On average, 1 in 5 women will experience depression at some point in their lives. Depression (like people) comes in all shapes and sizes. I’ve suffered from depression before and a close friend of mine is struggling right now. There’s no shame in it. You’re not alone. There is also no “one fits all” cure but there are simple steps you can take to help yourself feel better.
- Exercise – Exercise is scientifically proven to improve low mood by releasing feel-good hormones such as dopamine and endorphins. Regular exercise can be as effective as medication. Physical exercise causes chemical changes in our brains which can alter our moods. Make sure you get outside every day!
- Eat Healthily – 2400 years ago, Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. What we eat changes the way our DNA behaves so what you eat is crucially important to your emotional well-being. Fill yourself up with lots of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates. If you struggle with knowing what to eat Weight Watchers are brilliant and have a whole section of clean eating (I’m a bit advocate of clean eating!).
- Drink Plenty – Obviously, I don’t mean alcohol or caffeine. Alcohol is a depressant and caffeine a stimulant and all these will do is provide a short-term fix and leave you feeling more hollow. The very best thing for you to hydrate with is water. Herbal teas are also a tasty alternative. Keeping hydrated aids concentration keeps our skin clear and is essential for our bodies to function correctly.
- Sleep. Sleep well – Being tired is awful. We all know how irritable and short-tempered we can be when we’re deprived of sleep. Shut down all your electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed. If you’re struggling to sleep, try a warm bath and crack open the essential oils. Lavender and Cedarwood are just a
couple of ones that are great in aiding a restful night and you can either pop a few drops in your bath or sprinkle some drops on your pillow. Do make sure you’re buying the pure essential oil and not fragrance oil. Holland & Barratt are a reputable seller. Try and aim for around 8 hours sleep a night. I, personally, read myself to sleep every night on my Kindle, which I swear by.
- Don’t Isolate Yourself – Chances are, you have people in your life that love and care about you. Don’t cut them out. It’s okay to lean on people. Connection is one of the six basic emotional needs of humans. If you do feel like you have no one to talk to, there are places you can turn to for support and friendship.
- Bathe In Sunlight – Even during the winter, it’s important for us to have the sunshine on our skin. Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels, improving our mood We need that dose of Vitamin D that the sun stimulates. Fling open your curtains and blinds! Go outside!
- Write – I’m a great believer in getting things off your chest. If you don’t feel like you want to open up to others about how you’re feeling and why, write! Write a journal, write letters, just get your feelings out there. You don’t have to do anything with your writings, you can even burn them afterwards if you like. The essence of writing can be really cathartic.
- Enjoy – Do the things you used to love. Even if you don’t feel like doing them, the chances are, by going through the motions they’ll start being fun again. Discover new interests. Are there things you’ve always fancied trying but have never quite found the time? The time is now. Think sports, day trips, lunching with friends, painting, crocheting. Occupational therapy is a great healer.
- Kindness – Be kind to yourself. Depression can be completely horrific and it won’t get any easier if you’re getting cross with yourself for not recovering as quickly as you’d like. I always think it’s good to put yourself in the shoes of a loved one. If someone you loved was feeling the way you were I’m sure you’d treat them with kindness.
- Ask For Help – Depression is a chemical imbalance and sometimes, we may need to seek professional advice/help. Health professionals and doctors are always available to turn to for advice. They can access your situation and give you the best possible advice, however scary it may seem at first seeking help is a necessary part of overcoming depression and to leading a happy, relaxed lifestyle.