Depression has affected all of us at one time or another. Whether you personally have struggled, or felt powerless as a loved one did, this mental health crisis is something we all have felt collectively. This October is National Depression Awareness Month and is the perfect time to incorporate better habits in our lives to improve both our mental and physical health. Using healthy coping mechanisms is the best way to regulate your mental health and to offset feelings of depression. Here are some effective habits you should consider in honor of National Depression Awareness Month.
Gratitude and Connection
It is important to come back down to earth when living in such a busy, fast paced world. Reflecting on our relationships helps to bring us gratitude and connection. Depression can cause us to distance ourselves from others, straining the relationships we value. At times, this distance is unconscious as we don’t intend to hurt others while we’re hurting. This month, make it a priority to reconnect with your loved ones. This could look like daily gratitude affirmations, journaling, or simply just spending time with the people you care about. They could use this just as much as you can. It is important to recognize the relationship to self is just as important, so do not forget to reconnect with and care for yourself this October.
Staying away from Alcohol
Alcohol is categorized as a depressant but is commonly used as a coping tool for depression. The consumption of alcohol is so normalized within our culture, despite the problematic and destructive effects of it. If you drink when you’re sad or hurting just once, chances are that you will drink the next time you feel down. People turn to alcohol for an escape from reality, not knowing the horrible cycle they will be entering. Heavy drinking has horrible effects on your brain’s cognition. It impairs your decision making, leaves you feeling unmotivated and drained, and can isolate you from your loved ones. Refraining from drinking alcohol is extremely beneficial for your mental health, especially for those with depression. If you are struggling with your drinking, consider staying sober for the month of October. You will notice the major improvements on your mental and physical health and could decide to cut it out completely.
Healthy eating habits and exercise
Having a routine of moving our bodies and being mindful of what we eat is another effective way to offset depression. Studies show that just 30 minutes of exercise a day is all that is needed to significantly boost your mood and get those feel-good hormones pumping. Your choice of exercise does not need to be hardcore. Choose whatever makes you feel the best, whether that’s taking a walk-in nature, a bike ride, yoga, weightlifting, or running. So, try starting your morning with a 30-minute exercise of your choice and see how the rest of your day goes. Eating healthy, nutritious food can aid in the reduction of depression. Eating healthy does not have to be about losing weight or making changes to your appearance, it is about properly fueling your body to take on the day. Mindful eating can be fun, it is not a punishment! This month, research some nutritious recipes and have fun cooking them for yourself and/or others. It may be hard to start a new, healthy habit when you are feeling depressed, but remember that you deserve to feel motivated and at peace. This October, show yourself some self-love, and prove to yourself that you can make positive changes in your life.
Bottling up our emotions does much more harm than good, it puts us even further from our goals of feeling better. If you are struggling with depression, be open to receiving perspective, knowledge, and support from a professional. There is so much shame and stigma attached to depression, making it hard to ask for help. At Healed and Educated, we believe getting the help you need is one of the bravest things you can do. We provide both group and one-on-one sessions of mental health counseling/therapy that are accessible for all. Services at Healed and Educated are affordable, client centered, integrative and holistic, and 100% virtual. Your therapist will collaborate with you to help you get to where you want to be.
If you are in NC, Healed and Educated provided Telehealth therapy services. If you are interested in therapy services CLICK HERE to learn more.
If you are somewhere else, or you want other affordable options you can search using the following”
OpenPathCollective.com – Therapists on this site offers services and promise to maintain prices between $40 to $70 to ensure affordability and access to mental health care
Loveland Foundation – This is a Non-Profit agency that has a therapy fund to make Therapy more accessible to black women. If you are a black woman, you can join their mailing list and when they open their funding application (every 3 months), you are welcome to apply.
Of course you should check with your doctor about any specific exercise plans and regiments. If they give the okay, then you can possibly consider looking into these Workout Subscriptions
The Author: Amanda Morgan
This article was written by Amanda Morgan. Any questions concerning the article should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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