Do something relaxing every day.
30 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because Of Your Depression
Sing, dance, and laugh--anything to burn off the energy. A healthy body can help you manage stress. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep, eat healthy food, stay hydrated and exercise regularly. Go easy on the caffeine. Shorting yourself on sleep, and especially pulling an all-nighter, robs you of energy and your ability to concentrate. A healthy diet improves your ability to learn. Don't skip breakfast.
Get support, whether from family, friends, your academic advisor, campus counseling center, or a trusted online community.
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A heart-to-heart talk with someone you trust can help you get rid of toxic feelings and may even give you a fresh perspective. If these steps don't bring relief, or if you are still unable to cope and feel as if the stress is affecting how you function every day, it could be something more acute and chronic--like depression. Don't let it go unchecked! If you think you might be depressed, take a depression screening. Print out the results or e-mail them to yourself and then show them to a counselor or doctor. To get help, start with your student health center or counseling service on campus.
Most community colleges provide limited free mental health services and can refer you to local providers for longer-term treatment. You can also talk to your family doctor. Remember, depression and other mental health conditions are nothing to be ashamed of. Depression is not a sign of weakness, and seeking help is a sign of strength.
Stressed or Depressed? Know the Difference
Telling someone you are struggling is the first step toward feeling better. You will need the help of a mental health professional to beat depression. Talk therapy, antidepressant medication or a combination can be very effective. In crisis? If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately.
Call TALK to reach a hour crisis center or dial for immediate assistance. Stressed or Depressed? Know the Difference Breadcrumb Home. Here are common signs of stress and depression. Which fits you best? Here are some constructive choices: Make a plan Figure out what is really causing the stress. Get the stress out Remember to take breaks when you feel worried or stuck.
Your gender. While 3 out of 4 sufferers of SAD are women, men often experience more severe symptoms. Your age. In most cases, winter SAD is first diagnosed in people aged 18 to 30 and is less likely to occur as you get older.
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Your family history. The changes in seasons can trigger mood changes in some people with bipolar disorder. Spring and summer may trigger symptoms of mania or hypomania, while the onset of fall and winter can bring on symptoms of depression. While the depression symptoms of SAD and bipolar disorder can look alike, there are significant differences, especially when it comes to treatment. See Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms. Seasonal depression can make it hard to motivate yourself to make changes, but there are plenty of steps you can take to help yourself feel better. By adopting healthy habits and scheduling fun and relaxation into your day, you can help lift the cloud of seasonal affective disorder and keep it from coming back.
Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun without wearing sunglasses but never stare directly at the sun.
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Sunlight, even in the small doses that winter allows, can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Regular exercise can boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals. In fact, exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication. Exercise can also help to improve your sleep and boost your self-esteem.
Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic. The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercise-such as walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancing-where you move both your arms and legs. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days. Even something as simple as walking a dog, for example, can be good exercise for you and the animal, as well as a great way to get outdoors and interact with other people. Call or email an old friend to meet for coffee.
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Or reach out to someone new —a work colleague or neighbor, for example. Most of us feel awkward about reaching out, but be the one to break the ice.
Join a support group for depression. Being with others who are facing the same problems can help reduce your sense of isolation and provide inspiration to make positive changes. Meet new people with a common interest by taking a class, joining a club, or enrolling in a special interest group that meets on a regular basis. Volunteer your time. Helping others is one of the best ways to feel better about yourself, expand your social network, and overcome SAD.
Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings. Whatever the time of year, too much stress can exacerbate or even trigger depression. Figure out the things in your life that stress you out , such as work overload or unsupportive relationships, and make a plan to avoid them or minimize their impact. Practicing daily relaxation techniques can help you manage stress, reduce negative emotions such as anger and fear, and boost feelings of joy and well-being.
Try yoga, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. Do something you enjoy or used to every day. Having fun is a great stress buster, so make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be painting, playing the piano, working on your car, or simply hanging out with friends. The mainstay of winter SAD treatment is light therapy, otherwise known as phototherapy.
Light therapy aims to replace the missing daylight of winter by exposing you to bright light that mimics natural outdoor light.
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Light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 percent of SAD cases. While tanning beds generate sufficient light, they should never be used to treat SAD as the UV rays they produce can be harmful to the skin and eyes. Light therapy has to be continued daily throughout the winter months to be effective. Starting light therapy before the onset of symptoms in the fall may even help prevent seasonal affective disorder. A light box delivers light that with up to ten times the intensity of normal domestic lighting.
In most cases, you simply sit about 12 inches in front of a 10,lux light box for 15 to 30 minutes each morning. The light box emits a controlled amount of white light, with harmful ultraviolet UV rays filtered out. Most people notice an improvement in their SAD symptoms after a few days and experience the full antidepressant effect in about two weeks. You can buy a light box without a prescription, although you may want to work with a professional to monitor the benefits of the treatment. While light therapy carries few side effects, consult your doctor about any eye or skin problems before using a light box.
Also, beware that light therapy may trigger a manic episode if you have bipolar disorder. A dawn simulator is a device that gradually increases the amount of light in your bedroom in the morning to simulate the rising sun and wake you up. The light gradually increases, just as natural sunlight does, over a period of 30 to 45 minutes. Instead of waking in darkness, you wake to what looks like a sunny morning.