How to Fight Depression – 15 Coping Strategies to Try
If you are battling depression, it can drain you of your energy, and you may struggle to keep a positive outlook in life. Depression can make you feel hollow on the inside as this mental state can take a toll on your overall health and well-being, too. Seeking professional help and medication will surely help you overcome this state; however, there are many strategies that you can try on your own to deal with this situation. If you wish to learn more about this, take a look at some of our suggestions.
How to Deal with Depression?
You may feel blue and helpless; believe us, you’re not alone. Cases of depression are on the rise due to a multitude of factors. However, what holds importance is that you bounce back from this state at the earliest, either by nipping it in the bud yourself or by seeking help. Do not be ashamed that you need help for your mental health; it’s just as important as your physical health. If you are thinking about how to fight depression alone or how to deal with depression without medication, well, here are some tips that may help you effectively deal with depression:
1. Make a Routine and Stick to It
Depression can make your life haphazard and aimless. You may feel lost and directionless. Getting in a routine may help in providing some direction and structure to your life. You may find it difficult to follow it at first, but as the days keep passing by, you may notice that it becomes your habit and before you know it, you may find yourself back on track.
2. Get Ample Rest and Sleep
It is important that you are well rested. It is difficult for people dealing with depression to get some peaceful sleep. However, lack of sleep or rest can take a toll on your mental health and make it worse. However, you can make efforts to snooze well by following some lifestyle changes such as not taking naps during the day, going to bed and waking up early, removing any kinds of distractions from your room, etc., which may help you sleep better.
3. Eat a Good Diet
Depression can squeeze out your energy by making you feel emotionally and physically exhausted. Eating the wrong kind of foods, like fatty or oily foods can make you feel worse. Some people may find solace in food and thus, pile on calories as if there is no tomorrow. Although there is no sure-shot diet to fight depression, including more fresh fruits, green vegetables, and other healthy foods in your diet may help you feel better and may energise you from within. Foods that are rich in folic acid and Omega-3 fatty acids may also help in reducing the intensity of your depression.
You may struggle to even get out of your bed, so we’re sure this suggestion may seem almost ridiculous. Well, exercising is one of the best ways to feel good about yourself and better your mood. When you exercise regularly, your body releases endorphins, also known as ‘feel-good’ hormones. Exercising at least thrice a week makes your body produce ample amounts of endorphins, and thus, your spirits will rise! Also, this certainly does not mean that you need to slog to get your endorphins kicking; just brisk walking or jogging 3 to 4 times a week can be enough too.
5. Smile More
Whenever you smile, your serotonin levels become higher than usual, making you feel good and happy about yourself. It’s no wonder that laughter is called the best medicine. When you feel happy, your body feels good too. Now the question is how to smile and feel happy in such a state. Well, you must do the things that make you happy, such as going on a lunch date with your friends, joining a dance class, playing with your kids, etc. Little by little, these things will make you feel better.
6. Focus on Positive Things
It is easier said than done because whether we’re suffering from depression or not, most of us like to focus on the things that we do not have, and we are seldom paying heed to what life has bestowed upon us. Instead, you should focus on all the good things life can give you and count your blessings. When you are burdened with depression, looking for the small positive aspects of your life may help you feel good about yourself.
7. Acknowledge Pain or Sorrow
A major setback at work, losing a loved one, financial troubles or other such situations are bound to make anyone feel heartbroken or lonely, and some people may slip into depression too, if they’re unable to handle the pain. If you are going through such a phase, it is essential to make peace with it. This doesn’t mean that you shun your feelings or emotions and completely push them to the back of your mind, because it is normal to feel sad. You should embrace your emotions rather than shying away from them. Doing so may help you get closure, and you may get over them more easily.
8. Spend More Time with Loved Ones
Spending time in the company of your family and friends is like therapy. Depression can make you lonely, and you may shy away from people. However, it is important to remember that people who love you and care for you are your support systems. You should not let any negative feelings seep in when it comes to them, but instead, spend more time interacting with your family and friends. If your fears grope you, talk to your near and dear ones about them.
9. Practice Meditation
If you feel too stressed or anxious, it may aggravate your depression. Practising meditation is a great way of keeping stress and anxiety at bay and keeping your mind calm and relaxed. If you are battling with depression during pregnancy or postpartum depression, well, mediation is a great way of calming down and reminding yourself to live more in the present.
10. Refrain from Consuming Alcohol
Sometimes, depression may lead to you taking refuge in alcohol because it may help you forget your emotions and fears for some time. But forgetting about your problems is not a solution; rather, turning to alcohol to solve your problems is plainly inviting an addiction. To forget about your problems, you consume more and more alcohol, which is even worse. Therefore, if you are battling with this mental state, staying away from alcohol is highly recommended.
11. Challenge Your Thoughts
People experiencing depression may shy away from their fears and opt for all sorts of ways to keep their fears at bay. Running away from your inner demons is not the right approach. Instead, you should face them head-on. The best ways to deal with your negative emotions or thoughts is by challenging them. So, the next time you feel that you are a good-for-nothing person, think logically and tell yourself that these thoughts are baseless and are not true at all.
12. Fulfil Your Duties and Responsibilities
You may find yourself feeling deeply morose, and you may not want to do anything. You may not do your day to day chores, you may not take care of your house, you may neglect your work etc., and in short, you may shy away from your duties and responsibilities. We understand that you may lack the urge to do anything. However, you need to push yourself. You can start by taking baby steps in the right direction; for example, instead of your full-time job which will demand a lot of your energy, you could look for a part-time job to keep you occupied for a while but still gives you the time to rest during the day. Set yourself little goals that you can tick off your list every day.
13. Try Something New
Day-to-day activities may bring in monotony, and you may not want to do anything. However, doing something that you have never done before can ignite a lost spark. Enrol yourself for a Zumba class, go on a hiking trip, join a cooking workshop; the options are endless! There are many such activities that you can try out to push yourself!
14. Reward Your Efforts
Self-motivation is very important as it keeps your spirits high. The greatest way to keep yourself motivated is by rewarding your own efforts. Who says you cannot pat your own back? Yes, you can! If you have joined a new dance class and you have been regularly going there, it certainly calls for a celebration. You don’t have to throw a party to celebrate yourself. Even something as small as realising the fact that you are making progress may help a great deal.
15. Find Solace in Nature
How often do we go outdoors? We all may struggle in answering this question because most of us spend our entire day indoors only. However, getting out of your house and spending time in the midst of nature is important, especially if you are fighting depression. Spending time out in the sun helps you feel less stressed and anxious because your body releases endorphins when you bask in the sun. These hormones will make you feel happier and better.
All the tips mentioned above are extremely safe, and you can try them without even thinking twice. We hope you incorporate these lifestyle changes and feel better. However, lifestyle changes alone may not be sufficient enough to help you come out of this mental state. You must seek the help of a therapist and take medication, if necessary, to get better.