My tips for helping with depression
Updated: May 10
All views in this article are my own and these are methods that I found that have helped me.
After writing my tips for better mental health it got me thinking on other methods that have worked to help improve my mood when feeling depressed. So I would like to share these to hopefully help others to be able to lift their mood.
Methods I have found useful:-
This is a simple little thing to do but easily overlooked. I first found this out after returning to work after I had lost my best friend, I was having a real low day and my manager had asked if I had eaten which I responded I hadn't and that I didn't feel hungry. My manager then explained to me that eating could improve my mood so I went out and got a fried egg baguette from the burger van that was parked outside and he was correct, my mood improved. I'm not saying all my problems went away and I no longer felt depressed but my overall mood which was getting others around me down lifted and the mood in the room also improved vastly.
Not eating enough can make you more irritable and sensitive, which can aid your depression. This only works if your in the state of depression where you feel like you don't want to eat and you aren't eating. Please don't over eat. If you do some research into it there are also foods which can be consumed that can help with lifting your mood.
Speaking out is something a lot of people find hard to do but this i actually one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Talking about what is going on in your mind can help you make sense of what is going on yourself, the more you open up the easier you find it to open up when you need help. Needing to talk about your mental health or problems that are going on in your life is nothing to be ashamed of and when you do you are actually stronger for doing so.
Family are always a good place to start with opening up, if you can go to your family talk to them, tell them what's on your mind. Having the support of your family behind you is a big thing and with your family knowing you are going through a tough time they will be there to help support you.
Confide in your friends, these are the people who are there for you, the people who take an understanding of what's going on in your life. If you will be there for a friend to listen to them and have their back when in need then it's the least you can expect back. I won't lie you will find your group of friends may become smaller as in these times you may learn who your true friends are but there is always someone who will listen, so make sure you're talking to the right people.
The more you talk about it the easier it is, you will find people who listen but you will also find people who don't. Don't let these people deter you from speaking up because at the end of it all your mental health matters and speaking out helps.
Seeking help when needed is not something you should worry yourself about or put off. The sooner you seek support the sooner you can get the help you need to getting back to feeling yourself.
If you are looking for support through means of counselling then the first place you can start is your GP. Your GP can recommend you to a local NHS Counselling service so help isn't going to come at a high cost. Be aware there can be a waiting list for this service which is the only downfall when you feel like you need help now but opening up to a counsellor really helps when you can let those inner demons out.
If you don't want to wait for the NHS counselling then you can always look into private counselling and there are plenty of counselling options out there, if you're open to talking to people then they can recommend services to you. I know the private counselling route to be a lot quicker at being seen. In my experience you may find counsellors that don't work for you. The best counselling I had is with hypnotherapist, Mel. The way she guided me through my troubles and helped me understand was by far the best sessions I have had.
Mental health charities are another resource available to everyone. Each charity provides different services have a look around some of the main charities in the UK are Mind, CALM, Samaritans and Saneline but there are plenty about even charities that provide support for young people like Papyrus. If you look into your local charities they can also have branches in your town which can provide discounted and sometimes free counselling, training services and support for local communities and these local charities like South East and Central Essex Mind have provided the local community with support from training at businesses and sheltered housing for those who need a little help getting back on their feet to mental health training and therapy at their premises. These local charities do a lot and they are on your doorstep so consider donating to local charities too as they don't get funding from their national counterparts.
There are plenty of support groups out there, if you're happy to interact this way then it may be something you are happy to look into. I had a little look around but I haven't attended any myself.
If you have really hit a bad spot in life and find yourself in an emergency situation, your local hospital is always somewhere you can turn in a crisis. If you can get yourself to A&E then please go and get the help you need.
Everyone knows that there is a great connection between keeping fit and improving your mental health as well as the other health benefits of physical activity. Whether you go for a run, bike ride, swim or to the gym to name a few this is a great way to help, physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins.
Physical activity naturally gives you the chemicals your brain needs to help improve your mood.
I know when you're feeling low it's not always easy to have the get up and go and also sometimes the thought of fitness can be daunting from overcrowded gyms and meeting new people but there are many activities and you can always find something to suit you.
Some of my experiences:
Cycling is my favourite physical exercise. For me there is about 6.5 miles of cycle path along the seafront so I can enjoy a long or short bike ride depending how far I'd like to go and knowing I am on a cycle path I am safe to listen to my music all whilst taking in fresh air.
Running can be done alone, you can put your favourite music on and clear your mind if this is your thing. There are also events like Park Run which are a free weekly event which is for anyone and everyone. Check out https://www.parkrun.org.uk. If you become serious about running then there are running clubs you can also look into.
Swimming is another I enjoy and they do adult swims at pools normally of an evening which are not normally busy and you can enjoy a relaxing swim and get the physical exercise you need to help boost your mood.
This to me is important. Your hobbies and interests are a part of who you are. To lose these are to lose who you are. When you're low keeping your hobbies and interests become hard but you need to keep a hold of what you have, what makes you, you.
There are plenty of hobbies and interest out there and everyone is different so whether you enjoy model making, photography, movies, music, art, gaming or playing instruments for example these are all part of who you are. Keep a hold of what you enjoy doing and keep these a part of your life.
In my experience the deeper into depression I got the more I lost interest in the little things like these that I enjoyed, without realising I was losing who I was as a person feeling more and more empty. I found it hard to watch my favourite films but once I got my interest back my mental health changed for the better. I love my films and love the Marvel Cinematic Universe so now I watch plenty of movies, pretty much I chose watching a film over anything else now and I love the creativity of someones mind and the way they tell a story, how the director makes their mark on a film and how actors bring it to life all with the help of a fantastic crew and everyone involved.
If a hobby of yours is to read then look into some of the literature that is on offer. Often you can find reviews online aswell so you will have plenty to chose from. I did purchase a couple of books with the intention of reading but if like me your not a big reader be aware you may purchase these books to not even turn a page. But if you are a reader then have a look around and maybe if you're open to it, friends or family may be able to recommend to you too.
Cry if you need to, Let it out. Sometimes this is the best way to help let out what's getting you down. I've had a good cry and it has felt good to just let the emotions go.
Crying isn't bad but if you notice that you are crying for no reason, that you are crying very frequently, that it is affecting your day to day life or you find it has become uncontrollable then please speak to your doctor.
Most importantly when you are feeling low, look after yourself and please remember to seek further help if you need it.