With seasonal shifts, life stressors, and hormonal changes, it’s natural to get down sometimes. Other times, these mood changes linger and turn into full-on depression.
Depression is a debilitating mental health condition that should be taken seriously.
When dealing with depression, it’s important to first speak with a mental health practitioner. And, as always, reach out to a support line if you feel that this is life-threatening.
Outside of any prescriptions that your doctor may prescribe you, there are supplements and lifestyle changes you can do to help with managing depression.
Managing Symptoms of Depression
Self-help tips might not get rid of your depression, but they can help you manage the symptoms.
So, what are the symptoms of depression?
To start, there are several different types and levels of depression. Clinical depression, though, is classified by the following symptoms:
- Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
- Pessimism and hopelessness
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
- Crankiness or irritability
- Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
- Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
These symptoms are significant because they start to impact our lives and daily habits. It can be hard to wake up in the morning, go to work, or complete basic and necessary tasks, and these can impact our overall well-being, our work situation, and relationships.
Depression can be fought against and won, but it will take some time and consideration to find what works for you. Continue reading to discover the best tips for managing depression.
Steps for Treating Depression
Before we dive into the self-help tips to combat depression, it’s important to recognize the actual steps that should be taken.
Step 1: If you think you have depression, the first step is to go to a doctor. Your private physician or mental health practitioner will want to sit with you and discuss your symptoms and how you are feeling. You may be able to obtain a diagnosis, which can direct your treatment and severity.
Step 2: You’ll want to find resources about depression. Each state in Australia should come with a set of resources available for every resident to access, and these resources should be free. Educate yourself on depression, what common symptoms are, and tips for coping. Sometimes education can help you to realize a symptom of depression that you didn’t know about.
Step 3: Next, you’ll want to research and work with your doctor to find the best treatment for depression. As everything will be uniquely subjective, you may have to try a few things or find a medication that works for you. Luckily, self-help tips are easy to implement or remove from a routine so they can be started at any time.
Step 4: Once you’ve identified a plan, you’ll want to commit to a regular treatment practice. This might include your doctor-prescribed medicine, therapy, self-help groups, and regular self-help regimen. Try to write it down or put it in a reminder app so that you give yourself a chance to complete it regularly.
Now that we’ve addressed these steps, we can move on to self-help tips for dealing with depression.
13 Tips to Self-Help Your Way Through Depression
Depression is like running a marathon, so you want to make sure you address it head-on and with a plan.
Here are some self-help tips you can implement to get through your depression:
Find A Self-Help Group Or Counselor
Finding a qualified self-help group, counsellor or therapist is a great start for battling your depression.
These groups are often voluntary and you may even find some groups online. With this type of support group, you share your feelings and experiences with others and then listen to the experiences of those in the group.
This mutual sharing can help you reflect on your own situation and give you a different perspective on your depression symptoms. It might give you new ideas for coping, treatment, or mental growth that you did not consider before.
Pray Or Find Spiritualism
Spiritualism is another way to find hope. Some people believe in praying or their own spiritual practice. Spiritualism does not always mean religion, either. It’s important to believe in something bigger than ourselves.
Take Mood-Boosting Supplements Like Inositol
There are non-prescription supplements that you can take for cognitive health and mood disorders. Before you dive in and take them all, you’ll want to do your research. Mood-boosting supplements target different mood stabilizers, and you’ll want to make sure that you are taking a healthy amount and that the supplement does not interact with other conditions.
One great mood-boosting supplement is inositol. This vitamin-like supplement, also referred to as vitamin B8 can improve cognitive health and mental health.
Studies have found a significant relationship between Inositol and other phospholipids and cognitive performance. Inositol is used broadly for cognitive improvement in the mental health field, and studies show that it is also effective for controlling mood in individuals with Down syndrome and in managing depressive episodes.
Meditate Or Do Yoga Daily
Harvard has found that a daily meditation or yoga practice manages the stressors and anxiety triggers that can lead to depression. Not only does yoga or meditation change the way that you think, but it also affects your brain biochemically, and it changes how your neurons fire and react to important daily stressors.
