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Managing The Blues

Most people have felt down or “blue” at various points in their life.  Whether it’s related to life stressors, genetics, the season, or a combination of factors, feeling down can be frustrating, and affect our confidence.  It can also lead to substance misuse, or amplify it.

At least 10% of the population meets the formal criteria for depression—a number which is likely underreported.  Both women and men experience depression, though women seek out and therefore are diagnosed with depression more often than men.  And at least 60% of people who experience symptoms of depression also have an anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of depression can include sleeping more or less than intended to, low energy, having an overactive mind (i.e., lots of thoughts), difficulty concentrating, social isolation, avoidance and withdrawal, losing interest in activities, experiencing guilt or shame, appetite changes (i.e., eating too much or too little), and suicidal ideation. 

The good news is that there are a few different treatments which are proven to be effective with people experiencing depression.  Engaging in talk therapy with a trained professional—a few sessions can bring clarity and relief!  Also, consider speaking with a prescribing provider to see if medications could be of benefit.  Research shows that the best way to manage symptoms of depression is when combining talk therapy and medications.

Tips to Manage Depression

  1.  Journal –write out your thoughts.
  2.  Create a Gratitude list.
  3.  Establish and follow a daily routine.
  4. Reframe negative thoughts:  “I’m having a bad day,” vs. “I’m terrible at school work.”
  5. Distract yourself – listen to music, dance, and engage in something creative.
  6. Go for a walk.
  7. Talk to a friend or family member.
  8. Manage your stress.  Think about if you need to set limits in your life.
  9. Practice self-care and compassion.
  10. Get a medical check-up.
  11. Connect with a therapist.
  12. Consider medications to help manage your symptoms.