Everything feels more challenging when you're dealing with depression. Going to work, socializing with friends, or even just getting out of bed can feel like a struggle.
But there are some things you can do to cope with your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Here are eight tips for living with depression.
For some, this may mean forging stronger ties with friends or family. Knowing you can count on supportive loved ones to help can go a long way toward improving your depression.
For others, a depression support group can be key.1 It may involve a community group that meets in your area or you might find an online support group who meets your needs.
When you're under stress, your body produces more of a hormone called cortisol. In the short-term, this is a good thing because it helps you gear up to cope with whatever is causing the stress in your life.
Over the long run, however, it can cause many problems for you, including depression.2 The more you use techniques to reduce stress, the better because it will reduce your risk of becoming depressed.
Sleep and mood are intimately related. A 2014 study found that 80% of people with major depressive disorder experience sleep disturbances.3
But, you might feel like you just can't fall asleep. Or perhaps you struggle to get out of bed because you feel exhausted all the time.
Research continues to find clear links between diet and mental health. In fact, there have been so many studies that have shown improving nutrition can prevent and treat mental illness that nutritional psychiatry is becoming mainstream.4
There are many brain-essential nutrients that can affect depression. For example, a 2012 study found that zinc deficiency is associated with symptoms of depression.5
Depression doesn't just make you feel bad, it can also cause you to think more negatively. Changing those negative thoughts, however, can improve your mood.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that works to alter common patterns of negative thinking called cognitive distortions in order to eliminate depression.6 There are also many self-help books, apps, and online courses that can help you learn how to change your unhealthy thinking patterns.
The symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating, make procrastination tempting.
Putting things off fuels depression. It can lead to increased guilt, worry, and stress.
It's important to set deadlines and manage your time well. Establish short-term goals and work hard to get the most important things done first. Each task you successfully complete will help you break through the habit of procrastination.
Depression can make it difficult to complete household chores, such as doing the dishes or paying bills.
But a pile of paperwork, the stack of dirty dishes, and floor covered in dirty clothes will only magnify your feelings of worthlessness.
A wellness toolbox is a set of tools that you can use to help soothe yourself when you are feeling down.7
The tools you find most helpful might not work for someone else so it's important to carefully consider what things can help you feel your best.
Think of things you like to do when you're happy. Then, when you're feeling down, try one of those activities.