Therefore, after doing a daily meditation practice or yoga for a week or more, you may notice that your perspective around certain stressors has shifted. Maybe the annoying colleague at your work doesn’t seem as bothersome. Or you are finding that you are enjoying the time spent with your family rather than resenting it.
Practice Brain Training Activities
Brain training games improve our cognitive function. Consider brain training games online, in apps, and in booklets. Consider traditional games like crossword puzzles and sudoku or modern brain games. It might also help to sign up for an online course to continue your education and keep your brain active!
Read About Depression
Fighting against a mental illness can be difficult when you don’t understand what you’re fighting exactly. If you don’t understand what the symptoms look like, the mood swings, or how they might make you act, then you could spiral deeper into the illness and into self-loathing.
Reading about depression and how it can affect a person can improve your outlook on the illness. It can give you tools to fight it as well. Consider books, podcasts, and online articles about depression to better understand your illness.
Seek Better Social Support
Sometimes depression creeps up because you are feeling lonely. And this might actually be the case if you are stuck at home for certain reasons. Perhaps your work-from-home, are stuck at home due to the pandemic or don’t have any friends that you go out and see.
Having a social support group is critical in your fight against depression. Try to find one person who is like-minded and connect with them over coffee. You may be surprised at how you feel after that meeting.
Commit Time To A Craft Or Creative Endeavor
Being creative releases tension and helps you move past repetitive and challenging thoughts. Consider getting our a hobby like puzzles, crafting, knitting, or painting.
If you’re not crafty or creative, you can always get a kit from your local supply store and complete the project with friends. Remember – being creative is not about being good at creativity, it is about self-expression and letting your mind relax.
Stay Physically Active
Staying active helps your body regular its hormones and other mood-affecting biochemical interactions. You can do something as simple as go for a walk, do stretches, ride a recumbent bike indoors, or fly a kite.
Whatever it takes to get your body moving will work!
Practice Classic Self-care Once a Week
Massages, bubble baths, and me-time are tried-and-true self-care activities that can get you through a rut. Sometimes, slowing down and giving yourself the love it needs can help to get through a tough spell or address some of the things that are building up.
This is your sign to—yes—take that bubble bath and go ahead and get your nails done!
Consider Changing Life Stressors
Sometimes depression creeps up on us because life stressors are just out of control. If you have huge life stressors, then consider how they are affecting you. Some life stressors cannot be changed. Having a child, buying a home, or moving to a new area can be stressful. So try to think about what you can change in that situation.
Can you have a better outlook on it? Perhaps you need to slow down and only do what you need to do, like take care of the baby, rather than doing it all. It’s okay to slow down and take a break.
Consider Healthy Lifestyle Changes
A lot of managing depression has to do with healthy lifestyle changes:
- Eat a more balanced diet
- Drink lots of water
- Try to get good sleep
- Consider quitting addictive substances
These three things are really simple but really important. If you commit to these simple lifestyle changes, then you may find your mental functioning is better. It is not as difficult to make decisions to improve your life.
Understandably, these lifestyle changes can be difficult to do so don’t beat yourself up if they fall to the wayside.
Perform Daily Affirmations and Challenge Negative Thoughts
Daily affirmations are ways of complimenting yourself while allowing yourself to fail or simply exist. By practising daily affirmations, you are in a way also challenging negative thoughts and it can help you in times of mental strife.
Get a daily affirmations app and have it ping you every morning. You may be surprised at your outlook in a few weeks!
Signs of Clinical Depression: Symptoms to Watch For Symptoms of Depression. WebMD. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/detecting-depression.
Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements Used to Enhance Mood Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements Used to Enhance Mood. WebMD. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/herbs-vitamins-and-supplements-used-to-enhance-mood#1.
Inositol for Cognition Inositol for Cognitive Health. Inositol Australia. (2022). Retrieved from https://inositol.com.au/cognitive-health/inositol-for-cognition/.
How meditation helps with depression Harvard Health. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-meditation-helps-with-depression.