Tips for Living With Depression

From your career and relationships to your sleeping and eating habits, depression affects every aspect of your life. Whether you’re dealing with major depressive order or a related condition like obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), your condition undoubtedly impacts you and your loved ones—but, luckily, there are ways you can help manage your symptoms and live a fulfilling life with depression.

Keep your support network close.

Even when you’d like nothing more than to isolate yourself in a blanket burrito, it’s important to keep your friends and family around as much as you can. If you’re not up to actually spending time together, they’ll likely get worried if you disappear for a while, especially if that means missing plans you might have already made. Letting them know that you’re struggling not only gives them a heads up, but lets them support you as you push through. Discuss a crisis plan when you can spare the spoons so they’ll know how they can best help you, whether that’s by sending over distractions, like funny memes or cute animal photos, or simply lending a shoulder to cry on.

Consider medication.

Your doctor may suggest a prescription for medication such as Sertraline hcl, which is used to treat depression and related conditions. It might not be the right fit for everyone, but many people find that medication provides unprecedented relief from mental health concerns, helping them to live a happier, more “normal” life. If you’re concerned about costs, a source like USARx can help you find discounted prescription medications.

Try meditation.

Research shows that implementing a meditation routine can help patients cope with anxiety and stress. Sit and focus your attention on your breath for a few minutes, returning to that focus whenever your mind starts to wander. Not sure if you can clear your mind without a little guidance? Search “meditation” or “mindfulness” in your mobile device’s app store or head to YouTube for free guided meditations.

Communicate with your healthcare provider.

If you’re able, visiting a mental healthcare provider is one of the best ways to help combat depression. Talking to a therapist or psychiatrist can not only give you an understanding ear to listen to what’s going on but can help you to see your symptoms—and solutions—in a new light. Mobile apps are even available, offering teletherapy if you can’t get to an in-person appointment.

Put together a crisis kit.

If you’re struggling with depression, it can help to have items on hand that make you smile or that treat your symptoms more directly. Keep any medication or contact information for mental health professionals or hotlines in an accessible spot. Add in a few things that bring you joy, like an especially fuzzy blanket or a favorite sort of tea to make a bout of depression just a little bit easier. You can even put together a digital version! Download some relaxing apps to your mobile device, like #SelfCare or your go-to source for meditations.

Adding an album of smile-inducing photos is a great addition to any mental health crisis kit. Save your favorite memes, pictures of your pet (or a friend’s), and snapshots of happy memories to scroll through when life gets to be too much. Worried about taking up too much storage space on your phone or hard drive? Check out ibi, a product that will not only help you manage your endless photos and videos but provides free photo storage to keep all your happiest pictures at hand and ready to cheer you up.

Revamp your diet and exercise regimens.

Elle Woods’ classic Legally Blonde line rings true: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” That same sort of physical activity can increase serotonin and dopamine levels. These neurotransmitters can help to regulate your mood. Certain foods, too, can help you increase these “happy chemicals” and, in turn, help to combat symptoms of depression.

Armed with these tips for living with depression, you can improve your quality of life and minimize the negative effects of your diagnosis.