Last week we talked about how to identify depression as something significant to be dealt with. If you have noticed your depression has lasted two weeks, seek help.
While being depressed there are certainly things you can do to to lower its effect. Whether or not you are using an antidepressant medication, these lifestyle changes can help.
Talk to someone. You don't need to talk about your depression, talk about anything. The important thing is that you have person to person contact on a daily basis with another person. Total isolation will make depression worse.
Avoid mood altering chemicals, including alcohol, non-prescription drugs, even nicotine. While these may temporarily raise your mood, they will then plunge you back into depression. The roller coaster of feelings will continue to get higher and lower if not interrupted. If you need medication, see your doctor for the best choices and follow his directions.
Fifteen to 20 minutes of exercise that causes you to increase your breathing rate, aerobic activity, at least every other day. If you are not an active person, simple walking at a brisk pace may work for you.
Sunlight! The ultraviolet rays of the sun interacts with the brain to lighten your mood. If you cannot be outside, sit by a window to get direct daylight for 20 minutes each day. If you live where there isn't much daylight, you can purchase a light box that creates sunlight you can sit beside. I have one called SunTouchPlus. It was not at all expensive.
Do something for someone else. When you are doing something for someone else your focus is not on your own troubles. And the sciences have shown that doing for others increases our endorphins that lighten mood. Acts of Kindness benefit the giver and the receiver.
I've learned the value of the behaviors both in working with mental health clients and myself. I worked for twenty years as a mental health therapist. And I've struggled with depression most of my life. It was only when I was in my mid-thirties that I learned these for mine and clients' treatment plans.
And even though I now use anti-depressant medications, I occasionally need to go back to using them. I have a light box that I use in the winter months when we have shorter days. I have not only clinical depression, but it is aggravated by Seasonal Affect Disorder during the darker days.
Depression can really interfere with your daily life. But you don't have to let it take over your life. Get treatment. Change some behaviors. Confront your self-talk.