Life’s pressures, too little sleep, or suffering a loss or disappointment can all affect your moods and emotional health. Small or large setbacks can seem like the end of the world. If your feelings of sadness, irritability or hopelessness don’t go away, it could be depression. If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, you’re not alone. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, and it’s treatable, usually through counseling, medication, lifestyle changes, or all three.
These tips may help lift your mood and feel better:
Talk to someone. Support is critical if you’re feeling down. Friends and family members may be able to help you cope, overcome a sense of isolation, and increase your sense of self-worth.
Set goals. It can be hard to get going if you’re feeling depressed. Set small, manageable goals each day to help boost your self-confidence that you can reach your goals.
Exercise—this should be a part of your goal. Simple activities like walking around your neighborhood or taking your dog to the park may help lift your mood.
Set a sleep schedule. Depression can cause you to sleep more or less than is recommended. Strive to go to bed the same time each night, and wake up at the same time every morning. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep.
Stick to a healthy diet. The diet that helps keep you physically healthy is the same one that helps keep you mentally and emotionally healthy. And while there are certain foods linked to boosting brain function, memory and mood, in general, opt to limit sugary, high-fat and processed foods. Stick to lean meats, fish and low-fat dairy products and make fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains the centerpiece of your meals.
Find time for fun. Think about any activity that has the power to lift your mood even a little. Is it being out in nature and gazing at the rippling stream? Watching a baseball game with a friend? Whatever sparks joy, build these activities into your life on a regular basis.
Create a routine. People who are feeling depressed often lack routine, but adhering to daily routines is critical to help you get out of the rut of negative thoughts and feeling overwhelmed by life. Incorporate the tips above into your daily or weekly routine, preferably at the same time. Cumulatively, these actions may help you defeat depression.
For Health Advocate members
- If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our EAP+Work/Life Program and have been feeling down, depressed, worried or anxious for a prolonged period of time, call us. Talking to a Health Advocate Licensed Professional Counselor can help you with coping strategies and find resources and referrals for further assistance.
- If you’re a Health Advocate member with our Advocacy services, contact us to speak with a Personal Health Advocate who specializes in behavioral health. The Personal Health Advocate can help you identify resources for help.