Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health challenges in America, but there are still many misconceptions about what it is and how to overcome it. If depression has interrupted your life, dimmed your enthusiasm or come between you and your loved ones, this comprehensive guide can help.
What Is Depression?
If you suspect you have depression, the first step in overcoming it is to educate yourself on this mental health problem and understand its characteristics. Contrary to societal stigmas, depression isn’t laziness or a lack of motivation. It’s a medical condition that manifests itself in various physical and emotional symptoms.
One hallmark of depression is a loss of interest in previously enjoyable hobbies and activities. This illness can also cause people to struggle with persistent sadness or feelings of worthlessness. If you have depression, you might also:
- Sleep too much or too little
- Have difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Neglect hygiene and self-care
- Lose motivation to pursue your goals
- Feel agitated or panicky
- Overeat or skip meals
- Be more vulnerable to developing a substance use disorder
- Have excessive guilt or low self-esteem
- Contemplate self-harm or suicide
Coping Skills for Overcoming Depression
Depression can make life feel hopeless, but the good news is that treatments are available to help you reclaim your life. While many people have successfully found relief from their depression symptoms with medication, some drug-free solutions are available if you are reluctant to use prescription antidepressants to manage your condition.
The following drug-free techniques can help alleviate your depression symptoms. You may initially have trouble staying on track with these because depression can sap your motivation, and that’s OK. Pat yourself on the back for what you manage to accomplish each day.
Go to Therapy
Working with a therapist is an excellent way to overcome depression and develop a toolkit of healthy coping mechanisms. A professional counselor who specializes in techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy can help you unlearn self-destructive behaviors and replace your negative inner monologue with a positive one.
Find Meaning in Serving Others
If depression has caused you to feel numb or aimless, you can gain a sense of community and connection by giving back to others. Volunteering your talents or time by helping underprivileged people can also put some of your problems into perspective.
Set Attainable Goals
Goal-setting can help with overcoming depression because accomplishing your objectives will restore your self-esteem and give you reasons to be proud of what you’ve done. Create small, realistic goals, then pat yourself on the back for each one you complete. If you’re working toward a series of goals, you might want to track your progress in a journal or logbook, so you can look back at how far you’ve come.
Add Regular Exercise to Your Routine
If depression is weighing you down, being physically active might seem like the last thing you want to do, but working up a sweat is one of the best drug-free ways to relieve depression symptoms.
Exercising can help regulate your sleep schedule, give you more energy, improve your mood and give you a rush of endorphins. If you haven’t worked out in a while, start with smaller, shorter exercise sessions. Then, as your fitness level improves, you can ramp up to longer, more challenging workouts.
Treat Yourself Daily
Scheduling rewards into your day will give you something small to look forward to. For example, take brief breaks to meditate, listen to music, enjoy a cup of herbal tea, walk around the block or watch a relaxing video.
Strengthen Your Relationships
Depression can be an isolating condition. One way to pull yourself out of a mental health slump is to focus on cultivating a support group of others who understand your goals and want to help you get better. Spending more time with positive, uplifting people can improve your outlook and self-confidence.
Where to Get Help for Depression
If you have depression and a co-occurring substance use disorder, you are never alone. Evidence-based treatment can teach you how to overcome depression and put your life back on a positive track.
At Beach House, we have built one of the nation’s leading drug and alcohol rehab facilities, and we accept insurance from more than 20 major providers. To learn more about our industry-leading therapist-to-client ratio, talk with our admissions counselors today.