Have you ever felt like there’s a weight on you? Like you’re drowning? Like you’re stuck in a hole with muddy walls, and the harder you fight to climb out, the further entrenched you get?
We all have those days when we’re not feeling our best; those days when we fight to get out of bed or can’t shut off our brains. But, for some, those days start to stack up, one after another, after another. Pretty soon, before you know it, you’re in a funk.
Depression is a tricky bugger; it can blindside you. For many, it’s brought on by a sudden change or traumatic event. Perhaps you went through a divorce, experienced the death of a loved one, or lost your job. For others, life’s natural ebb and flows bring it on. Maybe you recently had a baby, decided to retire, or relocated.
At its core, depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s something we can’t always see when we look at someone, but none the less is a very real thing. In fact, feelings of sadness, or even clinical depression, can be expressed in ways that wouldn’t necessarily be recognized by others.
What do you think of when you envision someone who’s depressed? Many of us think of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. He spoke in a sad tone and always seemed to be self-loathing. And while he’s an excellent example of what depression can look like, it’s often multifaceted.
Feeling blue can shine through as pessimism, anger, anxiety, irritability, and isolation. More so, many people who struggle with depression, or regular bouts of sadness, mask their feelings completely, making it all the more important to be vigilant of how we interact with others.
Right now, many of us are at risk for experiencing depression. Our routines have changed, our careers have shifted, and we’re grappling with an unprecedented level of uncertainty in our world. It’s the perfect storm, so to speak, for a bout of gloom.
But sadness doesn’t have to cripple you. You don’t have to bury yourself in a dark hole of depression. Of course, that’s easier said than done. We don’t want to dismiss how hard it is to climb out of that hole, to do even the most mundane of things when you’re struggling.
The truth is, depression creates this myopic view of the world for those who suffer from it. Everything is dark, and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Moreover, getting out of a funk takes work. It means doing things when every bone in your body is telling you no, that you can’t. It means arguing with the voices in your head that tell you aren’t good enough, that things won’t be okay, or that you are somehow of lesser value than others.
That said, it’s a common myth that you can just pop a pill and feel better. Combating severe sadness that’s worked its way into depression takes commitment. There’s so much more to it than just a daily regimen of medication.
So, if you’re struggling, we have a few tips on how to fight the blues.
How many times have you heard it? Try exercise, go for a walk, hit the gym. Okay, we know it’s cliché, but seriously, getting your body moving can make a huge difference. It helps everything from reducing stress to raising endorphins. In the long-term, it can actually change your brain chemistry by increasing the happy hormones- dopamine and serotonin.
That said, it might seem daunting at first, but once you get into the habit of working out, it can be quite addicting. So, what are you waiting for? Strap on those athletic shoes and get moving!
Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D!
Did you know that a lack of vitamin D is correlated with a whole host of problems, including depression? Luckily, with the help of a little sunshine, our bodies make all of it we need. However, homebodies and those who live in areas with shorter days during the winter, often don’t get enough.
If you’re one of those people, you may need to try a supplement. But, be careful if you choose to do so. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, you can easily reach your upper limit of vitamin D- a potentially dangerous situation. Remember, a safe intake is between 1000 and 4000 IUs per day.
Start Your Day Off Right!
Truthfully, something as simple as getting out of bed can be a huge challenge when you’re depressed. And taking the time to look fancy? Well, that’s an epic climb up Mount Everest. But, let me tell you it’s worth the trek! Drag yourself out from under your covers, get clean, dressed, and start your day with a bang!
Make Plans & Stick to Them!
Planning for the future is no easy feat when you’re having a hard time. After all, it’s often difficult to see past the day, let alone to the next. More so, you’re often not in a space where you want to leave the house, let alone interact with others. But, it’s so important to do so.
Depression often feels heavy, like it’s weighing you down. It traps you in your own personal hell- a negative reality that you can’t easily break free from. However, making plans forces you outside your head and, ultimately, helps you feel better.
When you’re not feeling your best, being around others can be challenging. In fact, just socializing with a coworker or friend can be exhausting. So naturally, it’s tempting to withdraw from people, however, it’s a mistake! Social connection is a huge factor in overcoming depression.
So, what are you waiting for? Answer that phone call and follow through with those plans! Reach out to a friend, family member, or even get connected with a mental health counselor. I know it’s hard, but so is depression.
Are you looking for more tips to guide you on your path to a happy and healthy life? Check out the rest of our blog, and don’t forget to follow us on social media. We can be found at youthdynamicsmt on Instagram, and People of Youth Dynamics and Youth Dynamics of Montana on Facebook.