Depression is a common mental illness that can affect people at any time in their lives. It causes feelings of sadness and hopelessness, as well as changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, and concentration.
We often make the mistake of not paying enough attention to depression, mostly due to the stigma regarding mental health. But in reality, it is a very serious health issue. WHO reports that around 5% of the global adult population suffers from depression with varying degrees of severity.
How would you know if you have depression or are just feeling bummed out? Despite being used interchangeably, these two things are far apart from each other. Being bummed out or feeling sad is a temporary state of mind, whereas being depressed is a mental health issue.
Some common symptoms of depression are:
- The feeling of sadness or hopelessness lasts for days or occurs very frequently.
- Loss of interest in things that previously used to interest you.
- Feeling of worthlessness or guilt. Fixating over the past.
- Backpain or headache.
- Not wanting to socialize or get involved in activities.
There are also many other symptoms of depression that are visible. It depends mostly on the individual.
But depression is treatable, and the best way to do it is to seek help from a trained therapist. However, there are also some other ways you can follow to treat your depression at home.
Lead A Healthy Life
Leading a healthy life refers to exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep.
We often forget that the mind is a part of the body. Therefore maintaining a healthy body is essential to maintaining a healthy mind.
Let’s start with exercise. Exercising produces dopamine, serotonin, and other feel-good hormones. In the short term, it can be almost as helpful as taking mild antidepressants.
To make sure you are getting enough exercise, work out 30-45 minutes 3-5 times a week. Make sure you are getting enough rest too. Sleep 7-9 hours every night to stay fresh.
When it comes to food, the principle is very simple. On the one hand, eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and some dairy, and on the other, cut off processed and junk food as much as possible. You can learn how to make your healthy dinners taste good by following one of the many youtube chefs. You don’t have to completely swear off the food that brings you joy but make sure you maintain a healthy balance.
Yoga is an ancient practice that has been shown to help people manage pain, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality and even lower blood pressure.
The soothing effects of Yoga can help you relax, unwind and feel better about yourself. Research conducted by The University of Westminster proved conclusively that practicing Yoga can help alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Other than helping with your mental health, Yoga can help you build your physical fitness and improve your flexibility. It is much more difficult than it looks, so make sure you don’t dive in head first. Start slow and then slowly build from it.
Know When To Seek Help
Now, this will probably seem odd because seeking professional help is the exact opposite of treating yourself at home. But if you want to treat yourself, you need to have a good idea of when things are getting out of your hand.
The National Library of Medicine notes that 60% of people suffering from depression do not reach out for help. It is mostly because they fear admitting they have depression will interrupt their personal and professional lives.
This stigma arises from ignorance that we all need to combat. But in the meantime, not seeking treatment when required can cause the issue to become more severe and, in many cases, result in death by suicide.
Kelly Haskins, a Florida mom, has been actively advocating for the widescale funding of the suicide and crisis hotline 988 ever since the death of his 18-year-old son Hunter Haskins. Hunter died by suicide, but his family had never noticed any signs of his suicidal tendencies.
NAMI reports that 64.2% of adolescent children in Florida who suffer from depression did not receive any treatment in 2020. This is, of course, a serious problem that needs to be addressed. If you want to find a therapist in Florida, you can start by seeking help from one of the many online platforms that will pair you up with a local therapist based on your needs.
You can also go through your health plan’s website to see if you can find a good therapist who is covered by your insurance. If you can’t afford one, you can seek help from your regular physician or see if your nearby mental health training institutes provide any free or low-cost services.
Lead An Active Social Life
It is important to remember the social aspect of life because depression often causes people to withdraw from their surroundings. But no matter how down you feel, make sure you go out regularly and spend time with the people you love. These people can make you feel appreciated and valued (just like you deserve, even if you don’t feel it) and provide you with a daily dose of happiness.
You can also create a routine for yourself and try to follow it as closely as possible. Set small daily goals which you can follow mechanically, even on the days when you don’t feel like doing anything.
Get involved with your surroundings and take up responsibility even when you don’t feel like it. This will force you to be social and keep you busy, so you can’t fixate on your thoughts too much. And the sense of accomplishment that you get from completing tasks will, in fact, help you keep moving forward.
Expose Yourself To Nature
We all know from our own experiences that going out into nature and leaving the city life behind us can greatly lift our mood. But this is not simply because of the ‘vacation high.’ Turns out that human brains are hardwired to find solace in nature.
The American Psychological Association notes that a massive study conducted in Denmark, with 900,000 test subjects, demonstrated that people who grew up in areas with the lowest levels of greenery have a 55% higher chance of developing a mental health disorder compared to people who grew up with an abundance of green space.
Even if you can’t go out into nature, you can spend time watching nature videos on a screen. It has not been clearly established as of yet why nature soothes our senses so much. It probably has something to do with nature making us feel part of a planetwide ecosystem. We simply feel less alone when we are in nature, and that can help us cope with our depression.
If you’re looking for a holistic approach to managing your depression, these tips are a great place to start. But remember that not every treatment works for everyone. That is why it is important to seek help from a qualified professional if the need arises. Do not get demotivated if you don’t see immediate results. The fight against depression takes time, but it is a fight that is certainly winnable.