Where you live and work affects how you feel. Being depressed saps your energy, but keep things tidied up anyway. Don’t wake up to face yesterday’s messes! Deliberately make things pleasant – a few flowers, a sweet-scented candle, soft but cheerful music, colorful pictures. And stay connected with supportive friends.
Your diet affects your feelings even more when you are depressed. You crave sweets, or you don’t feel like eating. Fixing balanced meals? Impossible! It’s much easier to snack. Then snack on the depression fighters: fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and protein foods. Plan simple meals, if you cook, make a double batch and save some for later.
Exercise releases endorphins those brain chemicals that make you feel good. Endorphins are a gift from God; they reward you when you do things that are good for you, such as exercising, nursing your baby, or accomplishing a meaningful task. Exercise is especially important during depression. Besides releasing endorphins and improving general health, it helps regulate your appetite and your sleep patterns.
Creative hobbies are another way to relieve depression. You won’t feel like doing much, but if you join a friend. It’s easier to get started. Watching TV may seem to feel good, but it pulls you down. If you do watch TV, make it a comedy and watch with someone else.
Several psychological treatments are proven to improve symptoms and prevent relapse, even in severe cases. The better the therapist, the better the treatments work. Cognitive therapy helps you change the way you think about what happens to you. Simply said, it puts you in charge of your thoughts in order to improve your feelings. Cognitive therapy may include scheduling fun activities, learning social skills to deal with difficult people, or practicing active stress management.
In some cases traditional “insight-oriented”, therapy may help you figure out what’s really bothering you so you can decide what to do about it.
Medication can help restore balance to your brain’s chemistry. It works better when prescribed by a psychiatrist rather than an internist or family practice doctor. Psychiatrists are more familiar with the best ways to use these medicines. It’s a tricky business to detect side effects that may resemble the illness, of knowing when to change doses versus when to change medicines, and especially to know whether other forms of treatment are needed to complete the cure.
Some herbal medicines help depression, but please use these only under your doctor’s direction. There is a potential for harmful side effects, or interactions with food or medicines. Even though they’re sold over the counter, they can cause you serious harm.
Depression is a treatable illness, but it’s not a do-it-yourself project. Get help. You deserve to feel better!