With the New Year just around the corner, it’s important to manage stress and depression as we continue to move forward in 2019. The following tips, provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, can help you minimize stress and depression as the New Year gets underway.
1. Take More Walks
Exercise is good for those living with depression, and walking is one of the easiest, most accessible ways to incorporate exercise into your regular routine. In fact, many studies have examined the efficacy of exercise to reduce symptoms of depression, and the overwhelming majority of these studies have described a positive benefit associated with exercise involvement.
2. Set Aside Time to Unplug
Whether you scroll through Facebook, Instagram or other social media feeds several times a day, or you find yourself only communicating via text, it’s important to disconnect and have some time away from technology. While the world may be largely driven by computers, that doesn’t mean you should let your devices dictate your life or happiness. You don’t have to give up all your technology cold turkey. Rather, start off small by setting aside your phone and tablet for an hour each day. During this time, do something else, such as reading a book or writing in a journal.
3. Be Nicer to Yourself and Others
When you’re in a depressive episode, it can be easy to shut off from the world. Sometimes, we need to do this for our own well-being, especially if we’ve had a stressful day or we’re feeling emotionally drained. But when it becomes a pattern, we can get detached and a bit uncaring towards those around us. It’s been proven that helping others actually helps you, so as challenging as it seems to put others’ needs before your own when you’re depressed, try it in small doses. For instance, try helping a friend, coworker or neighbor who might be struggling.
4. Communicate Your Needs More Openly
With depression, it’s essential to have a support system in place. Identify the people in your life you trust, and if you haven’t shared your diagnosis with them, it might be beneficial to do so. Then, you can practice communicating your needs. Try writing down a list of what you may need in certain scenarios, and walk them through those needs so others can more easily support you.
5. Be Aware of How Your Symptoms Affect Others
Changes in mood and behavior can make everyday life challenging for people with depression and those around them. Recognize your symptoms whenever you experience triggers or heightened stress, and take note of how they may be affecting others. Keeping a written log can also help. This way, the next time you want to isolate or you find yourself becoming agitated or irritable, you can remind yourself not to lash out on a friend or loved one.
Conclusion: Have Realistic Expectations
Depression is a serious medical condition. You wouldn’t expect someone recovering from a heart attack to suddenly jump out of bed with a list of “new beginnings” because the date on the calendar changed – and you certainly can’t expect the same of yourself. If you’re attempting any kind of change in the New Year, be realistic with yourself. You might fail, so be prepared to pick yourself back up and try again the next day. As long as you’re trying, however that may look for you, you’re succeeding.