If you’re struggling with depression, you’re not alone. 17.3 million adults in America (i.e., 7.1% of the population in the United States) suffer from depression. While everyone’s experience is different, it can be extremely painful and cause you to feel alienated from others. You might even feel hopeless that there’s any way to get out. Again, remember: You’re not alone, and there are some practical things you can start doing now that will help you recover.
It may seem counterintuitive when your appetite is low, but eating healthy meals throughout the day is essential to managing your depression. Eating fruits and vegetables can improve your mood as they’re packed with vitamins and minerals that help regulate your hormones and keep your energy levels up. It’s also essential to get enough protein and fat (especially in the morning). Try something simple like a bowl of full-fat yogurt and peanut butter on toast. Finally, avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks will help reduce inflammation in your body, which can contribute to depression.
Getting enough sleep is vital to improving your symptoms of depression, but don’t overdo it. Depression and anxiety can ruthlessly tax your energy levels, so you might need some extra sleep. Go ahead and take it, but don’t let yourself stay in bed all day. Make sure you develop a consistent sleeping schedule so your body knows when it should be getting restful sleep. This will help balance your circadian rhythm, which can positively affect your physical and mental health.
Depression can make you feel like withdrawing from even your closest friends and family. It’s okay to take some extra time to yourself, but be sure you stay connected and check in with people you trust, even if it’s only through a text.
Continuing to build relationships with others is important for long-term recovery from depression. It will keep your mind occupied, helping you avoid depressive solipsism. That doesn’t mean you need to force yourself to overly commit to social situations that might feel overwhelming. Allow yourself a break from activities if you need one, but stay connected to your core support system.
Take Care Financially
Depression can come hand-in-hand with financial worries, making matters worse if not appropriately managed. When you’re depressed, it’s easy to get pulled underwater because it becomes difficult to manage the daily details in your life.
Get ahead of your depression by making sure your bills are paid on time, your bank accounts are well organized, and any debts you owe are addressed to avoid complications down the road. You can even look into passive income opportunities like dividend paying whole life insurance, which can supplement your income. It may seem daunting at first, but taking care of financial matters while managing depression will save you a lot of stress in the long run.
Taking care of yourself should always be your top priority, especially when you’re depressed. This includes eating well, sleeping right, staying connected with people who care about you, and making sure you manage your finances properly. There’s no single solution for dealing with depression. Rather, it’s an ongoing process where you allow yourself space to heal while effectively developing strategies for managing your emotions and daily needs. Little by little, this will help you move forward on your journey to better mental health.