Depression is a common, but also serious mood disorder. It is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It causes symptoms that affect how you think, feel or even handle day-to-day activities. It can affect how you sleep, eat or work. It is good to keep in mind that even in the most severe cases, depression can be treated. There are also a number of ways you can help fight off your depression and take care of yourself.
Track your sleep. Try using a sleep app to figure out how much you are sleeping each day. Although eight hours is ideal, that seems pretty rare for many people. Work towards increasing sleep to eight hours each night.
Socialize carefully. Choose to be with people who lift your spirits, are supportive of you, and are easy to be around. Try to avoid friends or family that talk nonstop about themselves or are negative thinkers.
Exercise. Even if you are only going for a short walk to the grocery store or a walk to the end of your block, give yourself credit for exercise. Research proves that exercise can help fight depression, but be realistic with yourself and acknowledge that it may be hard to exercise when you are sad.
Learn to play a musical instrument. Music helps with human expression and can be an emotional experience. You don’t have to be great at playing the instrument, but it may help to brighten your mood.
Create a homey living space. When struggling with depression, you may feel isolated or disconnected. By creating a warm and homey living space, you feel comforted and happy to be there.
Take care of a pet or a plant. Owning a pet has actually been shown to decrease loneliness. It can be very rewarding and lift your mood. Growing plants or tending to herbs can also have the same effect on your mood.
If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment with your doctor. Once diagnosed, the earlier your treatment begins the more effective it can be. It may take some trial and error to find a treatment that suits you best. Trying some things on your own can also help to fight off your depression and get you back on a mentally healthy path.
Lori Atkinson, Operations Assistant for The Kim Foundation, http://www.thekimfoundation.org/
Lori Atkinson joined The Kim Foundation in May 2015 as an Operations Assistant. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from UNL in Middle Level Education. She was an 8th grade English teacher in the Omaha Public Schools for ten years and started a small non-profit in her husband’s memory in 2010. Lori assists with many of the day-to-day tasks for The Kim Foundation which includes scheduling presentations in the community, coordinating booths at conferences, attending mental health trainings, researching mental illness/suicide, and working community events. Lori is the proud mom of three children and is actively involved in her church.