Self-help tips for mitigating mid-range Depression
Depression is a mood disorder that can significantly impact a person’s daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. Mid-range depression refers to a type of depression that falls between mild and severe levels. While getting professional medical help for depression is sometimes needed, especially if the condition is severe, there are also many non-medical solutions a person can take on their own to reduce symptoms of depression. Fortunately, there are several self-help tips and strategies that individuals can use to manage mid-range depression. These tips include:
Exercise: Exercise reduces stress that may underly anxiety. Exercise helps because it increases endorphin brain chemicals. Even short periods of mild exercise can improve mood. Start by developing an exercise routine to be physically active most days of the week. Start slow and build up over time. Consistency is key.
Challenging Negative Thoughts: When depressed, people often have negative thoughts involving failure and social rejection. These negative thoughts can become a habit, making matters worse. Don’t just accept negative thoughts as reality. Practice positive thinking by challenging negative thoughts with positive alternatives.
Pay attention to your diet: Depressed people often tend to eat poorly. Sugar, salt, and high-fat foods can provide a feeling of comfort, but these foods cause spikes in blood sugar and weight gain, bringing on bad mental states. Fresh fruit, salads, lean meat, fish, and whole-grain bread are all good options, Avoid “fast” and sugar-heavy foods. Check the sugar content on the labels.
Get good sleep – Sleeping problems are very common and the brain needs sleep to process the day’s new information. Seven or more hours of sleep and consistent sleep/wakeup times are best. Don’t use any device with a screen in the bedroom and don’t eat anything or consume any caffeine within an hour of going to bed. The bedroom should be dark, quiet and cool. See sleep aids at https://ymihealth.ca/products.
Keep hydrated: Adequate daily water intake assists in removing toxins, improves organ function, and can support clear thinking. Many people drink soft drinks, caffeinated beverages, and alcoholic drinks thinking that these beverages add water to the system when they actually cause the body to lose water, even to the point of dehydration. Adults should drink about 2-3 litres (or quarts) of liquid a day beyond what they get from food to help the body functuion properly and help reduce feelings of depression.
Start a Routine: Some depressed people don’t have a routine and having a routine structure can help reduce the symptoms of depression. A new routine can be as simple as getting up and dressed in the morning instead of lounging around in pajamas. Listen to music, read a book – just do something that requires the use of your brain and body. New habits and routines increases dopamine levels, which can improve your state of mind.
Change your Routine: Depressed people often get into a routine that enables symptoms of depression – a “rut”. For example, get up, go to work, come home, watch TV and binge before going to bed. Break the routine by interrupting it with short walks and exercises, healthy snacks and reading. Changing routines can help the efficiency of dopamine, an brain chemical linked to feelings of happiness. Even small routine changes can have a positive effect.
Laugh: Remember things that made you laugh and search out more of the same. Laughing with others is a strong initiator for increasing “feel good” chemicals in the brain. Get out and laugh.
Pay it forward: Helping someone else is actually helping yourself. Calling a friend to see how they’re doing, volunteering, helping a neighbor, or adopting a pet may all help. Helping others raises our self-esteem, and distracts us from our own troubles – and any relief from negative feelings can benefit our mood.
By implementing these self-help tips and strategies, individuals with mid-range depression can take control of their symptoms and act to improve their overall well-being. It is important to remember that everyone experiences depression differently, and what works for one person may not work for another. It may take some trial and error to find the strategies that work best for you. Start now.
Self-help tips do not supercede professional advice.