Jessie DesRoches, M.A. Counselling Psychology
Registered Counselling Therapist (Cand.) | Associate Therapist
If you, or someone you love has ever experienced depression you are probably already aware of the detrimental effects it can have on one’s life. Depressive symptoms often impact every aspect of life and the idea of “getting back to your old self” can begin to feel impossible. But the good news is, there are changes you can make in your life to help reduce your depressive symptoms. This blog will provide some suggestions to help you begin your journey to wellness.
Inactivity causes depression to get more severe, which results in having less energy and a desire to be active. As energy and motivation decline, activities and responsibilities may be neglected, potentially leading to self-criticism and feelings of guilt. This can easily become a cycle of maintaining and worsening depression. This cycle can be broken by increasing daily activities and tending to daily responsibilities. You can start by writing a list of as many activities as you can think of. Include activities that you enjoy, feel accomplished after completing, and things you would like to try. Try to include some physical activities and ideas that encourage you to go outside. Also, try to incorporate some activities that involve social and community engagement.
Your thoughts cause your feelings. In other words, the way you perceive an event is directly related to how you feel about that event. For example, you send a text message to an old friend you haven’t heard from in a while. A couple of days have passed, and you have not heard back from your friend, what is your first thought? Perhaps you considered that the friend may have a new phone number, or maybe your thought the friend ignored your message. There are countless conclusions that could be drawn to explain why your friend did not answer, all of which may cause different emotional responses. When you notice yourself stuck on a negative thought, try to get a different perspective. Ask yourself if there is another way of looking at things. Could there be a different explanation? Am I seeing the whole picture? Are there any positive aspects I am ignoring?
Recognize that you are doing the best you can under the circumstances you have been given. Give yourself credit for that! Depression can be debilitating; you are not alone in your struggles. Be kind to yourself, and speak to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. Also, treat yourself compassionately by implementing self-care in your daily life. Some additional ways to improve your self-compassion include keeping a self-compassion journal or writing yourself a compassionate letter. There are a variety of self-compassion resources such as podcasts, books, and websites, many of which offer guided practices. Finally, it is important to be patient with yourself, not everything is going to change overnight.
Create a healthy balance in your lifestyle. Take care of yourself by maintaining a healthy diet, incorporating physical activity, and attending to your sleep schedule. What you put into your body fuels what you get out of your body, a balanced diet is important in maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. Physical activity is also helpful for improving depression, it also fits well with increasing activities, as we discussed above. Depression is often associated with oversleeping or insomnia. By establishing consistent routines around sleep, this can be improved. Sustaining a healthy environment can also improve your mental health. Maintaining a tidy living space and getting outside can help improve your mental health. Finally, seek out support from a professional. Take advantage of free consultations to find a therapist who is a good fit for you.
Increasing your daily activities, challenging negative thoughts, being kind to yourself, and cultivating a healthy lifestyle are some tips to help manage your depression. Although it is important to note that improving your depressive symptoms is not an easy task, but it isn’t one you must do alone. Book with a counsellor at Wholetherapy for support in your journey to wellness. If this blog resonated with you, contact email@example.com, or call 902.461.1721 to connect with Jessie for an initial therapy session.
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