If you are feeling mildly depressed but are able to function well in important areas of your life (work, home, family, etc.) you may want to try a few self-help methods that may create significant improvement.
Some helpful tips for mild depression:
1) Get enough sleep. Try to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time each day. Computer time, video games and television before bedtime can all contribute to initial insomnia, so give yourself a minimum of one hour to relax, unplugged from technology. Make sure that you get up on time, get dressed and get going. It’s important to complete daily routines, even when we feel unmotivated or blue.
2) Begin a routine of regular aerobic exercise (walking or jogging, for example) for at least 20 to 30 minutes per day. Studies have shown that this one change may improve mild depressive symptoms as much as medication or therapy.
3) Eat healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, and a daily multivitamin). Consider reducing your intake of sugar, white flour and processed foods. Avoid alcohol, which is chemically, a depressant. Continued use of alcohol has been proven to create chemical changes in the brain, which intensifies mood swings, irritability and depressed mood.
4) Connect with other people. A common response to depression is the tendency to isolate. Participate in social activities and consider opportunities to help others through volunteer work.
5) Focus on the positive in yourself and the situation. When we are depressed, we frequently give ourselves all sorts of negative messages. What we think–our self talk–powerfully impacts the way we feel and view the world. Try writing down some of the things you find yourself thinking, and then write down a more positive rebuttal message. Practice giving yourself positive messages instead of negative ones. You may be surprised by how effective this is.
If after practicing these tips for several days, you continue to experience depressed mood, contact me for further assessment at (952)484-3509. There are times when we all need support beyond what we can offer ourselves. Invest in your care and well being–you’re worth it!
Lisa Knudson, LICSW
Chaska Counseling and Guidance, LLC
562 Bavaria Lane
Chaska, MN 55318