Depression is one of the most common mental health issues that people of all walks of life fight. There are several types of depression, each vary in their severity and level of distress they may cause. If you believe you are suffering from depression, you may want to get in touch with a therapist to help you decide how you will move through it. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you deal with the symptoms of depression without the use of medications.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms that you may feel will likely be very different than how another experiences depression. However, here are the most common symptoms.
• Irritable Mood
• Sleep Disturbances
• Lack of Motivation
• Decreased Energy
• Lack of Concentration
• Changes in Appetite
• Increased Anxiety
• Suicidal Thoughts or Feelings
Please note that not everyone will experience all of the above symptoms and the levels will vary greatly. For example, a Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis requires that someone experiences five or more of the above symptoms in some form every day (or most days) for two or more weeks.
It is important to understand the symptoms in order to learn how best to deal with them.
Ways to Deal With Depression (Without Medication)
Dealing with depression does not always require the use of prescription medications. Below are a few things that you can do to alleviate many of the most common symptoms of depression. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone.
Talk to Someone
One of the most important things to do when fighting depression is to talk to someone. Talking to friends, family members, or even a therapist may help you more than you realize. Talking through your feelings and how your depression may be influencing the rest of your life is a great way to self-analyze and help to find ways to deal with specific issues.
Learn Your Triggers
When depression hits, there are often specific events or situations that may trigger the symptoms of depression. Many of the symptoms involve feelings of being overwhelmed and can spiral quickly. Each person may have unique triggers that can make their symptoms worse. Learning to recognize your individual triggers and deal with them will keep them from becoming out of control.
By far the best way to deal with the symptoms of depression is to learn coping skills that help to deal with your personal symptoms. Coping skills come in all types and can be very individualized to fight your situation. When you find coping skills that work for you, practice them often to help decrease your depression and potentially ward off any future depressive episodes. Here are just a few of the coping skills that you may find helpful.
Focus on the Little Things
Sometimes the little things in life can help us to slow down and focus on the present. When depression is especially intense, focusing on the smallest actions can help move you forward when your depression is trying to bog you down. Even if you can only focus on the next 5 minutes, you will eventually find that you can expand your focus.
Setting goals, especially small, easily achievable goals are extremely important. Goals will also help you to remain focused on the present and help fight many depression symptoms.
One of the most common issues when battling depression is lack of motivation to do, really anything. Making a conscious effort to stay active will help to fend off many of these types of issues. Making a list of things to get done each day and working through them one at a time helps to stay on task and get things done. However, do not expect too much of yourself and be conscious of anything that may increase your symptoms.
Exercise is one of those things that many people may love or hate. However, regular exercise, even just simply walking can help produce positive effects in the body. When motivation is low, just getting outside and walking for 10 minutes can help.
Balance Your Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is very important. You will also want to avoid oversleeping as well. Depression often causes a desire to sleep all the time. On the other hand, insomnia is often an issue.
Write in a Journal
Journaling in some way is a great way to work through thoughts and feelings that you may not feel comfortable talking about. You can use either pen and paper or digital journaling options. There are also several apps available for journaling or even recording your thoughts. You might be surprised at how your thoughts contribute to the spiral of depression yet not know how to get out of the cycle.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can help to ward off many of the issues that show up with depression. Avoiding heavy starches and processed sugars and focus on eating healthy fruits and vegetables. When we are depressed we often crave carbs and sugars to help increase our serotonin (neurotransmitters in our brains) but too much of it can increase depressive feelings.
Depression does not have to mean that your life has to change drastically. Making these small changes and practicing them daily will help you to fight the symptoms of depression without medication. However, if you use these suggestions and still find that you cannot control your symptoms, reaching out for assistance may be necessary. It is often difficult to “get out of feeling depressed” when depressed. We can often beat ourselves up because “what do we have to be depressed about?” Please reach out for help if these tips don’t help. Working with a therapist can often be just as effective as medication.