The current time in the face of the pandemic can be quite challenging, especially if one is dealing with uncertainty of job/career, educational prospects or marital aspirations, even pure disillusionment about the future being an ambitious youth.
Such situations can be fertile ground for the onset of depression. The fact is, depression itself can make everything feel more challenging that it it really is. Simple tasks, such as socialising, attending work/school obligations, can appear Herculean if one is experiencing depression. However, there are some things one can do to cope with symptoms of depression and improve one’s quality of life.
Verywellmind, an online portal certified by ‘Health on the net’, which provides up-to-date information and advise compiled by qualified writers, from physicians to mindfulness experts, suggest the following tips for dealing with depression:
Build a support network
Simply brooding or lamenting over a problem doesn’t help in improving the situation or your state of mind. It is a good idea to build ties with friends or family and discuss your problem. One also has the option of calling up local mental health helplines and seeking advice or joining mental health forums to draw insights from other people’s sharing. There are many online forums in Oman that offer help and support – wwwpsychcovid19oman.com is one such psychological support service initiative done with the support of the National Youth Commission.
Remember, stress is part and parcel of modern living and everyone is subject to some level of stress while trying to meet deadlines, deliver tasks, achieve targets or adjust to new situations/people/environments – so you are not alone. We cannot alleviate stress from our life but we can devise ways to reduce it or cope with it.
When under stress, the 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. But in the long run, it can pose problems like depression. Hence, it is important the reduce stress using various techniques, from meditation to getting involved in extracurricular activities and new hobbies to keep your self busy and the mind diverted from the stress-causing factors.
Improve your sleep hygiene
Sleep and mood are intimately related. A 2014 study found that 80% of people with major depressive disorder experience sleep disturbances. 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. So, turn off electronics at least an hour before you go to bed. Use a dim light to read a book or engage in another relaxing activity. Doing work in bed, or even in your bedroom, can cause you to associate your bed with stress, rather than relaxation. So, reserve your bed only for sleep.
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 has become mainstream.
There are many brain-essential nutrients that can affect depression. For example, a 2012 study found that zinc deficiency increases symptoms of depression. But before you make any major changes to your diet or begin taking vitamins or supplements, it is good to talk with your physician.
Stop negative thoughts
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 Behavioural Therapy works to alter common patterns of negative thinking called cognitive distortions to eliminate depression. There are also many self-help books, apps, and online guides that can help you learn how to change your unhealthy thinking patterns.
Take charge of daily chores
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. Hence, take control of your daily chores. Start small and work on one project at a time. Getting up and moving can help you start to feel better in itself. But, seeing your progress in the home can be key to helping you feel better. Additionally, take up a fitness activity, to keep yourself active.
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