For many, the new year is a fresh and exciting start. But others may experience an emotional low. Feeling depressed about your future and the unknown can drain your energy and drive. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of depression so you can take action.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, if you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
Rather than turning to negative coping mechanisms like alcohol or emotional eating to get through depression, think about positive lifestyle changes to combat sadness. While professional therapy may be necessary, there are things you can do to improve your mental health.
Tips for lifestyle changes:
- Get in a routine. Setting a daily schedule can help you get back on track.
- Set goals. Accomplishing a goal will make you feel better about yourself. Be sure to set a realistic daily goal.
- Exercise. According to experts, regular exercise can encourage you to think more positively. It doesn’t take much. Going for a 30 minute brisk walk a few times a week can help.
- Eat healthy. Depression can cause some people to turn to food for comfort. Recognize the triggers to emotional eating. Taking control of your eating habits can have a good effect on your mental health.
- Take a break and meditate. There are health benefits to mindful meditation.
- Get enough sleep. Too little sleep can heighten depression. It’s important to get the right amount and quality of sleep your body needs to feel rested. Be sure to take all the distractions out of your bedroom.