5 Tips for Managing Depression
Millions of people across the country live with at least one form of depression. Each type of depression comes with unique complications and symptoms, but they can all be serious when left untreated. Because depression is such a complex disorder, a comprehensive treatment plan often involves several strategies.
Depending on the exact symptoms and their severity, a care plan may include a mixture of clinical interventions and at-home treatments. Below are 5 strategies that can help you manage your depression.
1. Cultivate a Strong Support System
You do not have to fight depression alone. When you create a robust support system, you have people who can look out for you and help you through the most challenging days. Your support system can include friends, family members, and trusted professionals.
It’s essential to be open and honest with your support system about your diagnosis. Many people have trouble talking to family about mental health the first time. However, once you establish an open dialogue about it, these conversations get much more comfortable. Remember that your loved ones want you to be happy and healthy. LifeStance therapists can also help you speak to your friends and family about your mental health.
2. Develop a Toolbox for Difficult Days
Contrary to popular belief, depression doesn’t necessarily mean that every day involves an extremely low mood. Instead, many people who live with depression have some days in which their symptoms are limited and some days in which their symptoms are worse. It’s important to create a set of psychological tools that you can lean on whenever you have an incredibly difficult day.
The tools that work for you may differ from what helps someone else with the same symptoms.
Some tools that can help manage depression include:
- Meditating or praying
- Repeating positive affirmations
- Reaching out to your support system
- Doing an activity that you typically enjoy
- Going for a walk
- Challenging your negative thoughts
If you have suicidal thoughts, you should skip the steps listed above and seek immediate medical attention instead.
3. Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Certain healthy habits can help you have more good days and lessen the severity of symptoms. For example, it’s vital to get enough sleep without getting too much. Many people with depression either have difficulty getting enough restful sleep or they sleep more than is healthy. Adults should aim for about 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly and limit daytime napping to just 30 minutes.
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As with sleeping, people with depression can either find it difficult to eat anything or may over-eat. Finding a balance is vital for improving your mental health. This does not mean starting a strict diet, but rather ensuring that you get approximately the right amount of food for your day and that you get plenty of nutrients.
Finally, regular exercise is a helpful tool for managing depression. Exercise can release endorphins, which help you feel happier. It can also aid in sleeping better, which in turn helps fight depression. It’s important to talk to your doctor before changing your exercise routine.
4. Check-In With a Therapist Regularly
While loved ones, at-home coping mechanisms, and a healthy lifestyle can all help manage depression, you should not fight this disorder without the help of clinical professionals.
A licensed therapist can:
- Allow you to talk about difficult subjects
- Teach you healthy coping mechanisms
- Help you cultivate your support system
- Challenge your negative thought patterns
- Teach healthy behavioral patterns to support your recovery
With LifeStance, you can choose between seeing a therapist near you or opting for online therapy. Many patients choose virtual therapy for most appointments, but check-in with in-office visits sometimes as well.
5. Consider Psychiatric Care
Although researchers do know what risk factors may increase the chances of developing depression, the exact cause of each case is still unknown. For some people, the root cause is a chemical imbalance. While other remedies can ease some of the pain in these cases, medication could be necessary for patients to go into remission.