Depression is very common and affects about 5% of people worldwide. If you feel that you struggle with depression, several steps can be taken to heal and help you through those difficult days. Here are eight steps to dealing with depression.
1. Build Community
Loneliness is a huge problem in modern society. Since the pandemic, more people have stayed home and away from their families and friends. When loneliness is left unchecked, it often turns into depression and feelings of hopelessness.
If depression is keeping you indoors, building a community feels like a daunting task. A good place to start is in online communities. Online support groups are a great way of finding others who care and share in your struggles and victories. You can also look for groups of people with similar interests and/or beliefs.
Being in a community with others brings you a sense of belonging and a purpose. You are a unique individual and can contribute to a group. While dealing with depression makes one feel like they lack each of these things, belonging to a group of like-minded people does so much for healing your mental health.
2. Gentle Movement
Sometimes depression keeps you bed-bound and physical activity seems like the last thing you want to participate in. However, exercise is found to be an effective treatment for depression and also in preventing depressive episodes.
If you struggle to incorporate exercise into your day, try thinking of gentle movement instead of a cardio workout at the gym. Start by gently stretching your body in the sun’s warm rays, or try taking a short walk in nature. Regular exercise helps boost your mood and energy levels. Remember to start small and that even a few minutes of gentle movement can benefit your mental health.
3. Time in Nature
Along with gentle movement, spending time in nature can be extremely beneficial. Spending time outdoors among the trees and blue skies, along with reduced screen time, is proven to help people with depression. When you get outside, it helps you feel good and improves your mood. Consider spreading a blanket on the grass or taking a walk through your local park.
Sunlight is another reason to try to get outside. Spending time in the sun helps your body get Vitamin D and is thought to release the hormone serotonin. Serotonin helps improve your mood and even boost your productivity. It also helps you feel calmer and allows you to focus.
4. “Capturing” Negative Thoughts
Depression often triggers negative thoughts. These thoughts are often directed at oneself and often become an unconscious part of your thinking. However, these thoughts are often untrue and need to be challenged.
One way to do this is by capturing your negative thoughts and turning them around. For example, if you are upset that you were unable to get much done, you might have an inner dialogue accusing you of all the tasks you should have accomplished that day. Instead, focus on the small things you were able to do, even if it was as small as washing a plate or picking up some clothing off your floor.
5. Relaxing Activities
Many times depression prevents you from participating in activities you once loved. However, these activities may actually be quite beneficial to your mental health. Consider participating in some of the following activities:
- Breathing exercises
- Listen to or play music
- Look at art, whether on your phone or at a museum
- Write down something you are thankful for
- Read a book or poetry
- Light a candle and enjoy a warm beverage
- Spend time with a trusted friend or family member
- Play with a pet (or borrow a friend’s!)
6. Eating Nourishing Foods
Poor eating and depression often intermingle. Processed foods are easy to prepare and eat but can make your body and mind not feel their best. Try finding foods that taste good but also work to nourish your body. Homemade soup, salad, whole wheat bread, lean meats, and fresh fruit will all help to heal your body from the inside out.
If you struggle to prepare food for yourself, see if a trusted family member or friend can help you prepare some healthful foods to keep in your freezer. This way, you can easily have a meal when you feel unable to cook.
7. Goal Setting
Goal setting may help push you in the direction of healing. If you consider setting goals, starting small is a good idea. Make a list the night before and include simple tasks like getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, and a daily chore. If you feel up to it, try adding one of the previous steps to your goal list, such as making one healthy meal or taking fifteen minutes to participate in a relaxing activity.
8. Talking With a Medical Professional
Dealing with depression on your own is difficult, but talking to a medical professional can help you get on the road to healing. Primary care doctors will often assess you and determine if you would benefit from seeing a professional counselor.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, consider reaching out to UBERDOC for help. UBERDOC allows you to get the care you need in an easy and affordable way. We offer both in-person and telemedicine appointments. So, if you are having trouble getting outside of your house, you can have your appointment in the safety and comfort of your home. Contact us today to find out more about how UBERDOC can help you!