Understanding Depression and What We Can Do

Man experiencing depression

Understanding Depression and What We Can Do

Living with severe depression can be overwhelming, to say the least. The challenges sufferers face every day just getting started would seem impossible to many of us. Combine the mental challenges with the emotional and physical impacts, and the job is monumental. However, as the condition itself becomes better understood, including its underlying causes, there is hope. There are steps that those with depression can take to make getting through their day a little easier. Knowing these steps can be a powerful tool in improving their day-to-day experience with managing depression.

Help Understanding Depression and What Can Be Done

Depression comes in varying degrees, as well as at different frequencies. Some people are affected by it daily, while others go through periods of malaise. In both cases, it can be completely debilitating to those suffering from it. In the majority of cases, depression doesn’t just go away. It isn’t possible to just ‘shake it off or to make a willful effort to ‘just get over it.’ This is not how depression works. Therapy is an important part of managing it, but there are steps that can be taken as well. 

Consider the following tips for facing depression:

  • Set Definite Plans – This may seem like a small step, but it can have a huge impact. By setting plans, you create a scenario to look forward to. It’s even better if you set these plans on a calendar, whether it’s a virtual or a physical one. Take notes about the event to prevent feeling overwhelmed. Staying busy helps alleviate the malaise that comes with depression.
  • Try To Be Social – Isolation can be an incredibly destructive place to be, even if you don’t feel like being around others. Closing yourself off and keeping others at a distance is a strategy for maintaining a depressed state. Interacting with others can be uplifting, can bring unexpected joy, and can distract you from your depression.
  • Exercise – Staying active may be one of the best things you can do for your health, period. Mental health and physical health alike benefit when we get out in the world and stay active. This doesn’t say you have to have an intense exercise regime; it just means taking some time to get your heart beating faster and your body moving.
  • Sunlight and Fresh Air – While getting outside isn’t a magic bullet against depression, it does address some sources. Being outside can help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression and the underlying causes. The sun does wonderful things for your body and brain, and the fresh air can do wonders. Even 15 minutes a day with the sun on your skin is enough; just make sure you wear sunscreen.

These tips are simple day-to-day practices that can help ease depression. While it won’t solve it or make it simply vanish, every little bit helps. Battling depression is an ongoing fight, not one that will resolve itself overnight.

Speak To Your Therapist and Keep Helplines Handy

There’s one more vital step to managing your depression, and that’s seeking help. This doesn’t just mean regular visits to your therapist. It also means keeping helplines handy for when things get out of control. Just knowing you have a friendly voice a phone call away can be enough to keep you going long enough to overcome the darker moments.

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April is the founder of Prestige Mental Health and is a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP-BC) who is qualified to practice primary care and psychiatry. She is passionate about providing quality, compassionate, and comprehensive mental health services to children, adolescents, and adults. April specializes in psychiatric illnesses including but not limited to depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, PTSD/trauma, bipolar, and schizophrenia.