Eight Strategies To Help Depression Symptoms

Eight+Strategies+To+Help+Depression+Symptoms

Qayden Stephens, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has ruined the lives of many. Ever since its initial outbreak, countries have seen their communities shut down, and everyone’s lives have been severely limited. Businesses have closed, economies have suffered, and here in the U.S, mental health has plummeted.

 

The pandemic has taken its toll on every aspect of U.S society, but the most notable damage is observed in increased rates of depression throughout the country. According to a study conducted by Boston University, the rate of depression among adults has tripled, rising from 8.8% to 27.8%. Furthermore, in a national poll conducted by C.S Mott Children’s Hospital, nearly half of participating parents reported issues in their child’s mental health. You may be experiencing depression, and there is no shame in admitting that. The next step is to figure out how to fight it. Here are eight strategies that can help you rebuild your mental health. 

 

Seek help from others

It is important that you should talk to people you are close with about these issues, even talking to an online friend or someone you are familiar with can be helpful. It is always okay to talk about the way you feel about any situation. Given the overall rise in depression it is likely that someone you know may be experiencing the same struggles, and they may empathize with you if you talk to them. 

 

Get enough sleep every day

In a scientific article written by Susan L. Worley and published on Pubmed Central, it is stated that people who sleep enough are more likely to experience less stress and function better than those who don’t. But how much sleep do you actually need? Seven hours is typically all that is required for adults, with eight to nine hours being adequate for teenagers. 

You should always get enough rest. Not having enough energy due to lack of sleep creates the prime conditions for depression to flourish. So it is important that you prioritize staying energized in a healthy manner. 

 

Practice good nutrition 

Another important aspect of health (which is just as important as sleeping) is your nutritional intake. Eating three meals a day and drinking plenty of water is great for your health! You don’t need to make complex meal plans, just make sure that you eat something in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Even if it’s just a few eggs or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it’s important to get something in your stomach. 

If you want to take things even further you can take vitamin supplements as well. There are quite a few brands, some of the most common are Nature Made and Kirkland. Both these brands sell a variety of vitamins, which makes them good places to start looking for supplements you may benefit from. Although, because there are many companies offering different supplements, it’s important to do your research in order to find out exactly what you need.

 

Stay hygienic and clean 

Showering once a day and keeping yourself relatively clean will help to keep you from getting overwhelmed. Even small things like clipping your nails or making your bed can help in the long run. As a matter of fact, if you are in a clean environment, you are much more likely to feel comfortable. 

But even if your living space is clean, sitting around the house all day can do more harm than good, Which is why it is important to do some physical activities

 

Exercise Regularly

The benefits of exercise are often played out as cliches in most forms of media. People will think that the only reason to exercise is to lose weight, but it has other upsides to it that are often overlooked. For example, increased endurance, this makes daily tasks far easier and you’ll find you have more energy for both mental and physical challenges. Being stronger will make you feel more capable as you can participate in more daily activities without tiring. Exercise also helps fortify the body against quite a few ailments including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and several types of cancer. 

These bodily improvements are made due to the brain stimulating the body with chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins. These chemicals are “feel-good” chemicals, dopamine is responsible for that good feeling you get after accomplishing something, and endorphins will reduce your blood pressure to relieve physical and mental pain. The more you regularly exercise, the more active these chemicals will be in your body. 

You don’t need to become a body-builder, but you should physically challenge yourself at least three days of the week.

 

Commit to a hobby 

Alongside exercising, you should weave in other activities that you enjoy — activities that help take you out of yourself.  Finding something productive to do for fun can seem like a challenge, especially if you haven’t already been exposed to something that makes you want to do it more, but this is why you should take the time to go looking for it. Anything from playing an instrument, gardening, cooking, making video content, are great hobbies that can help you express yourself in a fun and constructive way!

The activity of your choice should be harmless to yourself and others, But beyond that, the sky’s the limit! 

 

Try meditating and deep breathing 

Mind exercises that put you back into focus can be life-savers when it comes to dealing with stress quickly. Yoga is a very common way of destressing, it is a form of deep breathing mixed with physical movements to help prevent your mind from racing. You can also repeat a phrase or saying, while this type of meditation may have religious roots, the phrases can be anything that will help calm you down. Taking five minutes, even one minute, to do some deep and rhythmic breathing exercises can help with panic attacks. While panic attacks are primarily caused by anxiety and not depression, the two illnesses can be concurrent so it is good to know how to deal with high amounts of stress.

When you are in the headspace of meditation, it is a great time to collect your thoughts and regroup, and you may shut out recent events and issues.

 

Start a personal journal 

The nice thing about a personal journal is that it is completely secure, you can write whatever you want in it and no one has to know.

In your journal, you can set goals and create logs which detail your achievements. Even the smallest achievements can be logged in this journal, such as waking up on time, cleaning your room, or taking a shower. These things may be tiny parts of the day, but they represent big victories if you have been struggling. It can also serve as a place to gather any stray thoughts you may have as well. At the end of the pandemic, this journal will serve as a souvenir that can remind you of your past efforts, and be an inspiration for your future-self.

 

Even if you do not have depression, these strategies are still very effective at improving your overall health. If you do have depression, you should accept that learning to live with it will take time, but with time and effort, you can get better. Even if you apply all of the list-items and still have trouble that is not your fault at all. 

 

If you ever feel you need to talk to someone or are having thoughts of hurting yourself or others, here are a few mental health hotlines and resources that will help you reach out to others in times of need:

  • (1-800-273-8255) – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline operates 24/7 assistance to those requiring it.
  • (866-488-7386) – The Trevor Project helps LGBTQA+ individuals specifically and offers trained counselors.
  • Suicide.org: This website has a directory for state specific mental health call services.
  • (1-800-662-4357) – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will give referrals to local help centers and organizations.
  • (1-800-950-6264) – The National Alliance on Mental Illness has treatment and educational programs available, the hotline runs Monday through Friday, from 10 AM to 6 PM

Stay vigilant, and you’ll have your mental health shining in no time!