When You're Feeling Blue...
Everyone has sad days. Everyone has times when things are really tough. You may not be experiencing clinical depression, but you can definitely feel yourself getting pretty down. On this page, we've put together some suggestions to help ward off the blues. Don't stay in bed
It's best to get up and on with your normal day as soon as you wake up - whether this is going to work, school or university, or meeting up friends or family. If you are based at home, it may help to go outside for a while and engage in some physical activity (such as walking to get the newspaper). Avoid napping during the day, as it upsets your body clock and makes it harder to fall asleep at night.
Meet with friends
Even though you may not feel like socialising, it's important that you continue to talk to your family and friends. Phone them to talk, or organise to meet them for a social event, such as going to a movie. If you remain isolated, there's a greater risk of you developing depression.
Plan everyday to do at least one activity that you would normally find enjoyable, interesting, relaxing or satisfying (this may be reading, listening to music, watching movies, going to the beach or a park, gardening, taking part in sports, or seeing friends). These activities are important in overcoming the blues. At first you might not find them as enjoyable as you normally would, but if you persist, the enjoyment will eventually return.
Meeting up with and talking to friends may help if you're feeling blue.Photo: Shafiqul Alam
Deal with the stress in your life
If you feel yourself getting stressed about something, take time out. Go for a walk, play sports, let off some steam. You might want to learn some breathing exercises or take up meditation.
Keep your eyes open
If you start feeling worse, or you've been feeling miserable for more than two weeks, you may be experiencing depression. It's important that you act early and let someone know how you're feeling.
Why use both psychological treatments and medications?
-Medical research clearly shows the effects of depression and anxiety on both the body and the mind.
-Many of the body's most fundamental systems are disrupted. These include:
*Your central nervous system (i.e. brain function);
*Your sleep-wake cycle;
*Your hormonal system;
*Your stress response system;
*Your immune system; and,
*Your gastrointestinal (gut) system.
-When you are depressed or anxious you feel physically unwell.
-Irrespective of how each person gets depressed, psychological treatments and medications may each help to relieve key symptoms.
-Different types of depression and anxiety require different treatments. While some patients only need psychological treatments, others (eg. those with melancholic or psychotic depression) respond best to medications.
-Psychological treatments, including cognitive-behavioural therapy, can help to change your activities, feelings and thoughts to speed your recovery and prevent relapse.
-Medications for depression and anxiety are not addictive.
-Both psychological treatments and medications can help long-term functioning.
What Can I Do to Help?
People with depression or anxiety can be hard to help as they often don't see the point of doing anything and feel that no-one can really help them.
Useful tips for helping someone with depression or anxiety include:
-Indicate that you have noticed a change in their behaviour;
-Suggest that they visit their family doctor;
-Suggest that they seek help from a health professional;
-Assist the person to make an appointment to see a family doctor or other health professional;
-Accompany the person when they go to see a health professional;
-Make extra efforts to stay in contact;
-Include the person in social and pleasant events;
-Help the person to find information about depression or anxiety;
-Try and have other close friends or family adopt a similar inclusive approach; and,
-Find out what self-help strategies help or eventually do harm.
It is important to note that caring for a person with depression or anxiety can be stressful, remember to look after yourself.
Source: Hickie et al. Educational Health Solutions
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