More than 16.1 million Americans experience depression and its symptoms each year. Many will leave their symptoms untreated or go through life with no tools to manage them.
Fortunately, Mihaela Perijoc, MD, MHA, and her team at North Texas Internal Medicine Specialists are experts in treating depression. In this blog, they share strategies you can use to help manage depression.
Overview of depression
Depression can negatively affect the way you think, feel, and act. If you have depression, you might experience a loss of interest in activities, trouble sleeping, a loss of energy, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt. Symptoms of depression are treatable and manageable, especially if you seek medical attention.
If left untreated, you can develop more serious symptoms. The most serious symptoms of depression are thoughts of self-harm or suicide. If you’re experiencing these kinds of thoughts, you should reach out to Dr. Perijoc and her team immediately.
Managing your depression
Whether you’ve been dealing with depression your whole life or just recently, you need to be properly equipped to address your symptoms. Here are a few things you can do to help cope with your depression:
Exercise and eat well
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in your brain that boost your mood and make you feel happy. A brisk walk, a jog around the block, or a session in the weight room can start to rewire your brain in a more positive way. In addition, you should eat a healthy diet. Incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other nutritious foods into your diet will help restore your body and mind.
Depression can affect your confidence, and losing confidence can make you feel worse. Fight back by setting small, realistic goals. For example, you can make it a goal to read a book, call a friend, or go for a walk. Accomplishing small things can help you rebuild your confidence.
You should never go through depression alone. Seek out friends and loved ones you can lean on. Furthermore, join a support group. By joining one, you can support each other as well as learn new strategies on coping with depression.
Get better sleep
Sleep has a direct effect on your mood. Getting better sleep can greatly improve your depression and its symptoms. To this end, do what you can to eliminate any distractions in your bedroom.
Your bedroom should be a place of relaxation. If you’re doing work or staring at electronics in bed, your brain can start to associate your bed with stress, not relaxation. Power down your phone at least an hour before bedtime, and keep your work at the kitchen table to increase your chances of getting quality sleep.
Soak up the sun
Sitting in the sun and taking in some fresh air can give your serotonin levels a huge boost. Serotonin is another chemical in your brain that deals with regulating mood. Even a 15-minute walk over your lunch break, a round of golf with your friends, or a few minutes gardening can increase your serotonin levels.
You can also try to let more natural sunlight into your house or office space by opening curtains and windows. If you live somewhere so cold and dark that going outside is impossible for most of the year, invest in a light therapy box to experience a similar effect.
There are dozens of ways that can help you cope with depression, and these are just a few of the best ones. However, there’s no substitute for clinical treatment, such as therapy to help you control negative thoughts, and medications to help alleviate symptoms.
If you have depression or think you do, Dr. Perijoc and her expert team can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with North Texas Internal Medicine Specialists today.