The Dos And Do Nots Of Depression

The Dos And Do Nots Of Depression

What you should and shouldn't do in managing your depression.

As a young woman who has struggled with depression for many years, I've discovered many different ways to handle (and NOT handle) depression.

DON'T stay in bed all day.

Depression's favorite thing to do is tempt you to stay in bed all day. Everything feels pointless anyway, right? Wrong.

While there's no shame in taking a personal, lazy day as a break from your busy life once in a while, laying around doing nothing all day only feeds into your depression- even though it's the only thing you want to do. The more time you spend alone with your thoughts, the more depressed you will feel. The unoccupied mind overthinks. Avoid it.

DO surround yourself with friends and family.

Ask your closest family members, friends, or co-workers to go out and do something fun together- even if that's exactly what you DON'T want to do. It will distract your mind, and a change of scenery is always beneficial to the brain.

Call up your best friend and go out to your favorite restaurant together, or to do your favorite activity: shopping, going to the beach, hiking, etc. Force yourself to go out. You'll feel better because of it.

DON'T drink alcohol.

Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it will only bring you down more.

Turning to alcohol as a way to deal with depression is not only unhealthy physically, mentally, and emotionally, it can also lead to alcoholism, which is an easy way to ruin your life and possibly die.

DO drink water.

The human body is 80% water, so your body needs a lot of it! Drinking a lot of water each day not only keeps you healthy and hydrated, but keeps you feeling good- compared to sugary fruit juices, coffees, and sodas, which can make you feel bloated and overall blah.

DON'T use unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Drinking alcohol is not the only unhealthy coping mechanism people turn to, although it may be one of the most common or obvious. Others may seem harmless, like sleeping much more than usual, or overeating. Eating and sleeping too much or too little are big symptoms of depression. Any sudden changes in your sleeping or eating habits are not a good sign. As long as you continue these habits, you will feel depressed. More extreme unhealthy coping mechanisms include drug use or even suicide attempts.

If you experience any suicidal thoughts or actions, please seek help or call this hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

DO use healthy coping mechanisms.

A very healthy coping mechanism is exercising (but not over exercising!) because it releases "feel good" hormones into the brain, which counteracts the physiological aspect of depression.

If you're a beginner, go for a walk around the block or on a hike with a friend. If you're a go-getter, join a local gym and talk to a physical fitness instructor there. Even though depression makes it seem impossible some days to get out of bed, and even more impossible to be physically active, the adrenaline you get from exercising will make you feel much better.

Another helpful coping mechanism involves finding an outlet for your emotions, whether it be creative: writing, taking pictures, painting, scrapbooking, or otherwise: using a punching bag or a stress ball, will help you release pent-up emotions. Channel your energy creatively. It's fun, productive, and will occupy your mind.

DON'T keep it inside.

If you're suffering from depression, it's easy to feel like you're all alone and that no one understands how you feel. But trust me, you're not alone. The World Health Organization has found that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. That's 5% of the global population.

Not to say that your case isn't unique. Everyone feels emotions differently, and everyone deals with them differently. My advice is to confide how you're feeling in a parent, sibling, or other close family member or best friend. The first step to solving any problem is admitting the problem exists. Speaking your feelings aloud helps you accept and work on them.

DO seek help.

Once you have confided in at least one person you trust how you are feeling, the next step may be to seek professional help. Keep in mind this isn't for everyone. But if you're feeling depressed and want to get better, talk to your primary care physician, and if they deem it necessary, they will refer you to a therapist or psychiatrist. (Therapists cannot administer medication; psychiatrists can.)

I'm not saying everyone who is depressed should go get on anti-depressants. But when you talk to your doctor about your symptoms, they will be able to officially diagnose you with depression, or may say that's not what it is at all. Other physical and physiological factors can go into giving you similar symptoms to depression, and your doctor will be able to identify that.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Being Hungry Sucks, No Kid Hungry Is Here To Save The Day

Hunger can be caused by many different things.

We all know that without proper nourishment our bodies can gain a host of problems, some of them being a “weakened immune system, physical and mental stunting, [and an] increased risk of diabetes.”

Hunger can be caused by many different things; living in a food desert, poverty, climate change or natural disasters to name a few. In the US alone, one in six children goes hungry every day. In my opinion, it’s the children that are most vulnerable because they don’t have the ability to gain access to the many social programs in place to help defeat their hunger without an adult.

