With the ongoing coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic facing our world today, it’s increasingly difficult to remain positive. Everyday, our social media channels and friend group chats are bombarding us with negative news filled with disease, deaths, and fears about a recession. In the past 4 days, 500,000 Canadian workers filed for Employment Insurance benefits, as COVID-19 related job losses quickly piled up and companies from a wide range of industries announce even more layoffs.
Increasing Prevalence of Depression During Coronavirus
During this time of negativity and uncertainty, people of all ages are becoming more prone to depression and are losing hope in life. Some tend to rely on prescription medication to deal with such symptoms. Some antidepressants such as Zoloft and Prozac are known to lift up our moods. However, these medications come with side effects and can be quite expensive.
How to Overcome Depression Without Medication
Fortunately, it is possible to prevent such depression and anxiety symptoms without using prescription medication. Before making any decisions, it is recommended to first consult the doctor to get proper support and plan out some useful self-help strategies.
7 Tips to Reduce Depression Symptoms
1. Get plenty of sleep
Mood and sleep are interrelated. Less sleep is likely to have a negative impact on your mood, and vice versa. By maintaining a consistent sleep cycle and a cool, calm sleeping atmosphere, you should be able to receive sound sleep.
2. Reduce caffeine
Coffee, soda, tea, and chocolate contain caffeine. Therefore, they are better consumed between the morning and late afternoon to prevent interference with your sleep.
3. Get plenty of vitamin D
Deficiency in this essential nutrient also plays a significant role in depression. By spending time outdoors and following a healthy diet, we should have a sufficient amount of Vitamin D.
4. Be natural
There are many natural, dietary supplements available to treat moderate to mild depression. These supplements include S-adenosylmethionine, St. John’s Wort and 5-Hydroxytryptophan. However, patients are recommended to consult a healthcare professional first.
5. Practice spirituality
For many people suffering from depression, performing daily practices like yoga or meditation can help boost overall well-being and mood. Yoga and meditation also come with beneficial effects like stress reduction, mental clarity and mindfulness.
6. Exercise more
When it comes to exercising, low-intensity workouts for 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference for pain patients. Exercising outdoor is even more beneficial as there is plenty of sunshine and fresh air for those suffering from SAD (Seasonal affective disorder).
7. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol acts as a depressant and affects sleep quality and good health. It only worsens the symptoms of depression and reduces inhibitions. It may feel good at the moment, but it can lead to poor decisions and risky behaviors that cause long term consequences.
The reality of depression
Living with depression can make life quite frustrating and miserable. In modern times, depression is usually treated with a mix of medication and therapy. The symptoms of depression can vary widely from person to person. According to Medical News Today, gender also plays an important role in what depression might feel like to them.
What does living with depression feel like?
1. Constant battle with emotions
Living with depression can be a constant battle with the inner self. The person is likely to experience a wide range of emotions, from happy and calm to sad and angry, and everything in between. The anxious mind can concern itself about every prevailing situation, while the depressed mind does not bother because nothing really matters.
2. Self isolation
Negative stereotypes about depression may deter the person from speaking out about his or her experiences. Despite a yearning to discuss with someone about a horrible week they are having, they resist the urge in fear of being viewed in a negative light or letting down their friends and family. Instead, they stay in isolation and refrain from getting external support.
3. Feeling worthless
The person may care about everything and perhaps nothing simultaneously. Since most people suffer from anxiety and depression at the same time, they may not find any peace within. Anxiety may create uneasiness and cause dissatisfaction, while depression does not allow the person to even get away from bed. The latter only makes the person feel worthless about themselves, while anxiety causes the person to feel bad about letting life slip out of their hands.
4. Tiredness and difficulty sleeping
Physical symptoms can be possible if depression is left untreated, leading to difficulty sleeping. This makes the person feel constantly tired and yet unable to obtain good sleep due to constant overthinking. Physical symptoms can be eliminated with antidepressants and therapy, but it can be challenging and take time.
5. Never-ending cycle of depression
Often, depressed people feel like they are stuck in some vicious, never-ending cycle of negativity. This self-feeding, vicious cycle starts with low energy, fatigue, and a loss of interest in previous hobbies, which leads to decreased activity and a disregard for responsibilities. Lastly, it leads to guilt and hopelessness, which cycles back again to low energy.
Living with depression and anxiety can be troublesome. Fortunately, the symptoms are reversible as outlined above. Try some of these strategies out and evaluate how you feel before and after in a daily journal. For example, you might find that you feel a little better after low-intensity workouts but worse after meditating. The important thing is to persist – keeping your mind and body moving is the first step to breaking out of the vicious cycle of depression.