Depressed? Some simple tactics to help
In counselling clients with depression what usually stands out is the way their life seems to have been frozen in time. Hobbies and activities they used to enjoy they have stopped doing. Doing very ordinary things, like getting up, taking a shower/bath, communicating with others seems to be very difficult. It seems like a dark cloud has descended on them and they are unable to shrug it off.
I am writing this article to give more information on depression and to give some simple tactics to help you lift the cloud off and start to live your life again.
There is a difference between being sad and being depressed.
- When you are sad feelings often come in waves, both high and low intermixed with positive feelings. In depression, the mood, interests and pleasures of a person are decreased consistently for a longer duration of time, at least two weeks.
- When sad, we try to overcome this by indulging in activities like watching tv, going out, meeting people. Depression colours all aspects of life, making everything around us negative. The preference is to stay in our room and confine our lives to a certain limit.
- When sad you might feel upset or feel bad, but at some point in time you will overcome the feeling of worthlessness or guilt. One of the most distinctive features of depression is that your thoughts often become incredibly self punishing; it is difficult to see yourself as anything except rotten, bad, worthless and to blame for everything.
A common myth for helping somebody who you think may have depression is the help cheer them up. The best thing is to encourage them to see a doctor or counsellor. Just trying to lift a depressed person spirits may just make them feel misunderstood. Share your support and offer hope they they will feel better with treatment and time.
So, what can you do to help yourself or somebody who is suffering?
- Adopting a healthier lifestyle. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee,tea and energy drinks pep you up temporarily, but they may worsen depression. Caffeine reduces serotonin levels in the body. Reduce your intake gradually on these. Limit sugary foods. Drink plenty of fluids. Take some exercise- the simplest exercise is to go for a walk. Exercise releases happy-making endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body.
- Maintain a routine. Depression feels like all days melt into each other. Adhering to a routine can help you get back on track, accomplish things that need to be done, and push you out of your depression cocoon. When counselling clients we usually work on a daily activities list to see what things are going on in a day, then we look at ways to increase activities and reduce activities which are aiding the depression. It may feel like you have no energy to complete anything, but give it a go and check how you are feeling after an activity.
- Good sleeping habits. Poor sleep has an effect on mood. Establish a regular routine for when you get up and when you go to bed and stick to it- no matter how hard it might be at the outset. Keep naps brief or skip them all together. Try to make your bedroom a calming place- and get rid of distractions like TV, phone, laptop, etc.
- Laugh more. Studies have shown that laughter really does make you feel better. Watch funny video or watch comedy on TV or the internet.
- Talk it out. Expressing your feelings is an important and effective way to ooze out any form of negativity from your body and mind. Find a friend or a counsellor with whom you can work through your feelings.
I hope this article has helped you and/or enabled you to help somebody else.
Depression can have its roots very deep into the past or childhood. Having a qualified professional to help you through this may be what you need.
Don’t let depression freeze your life any longer! Make contact with me now to see how I can help you.