5 Proven Strategies for Battling Depression and Improving Mental WellbeingMar 02, 2023
Hi there, I'm Shelly Qualtieri, a registered social worker in Calgary and the owner of Shelly Qualtieri & Associates - Counselling & Coaching. I have been helping people deal with depression for many years and have seen amazing results when the right strategies are used. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 280 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and in this blog post, I want to share five proven strategies that can help you battle depression and improve your mental well-being. Let's get started!
1) Exercise Regularly - It might be tempting to stay on the couch when you're feeling down, but research has shown regular physical activity can reduce symptoms of depression. Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that boost mood and reduce stress. I understand exercise can be intimidating, but if we shift our perspective on physical activity, it will become a much more pleasant experience. It's important to find an exercise activity you enjoy doing, that makes you feel good about yourself, and your body; try going for a run, joining a yoga class, or even just taking a walk around your neighborhood each day. Make the goal not about counting calories but about improving your quality of life and mental health
2) Get Enough Sleep - This can be difficult , especially if you have kids or busy work schedules but numerous studies have shown sleep quality is linked to increased levels of depression and according to John Hopkins researcher Patrick H. Finan, Ph.D.
“Poor sleep may create difficulties regulating emotions that, in turn, may leave you more vulnerable to depression in the future—months or even years from now."
So, let's make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night; avoid screens at least 1-hour before bedtime, establish a consistent sleep routine, and create an environment that promotes restful sleep, such as keeping your bedroom dark and quiet.
3) Connect With Loved Ones - Having strong social connections is essential for good mental health; reach out to family and friends regularly. It may be difficult in this modern day and age, but try your very best to make plans to get together face-to-face. If that's not possible, utilize technology and schedule a FaceTime call or just pick up the phone for a chat. Recognizing you are not alone can be hugely beneficial for managing the intense emotions associated with depression.
4) Combat Stress - Anxiety can be a crippling source of depression, no matter your circumstances. Whether it's due to the pressure of work or an exhausting family life, many people find it difficult to set aside time for themselves. However, carving out moments in each day is essential, prioritize self-care even amidst busy schedules! I want to encourage you every day to find time to take it easy; engage in mindfulness practices like meditation or journaling; spend some quality time outdoors; or do activities that please you, such as listening to music or watching your favorite comfort show on Netflix.
5) Seek Professional Help - If you feel like your symptoms of depression are unmanageable or overwhelming, seeking professional help is advised; talk-therapy with a counsellor can help provide strategies to manage difficult emotions and provide long-term solutions for reducing symptoms of depression.
Overcoming depression can be a long and difficult process. Now, not going to pretend it is easy or something that can be solved by reading one blog post on the internet. However, with regular exercise, sufficient sleep, support from family and friends, mindfulness techniques to reduce stress levels, and maybe even the support of a professional, you can take the steps needed to manage your depression and feel better. Should the challenge become too great, seeking expert advice may provide many benefits in addressing associated difficulties with depression. If you're apprehensive about what to ask a therapist when scheduling a session, here are some questions that can help.
- What type of therapy do you recommend for depression?
- How long does it typically take to see progress in therapy for depression?
- What is a plan you can help me develop to manage my depression?
- Will you give me homework or practice that will help me progress even when I'm not in sessions?
If you feel you need additional support to manage your depression and you’re in the Calgary area, or if you're looking for support virtually, in person or by phone please do not hesitate to reach out for counselling today! Together, we can work toward a plan to bring you the peace and clarity you deserve.
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