“Seeking help is NOT giving up. It is refusing to give up!” – Charlie Mackesy
Think you may be depressed and feeling stuck? Don’t know what to do?
I think we can all relate to times when we have gone through difficult and challenging situations. Depression is a common mental health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It is talked about much more now, than in past decades. However, it’s still something that people silently carry.
Depression can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness, which can lead to a decline in overall quality of life. If you suspect that you may be experiencing symptoms of depression, it is important to act and seek support.
In this Blog, we will discuss 10 practical steps you can take if you think you may be depressed.
Finding Your Inner Strength - it's in There!
Sometimes that feeling of being depressed can creep up on us and we may not notice the signs straight away. Some may be experiencing depression for the first time. For others, it’s been a long road.
Getting through it can seem monumental and a hill too hard to climb.
It’s amazing though what we are capable of and the strength we can find when we need it to come out the other side.
I hope my tips below help whether for you or someone you love.
1. Recognise the Symptoms
The first important step if you think you may have depression is to recognise the symptoms. Depression can manifest in different ways, but here are some common signs:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
- Loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty in sleeping or oversleeping
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
If you are experiencing these symptoms, don’t struggle alone. Take that first step in seeking help.
2. Reach Out to Someone
Talking to someone isn’t always easy. Especially if you’re being vulnerable and honest about how you’re feeling. It takes a lot of trust, but if you can find someone to talk to, it’s a great way to start bringing that sunshine back into your life.
This could be a friend, family member, or healthcare professional. It gives you the chance to unload and share how you’re feeling and receive support and guidance.
If you’re not comfortable discussing your feelings with someone you know, you can also reach out to a mental health helpline or support group. These services are staffed by trained professionals who can provide guidance, support and a safe space to share.
It’s often a relief when we share our challenges and feelings with the right people.
3. Seek Professional Help
If you have someone to talk to that’s great!
However, sometimes you need that professional support.
It can be so easy to not want to bother anyone with our problems. We can suffer in silence and carry the burden.
But don’t suffer too long, okay?
If you’ve been struggling for more than a couple of weeks, and finding it hard to carry out your daily activities, reach out and seek professional help.
Your physician is a good starting point. They can refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, who can work with you to develop a treatment plan that isn’t overwhelming.
Treatment for depression typically involves a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that is often used to treat depression. It focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to depression. That might seem impossible at first, but trust that you have the strength to take small steps. Sometimes, medications such as antidepressants, may also be prescribed to help.
4. Practice Self Care
When we’re feeling low it can be so easy to beat ourselves up for feeling this way. Don’t you agree?
But remember, taking care of yourself is important if you think you may have depression.
Don’t underestimate making yourself a priority. Simple self-care activities such as eating healthy, getting enough sleep and exercising. Even if you’re starting small, anything you can manage makes a difference.
If you look after your life forces, everything else seems to fall into place. These activities help to maintain a healthy body and mind and can greatly help reduce the symptoms of depression.
In addition to the basics, self-care activities can also include activities that bring joy or a sense of accomplishment, such as spending time with friends, taking up a new hobby, or volunteering. The Dali Lama says that the best way to get out of a depression is to be in service of someone else. Self-care activities can help you feel more connected to yourself and others and can provide a sense of purpose and meaning in life.
5. Set Goals That Are Achievable
When you’re feeling depressed, it can feel difficult to accomplish even the simplest of tasks.
Do you relate?
It is important to remember that depression can affect your motivation and energy levels, so it is essential to be patient and kind to yourself. Start with small goals and build in small increments from there. The idea is to not overwhelm yourself because that can have an adverse effect.
You want to start with something that is doable and add to it slightly each day. This way you’re doing something small each day that is moving the pin in the right direction.
So set small, realistic goals. You’ll be surprised how it can help to provide a sense of achievement and can help to improve your mood.
6. Avoid Alcohol & Drugs
It’s well known that alcohol and drugs are often used as coping mechanisms for depression. However, did you know they are known as a depressive stimulus and can worsen the symptoms of depression. This may lead to addiction or other mental health issues?
It can be a short-term gain, long-term pain approach.
So be kind to yourself and avoid both, but don’t hesitate to seek support and treatment if your intake is becoming a concern for you.
7. Challenge Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts! Who doesn’t have them, hey?
They can be challenging at the best of time, but if you think you may be depressed it’s like negative thoughts on steroids! Those negative thought patterns, can lead to feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.
So it’s super important to challenge these negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.
Also… “Watch the words you tell yourself because your words become your thoughts, your thoughts become your feelings, your feelings become your actions, your actions become your behavior, your behavior becomes your habits and your habits become your destiny”.
We can become addicted to our thoughts and it is important to be conscious and intentful to catch the negative thoughts and say, “there is that negative thought again”. Even if you cannot change it, just witnessing it can put space between you and the thought. You realize, “I am not angry, I am (insert your name), I feel angry. It allows you to see that it is just a tiny part of you and not all of you. However, we usually say “I am angry, I am sad”.
It is all-encompassing and not helpful. If we continue to catch ourselves and if we can change the negative to a neutral or positive thought, we will eventually learn to rewire our neuropathways. How great is that!
8. Introduce Regular Exercise
Exercise is well known to have a positive effect on mental health including reducing symptoms of depression. We can not be in our heads and body at the same time.
Regular exercise can help to boost mood, reduce stress, and increase energy levels. It is important to find an exercise routine that works for you and to make it a regular part of your day. This can be challenging when you are lacking motivation and even the smallest task can be overwhelming. Just take baby steps if needed.
The feel good endorphins that exercise brings have been well documented and are believed to be the most profound way to ward off depression.
9. The Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a technique that involves focusing on the present moment and accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgment. It has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and improving overall mental health. You can practice mindfulness through meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
10. Find Social Support
Social support is an important aspect of mental health and can help to reduce the symptoms of depression. It is important to find your tribe of people who are understanding. Whether it be family, friends, or a support group. Social support can provide a sense of belonging and can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Help is at Hand
If you identified with the signs and think you may be depressed, just remember… you are not alone!
It’s important to go gently and be kind to yourself. It’s also massively empowering to be brave, trust in your vulnerability and ask for help. It could be life changing!
I would be humbled to walk with you on your journey to find your greatness, to find your peace!
I would do this by working collaboratively with you to find effective ways to understand and resolve what you’re experiencing.
Just contact me below for an obligation-free initial phone consultation.