To say that depression has the power to turn your life upside down would be an understatement. In the absence of proper treatment, depression can have an adverse impact on every facet of your life. Not only can untreated depression lead to problems at work, it can also wreak havoc with your personal relationships and overall self-image. Fortunately, getting on top of depression isn’t quite as hard as you may think. Anyone looking to tackle depression head-on and regain control of their life would do well to consider the following tips.
Get Your Sleep Schedule in Order
Proper sleep habits are vitally important to both your physical well-being and mental health. In the absence of a good night’s rest, you’re liable to have problems with concentration, stamina and, perhaps most importantly, depression. The less sleep you get, the more negative your general outlook is likely to be, so if your current slumber habits leave a lot to be desired, there’s a good chance lack of sleep is at least partially to blame for any depression you’re experiencing.
That being the case, it behooves you to correct any unhealthy sleep habits you currently practice. To start with, make sure you’re getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you’ve grown accustomed to going to bed at inconsistent times, this will probably require you to assign yourself a bedtime. If it’s been a long time since you last adhered to a set sleep schedule, this is likely to take some adjustment, but if you stick with it, your internal clock shouldn’t take too long to get with the program.
Furthermore, if you have difficulty getting your mind and body primed for a peaceful night’s slumber, adopt a relaxation-inducing pre-bedtime routine. To get the most out of this routine, you’ll need to shut off any screens at least 30 minutes before hitting the hay. Next, use this time to indulge in such relaxing activities as meditation, deep breathing exercises and journaling.
For maximum effectiveness, adhere to your new bedtime (and pre-bedtime routine) even on weekends, as this will help your internal clock adjust faster. However, once you’ve successfully adjusted, staying up a little later on weekends and during other periods of downtime should generally be okay.
Seek Professional Mental Healthcare
In many cases, stamping out depression requires the aid of an experienced mental healthcare professional. While taking the first step towards seeking professional mental health assistance can be difficult, it may ultimately be necessary on your road to recovery. Even if you’ve had less-than-ideal experiences with therapy and/or counseling in the past, this shouldn’t be taken to mean that mental healthcare is ineffective – but rather confirmation that the individuals you saw weren’t right for you.
To help ensure that you wind up with a knowledgeable, qualified mental healthcare professional, seek out someone who has experience treating the type of depression you’re experiencing, is willing to provide your desired level of schedule flexibility and has garnered a fair number of positive online reviews.
Pay it Forward
In addition to bringing positive change to the lives of people who desperately need it, paying it forward can be a great way to make you feel better about yourself and quell depression. So, if there are any volunteer opportunities you wish to pursue in your area, don’t hesitate to take the bull by the horns and dive right in. For example, if you’re fond of working with seniors, many senior centers, rest homes and retirement communities would be happy to accept any help you’re willing to throw their way. Additionally, pet lovers are liable to find ample fulfillment from volunteering at animal shelters and/or fostering furry friends who have yet to find their forever homes.
Making monetary donations to causes in which you truly believe can be another effective way to facilitate positive change. For example, if you’re passionate about national security, look into donating to counterterrorism organizations.
If left unchecked, depression can come to dominate every area of your life. Decreased job performance, strained personal relationship and feelings of general worthlessness are just a few ways in which depression can place a damper on your existence. When trapped in the throes of severe depression, taking the first step towards treatment can be a difficult – but wholly necessary – hurdle. So, if you’re looking to send depression packing, put the advice outlined above to practical use.