In order to help the children in America who struggle with hunger, there is a program called No Kid Hungry based in our nation’s capital. At No Kid Hungry, there are multiple programs already in place to ensure children are receiving the nourishment their bodies and minds need to grant them success.

The programs are:

1. School Breakfast

Many kids do not get the chance to eat a healthy breakfast before heading off to school in the morning. Without a proper breakfast, children struggle to focus in school and therefore their grades can be impacted negatively. Since the launch of the school breakfasts with No Kid Hungry, 2.8 million additional children are being served breakfast at the beginning of the school day with their classmates.

2. Summer Meals

Children who rely on discounted or free school lunches to fill their bellies often times struggle to continue receiving proper nourishment during the summer when school is no longer in session. As a result, No Kid Hungry has implemented the Summer Meals program where children can receive free meals at schools and community centers all summer long. However, some sites have limited hours of operation, can be difficult to get to, or may be closed during severe weather. In order to help make meals available to every child at every time of day no matter the circumstances, No Kid Hungry is working to introduce mobile meals delivery.

3. Afterschool Meals

Children who come from impoverished families and neighborhoods often times only have access to the free lunch they receive at school, making it their first and sometimes last meal of the day. With Afterschool Meals children are guaranteed to go meals to be satisfied.

4. Food Skills Education

Although school meals are helping children, one of the best ways to help them is to educate their parents and guardians on “how to shop for and cook healthy affordable meals.” In order to educate the public in different ways (no one learns the same) the Food Skills Education programs teach through the use of “interactive grocery store tours, hands-on cooking classes, smartphone apps and other resources – all free, and all run through trusted local community programs.” Through the program, a staggering 464,000 families have learned how to shop smarter and cook healthier.

All of these programs are amazing on their own right, but it takes more than just offering these programs in select cities to truly end childhood hunger. How can you help? Well, for starters you can make a donation. You can also be an advocate and if you're a parent or teacher, you can work on bringing No Kid Hungry to your community. You can start a fundraiser, attend an event, and speak up for kids by contacting your local and national government officials to protect the programs already in place such as SNAP.

So, how will you help?


Cover Image Credit: pexels

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13 Life Hacks That Will Help You Live A Happier Life

Simplicity and prevention are keys to a happier life.

A piece of advice I often hear from my mother is that simplicity is always best. It was only when I began to truly mature that I realized the utter truth in this, and began adapting it to all aspects of my life, something that I think has made me an overall happier person. Another great piece of advice from my mother is that prevention is always best. I really began to put these pieces of advice into practice during my last two years of high school, and I realized that some little things I changed really helped my overall happiness:

1. Sleep well

I can’t stress the importance of this. Helps you focus, helps your mood, you are 100% more productive and at the moment during the day. Is something I am constantly underestimating, and possibly the point on this list that I struggle the most to live by, but when I do it really makes a difference.

2. Achievable to do lists

There is nothing more frustrating than thinking you didn’t achieve anything after a day of work. Sometimes its just because you are a terrible procrastinator, but it can also be due to too high goals. Start small, make the first point something you can easily tick off, this will motivate you to do the rest.

3. Exercise

Positive endorphins are released, you get to burn off your stress and you live an overall more healthy life.

4. Eat before you get too hungry

Hunger physically hurts, you aren’t able to concentrate and your bad mood bothers those around you.

5. Drink water

Do you sometimes get weird headaches that seem to come from nowhere? Could be dehydration.

6. Gum in your bag

For when you are feeling sleepy but can’t take a nap or when you don’t have time to brush your teeth but have a terrible taste in your mouth.

7. Pretty and comfortable clothes

Itchy sweaters, skirts that you constantly have to pull down and jeans whose zippers are constantly opening are all small contributors to a bad mood.

8. Ask help when you need it

Know when you are out of your depth and instead of becoming increasingly frustrated while trying to do something ask for help.

9. Know your support system

From the friends and family you can rely on to having your doctor’s office’s address and telephone number within easy access, you will find you will stress less about some things going wrong because you are more prepared to deal with disasters and accidents.

10. Eat healthily

I don’t believe in going to extremes such as cutting junk food off completely, but a balanced diet has done wonders for my mood.

11. Take medicine when you feel bad

This goes for an occasional headache or having a cough drop if you feel a cold coming on, for more serious things obviously go see a doctor.

12. Don’t hold your pee

It's unhealthy, it hurts and is terribly distracting.

13. Write everything down

Write things down as you remember so you don’t have to depend on your memory.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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