Like many American living with depression, you may feel so empty and drained that you are just struggling to function. Mustering the strength to seek treatment, especially self-help, is a huge challenge. Take a few minutes to be encouraged and inspired by ways that others have started their journey. Perhaps their successes can resonate with you and help you find that starting point toward better mental health.
A Helpful Starting Point
More than…yes more than 1 in 4 adults in the United States suffer from depression. With the COVID virus, the increased death rates, unemployment, and other pandemic disasters, this number may actually be higher. So, let’s start by saying “You are NOT alone”.
But where you are with your mental health may certainly vary. Perhaps you easily slip into a funk, feel irritable with low self-image. Maybe you are highly agitated with severe panic attacks, appetite issues, concentration and job performance issues.
Regardless of where you are, take a moment to acknowledge it. Sit quietly, listen to you, meet yourself exactly where you are in the present moment. Don’t judge it, don’t worry about it, just acknowledge it.
Now, know this. Where you are today, in this moment, is different from where you were in the past (1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year ago…or 5 years, or more). This is also not a judgement, but an acknowledgement that things to change, sometimes for the good, sometimes not so much.
Can You Influence that Change?
Yes, and the more you believe that what you do every day can have incremental effects on your mental health, would you try? Read through the list below of ways that others have started their journey. Find just one suggestion that resonates with you. Find time to focus on it every day. If its not helping, try another. If it is helping, try another. Grant yourself the opportunity to try and the encouragement to continue, even when have a bad day. You can do this!
Let’s start with you. Small improvements in physical health can offer even larger improvements to your mental health.
- Eat healthy – balanced amounts of protein, grains, veggies, and fruit. As Mom would say “Eat your colors”. Try supplements if you know your diet tends to be a little lopsided. Omega-3 fatty acids (fish, nuts, seeds) may help reduce the effects of the stress-related hormone cortisol. It sure won’t hurt and perhaps you can find a special way of preparing that fish that you love…and look forward to!
- Drink healthy – take an inventory of your beverages and move toward more pure water beverages; avoid too much caffeine, sugar-laden beverages, artificial sweeteners, and reduce alcoholic beverage intake.
- Sleep well – find a way to get 8+ hours of sleep on a regular schedule; chamomile just before bedtime and soft, soothing music can help
- Exercise – if you already work out regularly, kudos to you. If not, find a way to add a few minutes of exercise 5x per week. A favorite place to walk is perfect now that the weather’s improving, swimming, biking, hiking, yoga. Find an activity YOU like and give it a regular place in YOUR schedule. Value your time that you are giving to your physical health; your mind will thank you.
- Here are some other valuable practices that you may find add to your journey to a better place.
- Goals – we all need to have some goals that we are working on. Goals are our way of aiming for accomplishments and advances in our lives. Setting these too unreasonable, however, can be the worst thing you can do. You will add to your depression as you think how unachievable your goals are. START SIMPLE. One small goal, fully within your control, and manageable is the best way to begin. Something you can start and finish within one month, realistic for you, and measurable.
- Grow and Improve Your Relationships – healthy, happy relationships with others keeps us grounded in today and give us a support network when we need it. Strong and healthy relationships can help bring us out of depression and help avoid slipping back into that unhealthy state. Nurture your positive relations, and mend those that are broken. Unhealthy relationships can be exhausting and have a negative effect on your mental health. If you can, avoid these until you are strong enough to deal with them.
- Person Meaning – do one kind act, perform some selfless service, donate your time. Every person’s life needs meaning and purpose. Find even the smallest thing that gives you joy. Do it, then do it again!
Depression is a medical condition, not laziness. It is often a temporary response to personal discouragement or grief. These recommendations in parallel with an online depression therapy program can help you find meaning in your life again and rebuild your confidence and happiness.
Reach out to ACT Teletherapy for personalized counseling and therapy via text, video, or phone. Let us help you start your journey to better mental health!!!