For many suffering from depression, stress can be an easy and constant trigger that brings many symptoms to surface. These symptoms can include over-eating, sleeping too much, not sleeping enough and various emotional highs and lows.
Being a college student struggling to find my way in the world can be stressful so adding depression to that can often make for a troublesome and highly emotionally unstable situation. There are many ways to relieve stress and prevent depression from taking over my life on a daily basis.
My counselor, who I have been seen for the last few months, has advised me a few key things to do when sensing that my depression is worsening.
1) Develop supportive relationships. One of the easiest things to do while depressed is shut down and block out everyone that offers to help. Recently I woke up and realized that almost every friend I had once had was gone. They left because I shut down and no longer nurtured my relationship with them. I allowed my depression to destroy open communication. The easiest way I have learned to build relationships and to help my depression is to talk to one person about how you are feeling, schedule weekly meet-ups with someone you trust, confide in a counselor and go for a walk with a work-out buddy.
2) Challenge negative thinking and stop it instantly. Once you get yourself thinking negatively about yourself or an aspect of your life it can easily make depression worse. Sometimes I would send myself into full-fledged panic attacks because of the negative thoughts I allowed myself to think. The hardest thing was learning how to stop those thoughts dead in their tracks before they could resonate. To counteract the negative thoughts, it’s important to allow yourself to be less than perfect, socialize with people who are positive, think outside of yourself and stop being so hard on yourself. Keep a log of all negative thoughts so that, when in a better mood, you can reevaluate that thought.
3) Be healthy. While depression can cause overeating, lack of energy and motivation and bad sleeping habits, it is very important to combat those urges and do the opposite. Get eight hours of sleep, allow for some time in the sunlight, identify the stressors in your life and make a plan to minimize them and relax. It can often be difficult to maintain health while busy or not feeling like yourself. Over the last few years I’ve gained more weight than I anticipated and it really made me feel lousy about myself and hate my depression for the times I let myself overeat to make myself feel better in the moment. Learning how to avoid this is a constant and consistent battle for me daily.
4) Get a regulated exercise routine. Getting your adrenaline pumping and doing activities that can make you feel more confident about yourself can be a great pick-me-up. The important thing I’ve learned is to make sure you have a good friend or family member with you that will be positive and encouraging.
5) Eat well. It is really important to get your B vitamin, minimize the amount of sugar intake and don’t skip any meals. The more junk food I eat, energy drinks I drink and meals I don’t take time for, the worse I would feel throughout the day. Without proper nutrition it’s hard to stabilize your mood since food has a direct impact on how you feel.
Over the next few months I hope to address each of these topics specifically and relate them to everyday situations. The most important thing is to realize when you need more help. I finally realize it myself about a year ago and since then my depression has been more under control, I feel more confident and I know how to deal with my depression. I hope that through my stories and experiences that I can help you if you may be struggling.
Check out a few of these websites to help answering any question you may have about depression. If you or someone you love is suffering from depression there are a lot of ways to help.