Having depression is when your sadness interferes with your everyday activities. Even if you are in treatment for your depression such as going to therapy and taking medication, it can still mean that you are repeating habits that can make your depression worse. It is important to make a change in your routine to ensure that you are successfully treating your depression.
The first habit that you can change is your sleeping habits. It can either mean that you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or you are sleeping too much. By staying in bed throughout the day, you are ultimately avoiding the world. Having trouble falling asleep can mean that you have all of these negative thoughts taking over your mind that you cannot put them to rest for the night. We all need to have seven to eight hours of sleep so that we can recharge our batteries and wake up feeling refreshed. You can do this by setting up a sleep alarm fifteen minutes before going to bed of what time to sleep and when to wake up. Make sure your screens from your television or other electronic devices are turned off as the blue light can throw off melatonin cycles. Listening to music can also be helpful as long as it is slow-paced and relaxing like new age music or classical.
Not getting enough sleep can also lead to developing fatigue which also makes your depression worse. When you are depressed, the last thing on your mind is going outside to exercise. By laying in your bed all day, you are focusing too much on your negative thoughts which will not help those negative feelings go away. By exercising, you are releasing your endorphin levels which will reduce your pain levels and make you feel good. Aim to get at least half an hour to an hour’s worth of activity at least three times a week. You can do anything that will get your heart pumping and your feet moving whether it is walking, swimming, playing sports, going to the gym, some house cleaning, etc. By putting your body in rhythm, you will be in a more upbeat mood.
If you are not getting enough activity, then that must mean that you are not socializing enough. Whether you admit it or not, we are all social animals. It is in our nature to have interactions with others. Getting up in the morning can seem like an impossible task when you are too down on yourself. You can feel like you are worthless and will just be a burden to them if you are not in a good mood to spend time with anyone. The truth is that being around others may be exactly what you need to treat your depression. By being around your friends and family, they may actually make you feel good in making you smile and the activity that you will be doing with them like going to a carnival, the movies, a comedy show, etc. Instead of waiting for them to call you, reach out to them not just by texting but pay your loved ones a visit and get together with them.
Having a poor diet can also lead to a worsening depression. The American Journal of Psychiatry says that if you eat too many processed foods, refined grains, sugary foods, and beer can increase the rates of depression. You may be eating these foods because you feel like because you are feeling so lousy inside, these yummy foods will make you feel good. Just like with any addiction, you think that the junk food is helping but it is actually making you feel worse which makes you think you need more junk food. The truth is that eating too much of these foods will just cause you to gain weight and other health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart problems. People who are depressed can also feel like they do not deserve to answer the calls of hunger that they decide to barely eat anything. It helps to make smarter food choices such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and whole grains. You can also start tracking what foods you eat as well as calories either on paper or using calorie counting apps.
The last thing that can make your depression worse is when you are dwelling on your negative thoughts. You may be think only of the pain that you are in like loss, failure, rejection, or anything else that is causing you to feel down. Thinking only of these medical thoughts will not make anything better for you but worse. You can seek professional help to change your thought patterns such as cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy can help identify your negative thought patterns and transform them into positive ones.
When you think really hard, everything has a bright side. For example, if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, think about the positive impacts that your loved ones have made on you during your grief in helping you feel better. If you are recovering from a job loss, remember that there are plenty of jobs out there and the right one will be right there waiting for you to apply. By being more active in exercising, socializing, eating right, and sleeping right, you are decreasing your chances of your depression worsening.
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