressed is to establish a regular sleep routine. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This can help to regulate your body’s internal clock and can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment: Your sleep environment can have a big impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet, and consider using earplugs, eye masks, or white noise machines to block out any distractions. Avoid using screens (e.g., phones, laptops, TVs) in the hour before bed, as the blue light they emit can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can improve your mood and can also help to improve your sleep. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day, but avoid exercising within a few hours of bedtime, as this can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine: Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are all stimulants that can interfere with your sleep. Try to avoid these substances in the hours leading up to bedtime, and limit your overall intake to improve your sleep.
- Consider medication: If you are struggling to get enough sleep despite following the above tips, you may want to talk to your doctor about medication. There are several types of medications that can help to improve sleep, including sleep aids and antidepressants. Your doctor can help you to find the right medication and dosage for your needs.
Overall, getting enough sleep is an important part of managing symptoms of depression and improving your overall health and well-being.
By establishing a regular sleep routine, creating a sleep-friendly environment, exercising regularly, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, and considering medication if needed, you can improve your sleep and feel better.
5. Connect with others
Social support is important for mental health. Connecting with friends, family, or a support group can provide a sense of belonging and help you feel less alone.
How to get connected with others when depressed
Feeling connected to others is important for overall mental health and well-being, and it can be especially important when you are struggling with depression.
Here are some tips for getting connected with others when you are depressed:
- Reach out to friends and family: One of the easiest and most effective ways to connect with others when you are depressed is to reach out to friends and family. Let them know that you are struggling and that you need their support. They can provide a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or practical help, such as bringing you a meal or helping with errands.
- Join a support group: Support groups can provide a sense of community and a safe space to discuss your experiences and feelings with others who are going through similar struggles. You can find support groups for people with depression through organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).
- Volunteer: Volunteering can provide a sense of purpose and can help you to feel connected to others who are working towards a common goal. You can find volunteering opportunities in your community through organizations such as VolunteerMatch or HandsOn Network.
- Join a hobby or interest group: Joining a group that shares your hobbies or interests can provide a sense of community and a way to connect with others who have similar passions. You can find groups in your area through meetup.com or through community organizations or clubs.
- Use technology: If you are struggling to connect with others in person, technology can provide a way to connect virtually. You can use social media, messaging apps, or video chat to stay in touch with friends and family, or to join online groups and communities that share your interests.
Overall, getting connected with others is an important part of managing depression and improving your mental health.
By reaching out to friends and family, joining a support group, volunteering, joining a hobby or interest group, or using technology, you can find ways to connect with others and to feel less alone.
6. Practice self-care:
Taking care of yourself is important for managing depression. This may include activities such as meditation, deep breathing, or spending time in nature.
How to practice self-care when depressed
Practicing self-care is an important part of managing depression and improving your overall mental health.
Self-care involves taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, and it can include activities such as exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.
Here are some tips for practicing self-care when you are depressed:
- Make time for yourself: One of the most important things you can do for your self-care is to make time for yourself. This means setting aside time each day to do something that you enjoy, whether it is reading, exercising, or spending time with friends or family. By making time for yourself, you can recharge and feel more in control of your life.
- Take care of your physical health: Your physical health is an important part of your overall well-being, and taking care of your physical health can help to improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression. This means eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. You may also want to consider talking to your doctor about any physical health concerns you have.
- Manage stress: Stress can worsen symptoms of depression, so it is important to find healthy ways to manage stress. This could include practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, or engaging in activities that help you to relax, such as yoga or spending time in nature. You may also want to consider talking to a mental health professional about stress management techniques that could be helpful for you. Check out these Stress Relief and Self Care Cards.
- Seek support: It can be hard to practice self-care when you are depressed, so it is important to seek support from others when you need it. This could include talking to friends and family, joining a support group, or seeking help from a mental health professional. By reaching out for support, you can get the help you need to take care of yourself and to improve your mental health.
- Be kind to yourself: Finally, it is important to be kind to yourself when you are practicing self-care. Remember that you are not alone, and that you are doing the best you can. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have a setback, and try to be patient and compassionate with yourself as you work on your self-care.
Overall, practicing self-care is an important part of managing depression and improving your mental health.
By making time for yourself, taking care of your physical health, managing stress, seeking support, and being kind to yourself, you can improve your self-care and feel better.
Until next time…