Bowl of food with extended armDepression is an extremely common but serious mental health disorder. While it’s completely normal to experience feelings of sadness and fatigue from time to time, if you notice that these feelings persist for longer than two weeks, it’s a good indicator that depression may be at play.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is struggling with depression, it’s important to seek support. If you’re not quite ready to make a call and set up an appointment with a therapist just yet, there are lifestyle changes that you can make to try to reduce or limit some of the signs and symptoms you may be experiencing.

Here are four practical tips for dealing with depression.

1. Take Care of Yourself

No matter what, it’s always important to take care of yourself. Depression can make it harder for someone to put themselves first and take care of even their basic human needs. Since depression can have a negative impact on things like your eating and sleeping habits, try to stick to a schedule and routine, as this can cause a cycle of other worsening signs and symptoms.

Depression can cause changes in your eating habits. Some individuals may be tempted to overeat while others may under-eat. Try to eat between three to five healthy and well-balanced meals throughout your day. Plan ahead on what you’re going to eat during the week so you can head to the grocery store and meal prep for the week ahead. In addition to eating consistently, you should also be aiming to drink enough water and be mindful of your caffeine, drugs, alcohol, and sugary snack consumption.

When it comes to sleep, try to get on a good sleep schedule and routine by going to bed around the same time each night and waking up around the same time each morning. You should aim to sleep for at least eight hours each night in order for your body to rest, recover, and be able to perform to the best of its ability each day.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Woman sitting on yoga mat in meditation with dogMindfulness is a great way to help lower the levels of depression you may be experiencing. It’s also a great practice to help bring your body and brain back to the present moment. These are a few of the different ways you can practice mindfulness in your daily routine:

  • Do a body scan
  • Try deep breathing
  • Practice meditation
  • Do yoga

3. Move Your Body

Exercise has been proven to be beneficial for your body as well as your mind. It’s a natural way to feel good from the inside out with the help of the body’s innate feel-good chemicals being released. Moving your body just means getting your blood pumping and your heart rate up. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to seek the benefits. All you have to do is move your body for at least thirty minutes each day. Here are a few ways you can seek the benefits:

  • Man walking with dogGo for a walk around your neighborhood
  • Try a workout class with a friend
  • Use a free workout app with guided exercises

4. Seek Additional Support

While there are lifestyle changes that you can make on your own end to help reduce some of the signs and symptoms of depression you may be experiencing, there isn’t a replacement for seeking professional help. Depression is a serious mental health condition that may need to be treated with the help of an outside third party.

A therapist will be able to work with you in a safe and secure environment to help you work through the potential causes, factors, signs, and symptoms, and ways to better manage those negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Find out more about treatment for depression here. I’m here to help when you’re ready to ask for it. Reach out to me today to set up an initial consultation.