Holistic Advice for Dealing with Depression
Sarah Steckler has a candid conversation with Just Stay Curious about a time in her life when she was struggling from depression. She describes how she was longing for things to be different. “It was the moment that I realized how serious depression is, and how debilitating it can be. I remember just wishing that I could just get my life back. And just wishing that I would want to eat, and want to enjoy food and want to go outside and want to stop hiding.” These feelings are not uncommon. Particularly when you are in the midst of depression, changing the way you feel, or changing what you do to change the way you feel, can be overwhelming. There are a number of steps you can take to start to crawl out of the hole that is depression.
Seek Medical Help
As a starting point, seek medical help to assist you in dealing with your depression. When you are depressed, your brain is being washed with chemicals that are dictating your mood. Your physician can prescribe medication to combat these chemicals. Unfortunately, there is no pill that will quickly fix your mood. These medications take weeks, sometimes even months, before the user feels their full effect. This information alone can make the situation feel helpless. However, most medications start having some identifiable effect within a week or two. It won’t be a complete fix, but smaller wishes, such as wanting to eat, or enjoying food, can start to come back within weeks.
Of course, if you are feeling so depressed that you are contemplating hurting yourself or someone else, you should immediately seek emergency help. This is an excellent use of the resource 911.
Stay Connected to People Who Love You
Depression has been stigmatized for far too long. Just as Sarah did, it is essential that you let trusted loved ones know you are going through a difficult time. Armed with this knowledge, they can lend a hand. Spending time talking with friends, doing activities with friends (even though you don’t feel like it), and walking with friends can help lift the depression.
Connect with a Pet
The simple fact is, pets bring joy to people. They are also a loyal companion. Studies have shown that dogs are a mood booster. If you cannot have a dog in your home, consider making a date with a friend to walk dogs at the Humane Society or other pet shelter.
When you are depressed, the last thing you may want to do is exercise. Research shows, however, that you will feel better with regular exercise. It doesn’t have to be two hours at the gym. Instead, try for two 15 minute walks a day. This has the added benefit of getting out of the house and into the sunshine.
Get into the Sunshine Every Day
Sunlight boosts serotonin levels – the “feel good” hormones in your brain. Try to expose yourself to sunlight every single day. If you live in a part of the country that doesn’t have sunlight in some months, consider a light therapy box.
Demand that You Be True To Yourself
When you are depressed, your brain tells you some pretty negative things. Sarah described in her interview how she would challenge these thoughts as they came. Thinking negative self thoughts, such as, “I’m no good at anything,” are normal when you are depressed. By challenging that thought, “Really? Not good at anything? That’s not true! I am a fabulous cook. I am a good friend. I can knit a sweater!” you contribute to reversing the negativity. Replacing that thought with a positive one also contributes to your mood.
Take a Class on Depression
The Australian government has put together a resource on coping with depression. It is free to anyone and can be found here. Taking this class can be an additional way to discover strategies and exercises to help you manage your mood.
Loving Yourself in Times of Depression
It can be particularly difficult to exercise self love and self care during a time of depression. However, this is when you need self love the most. Even taking one step towards a better mindset each day can help you in your present situation.
This article contains general information from several sources regarding a potential medical condition and potential treatments. This information is not an alternative to medical advice from a doctor or another professional health care provider.