by Tonya J. Williams
July 21, 2020
LGBT Center of Raleigh Statement: Tonya J. Williams returns to the Center Blog to give some insight on ways she has coped with depression, and we hope you find them helpful. As always additional resources on mental health can be found on our website, and we advise you to follow guidelines of your mental health care professional.
Many people who suffer from depression take medication as their treatment regimen at some point. However, there are many other ways to manage depression.
Number one: it is important to stay connected to family and friends. The crucial issue here is being connected to people who make you feel safe and supported. You can attend a movie, concert, play or other outing with them. You can meet them for lunch, coffee, or lemonade. In person meetings are important as they require you to get up and groom yourself.
Number two: it is critical to engage in regular exercise. Exercise should consist of continuous and rhythmic movement. You can walk, swim, dance, engage in martial arts or do a variety of other things for exercise. You can partner with someone to fight procrastination and the blues.
Number three: you should push yourself to do things you enjoy. You can pick up an old hobby, play a sport, take a trip to a museum, or engage in some creative expression like music, art, or poetry.
It is also nice to create a “Wellness Toolbox.” This consists of a grouping of things that you really enjoy and that you can do daily. Some things for your “Wellness Toolbox” can be spending time outside, reading a good book, watching a funny movie, taking a bath, playing with a pet, listening to music, or talking to family and friends. Doing a few of these things each day will help you fight off depression.
Number four: you should eat a healthy diet. Diet may play a role in fighting depression. It is important to reduce or eliminate your alcohol intake, caffeine consumption and intake of trans fat and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives and hormones. You should not skip meals and it is important to minimize sugar and refined carbs. Mood can be boosted by foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins.
Number five: you should get a daily dose of sunlight. You can exercise outside. You should expose yourself to at least 15 minutes of sunlight. Also, your house can be set up to maximize your exposure to natural light.
Number six: you should challenge negative thinking. This can be done in a variety of ways. Among other things, you should avoid all or nothing thinking. You should also avoid over generalizations like, “I’m a total failure.” Finally, it is important to identify negative thoughts and ask yourself, are they true?
Number seven: take good care of your overall health. Be sure to improve your sleep, practice relaxation techniques, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and meditation.