Everyone feels sad or low at times, but depression (also known as major depressive disorder) can feel all-consuming and hopeless.
If you are feeling down in the dumps for days on end, it might be time to seek help. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to feel better.
Talk to a Friend
Having a support network of loved ones and friends can be a tremendous help in the fight against depression. But deciding to talk to a friend about your symptoms can be intimidating. It’s natural to worry about how your friend will react, but remember that you are in control and should feel comfortable with the decision to share this information with them.
Ideally, you want your friend to be understanding and supportive of your mental health journey. This means avoiding comments like “Everything’s fine,” “It’s not your fault,” or “You’re just a sad person.” These statements ignore the painful thoughts, emotions, and physical effects that people with depression experience every day.
Instead, tell your friend how you’re feeling and let them know that you’re there to support them. Be sure to ask questions about their symptoms, feelings, and thoughts so you can better understand how they’re feeling.
When you’re talking to your friend, it’s important to be patient and listen carefully. Your friend may have a lot of things on their mind right now, and it’s normal for them to be irritable or upset during the conversation.
Keep in mind that depression isn’t a temporary illness, and it will take time for your friend to get better. Your friend might need to try different treatment methods, and it could be months before they see improvements.
If you’re unsure how to talk to your friend about depression, read our blog for more information. It’s also a good idea to educate yourself about depression, so you can be more informed and helpful when it comes to helping your friend. By learning about depression and how it affects different people, you can have a more open conversation with your friend, and encourage them to get the help they need.
Go for a Walk
One of the best ways to get your energy levels back up and prevent depression from coming on is to go for a walk. Research shows that walking can lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and improve mood in some people. It also helps prevent memory lapses and can even slow down the deterioration of your brain cells as you get older.
Taking a walk is something you can do at any time of day – and it’s an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. There are many different types of walks: nature trails, a stroll through the city center, a walk on the beach, or even a hike to a local reserve.
Try to make a habit of taking your walk at the same time every day, or at least once or twice a week. That way you don’t become tired of walking and can see something new each time.
If you are feeling depressed, it can be a real challenge to find the motivation to exercise. You may have to force yourself out of bed and shuffle around the house in order to get moving.
However, if you start off with a short 15-minute walk, it will soon help clear your mind and boost your energy level. As you feel more comfortable with exercising, you can add a longer walk, or break into a run or cycle ride.
If you think you are depressed, don’t be afraid to ask for support from your friends and family. They’ll be more than happy to offer you their time and assistance. It’s also important to let them know you’re feeling depressed so that they can understand what you are going through.
Take a Bath
Taking a bath is something that many people do for relaxation, but it’s also an effective self-care tool for those who are feeling depressed. Adding some essential oils, bubbles, or bath salts will help make your bath an even more enjoyable experience, and it’s a great way to indulge in some self-care.
A new study from the University of Freiburg in Germany found that taking a daily bath can have more positive effects on depression than exercise. Specifically, the participants in this study scored six points lower on a common depression scale after eight weeks of treatment than those who didn’t take daily baths.
This study builds on existing evidence that body temperature can influence our circadian rhythms, which in turn can influence our moods. Warm baths have also been shown to aid sleep by dilating blood vessels in the skin and helping our bodies dump excess heat.
However, if you’re worried that a hot bath will dry out your skin, it’s a good idea to start with lukewarm water and then work your way up to a nice, cozy temperature. The temperature of your bathtub is especially important if you’re taking a bath before bed, as it can affect how well you fall asleep.
It’s also a good idea to keep your bathroom clean since this can help prevent the spread of germs. Using mouthwash, sugar-free chewing gum, and tea tree oil toothpicks are all ways to keep your oral hygiene in check.
Listen to Music
Listening to music has been shown to be helpful for many mental health conditions. It can reduce stress, improve focus, and even help with pain management. There are also plenty of different types of music to choose from.
When you’re feeling depressed, it can be a great idea to listen to some upbeat music. This can help lift your spirits and give you a reason to get out of bed.
If you have trouble finding songs that are upbeat and positive, try listening to classical music or meditation music instead. These types of music are known for their mood-boosting effects, so they’re worth trying.
Another way to listen to music is to get in the zone while you’re studying, meditating, or creating something. Listening to music when you’re intently focused will help your brain concentrate better, which can be a huge benefit for people who are having trouble with their memory or thinking fast.
While you’re listening to music, make sure to pay attention to the way the instruments sound. Are they bouncy and bright, or somber and thoughtful?
This will help you understand the song better and allow you to develop a mental map of it. In addition to the melody, listen for the underlying tone of each instrument and how they come together.
Then, listen to the last part of the song and notice how it changes. Does it repeat, or is there new material near the end?
Listening to sad music can be helpful for some people, but it may not work well for others. If you’re experiencing a sad time, it’s important to talk to someone about your feelings and find a way to deal with them.
Taking medication is a common way to treat depression. It can help you to get better faster by easing the symptoms of depression. Medications can also be used in conjunction with other treatments to help you manage your illness.
Generally, medications are prescribed to help modify brain chemistry, which may be part of the reason why you’re depressed. They are not sedatives, “uppers” or tranquilizers and are usually taken as prescribed by your doctor.
Antidepressants work by changing the way chemicals are produced in the brain. Some types of antidepressants are more effective than others for different people. They can also be used in combination with psychotherapy (talking treatment).
In addition to medications, a number of non-conventional therapies have been shown to help with depression. Some of these are called alternative or complementary medicine and can be helpful if combined with other treatments. However, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of these therapies with your doctor before you start them.
A lot of people who have depressive symptoms take a combination of medications and therapy. This is called a multi-disciplinary approach.
If you have depressive symptoms, you should talk to your doctor immediately. Your doctor may want to do some testing to rule out other health conditions.
Your doctor might also refer you to a psychologist, social worker, counselor, or psychiatrist. These professionals can be accessed through Medicare, and you can get a rebate for seeing them.
You might be able to try some of these things yourself, but it’s important to remember that depression is an illness that requires medical and mental health care. If you have symptoms that are getting worse, or if your symptoms interfere with your life and relationships, see your doctor right away.