“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”– Laurell K. Hamilton
If you’ve ever had depression, it’s difficult to describe just how deep those wounds go within your soul, and how it feels to have to fight through every day. Living with depression can feel like drowning in your own head, with nothing around to hold onto. Unfortunately, studies show that those who have had depression at any point in the past have about a 50% chance of relapsing; after a second episode of depression, the relapse rate goes up to 70%, and after the third, up to 90%. This isn’t meant to further depress anyone, but to simply provide insight and show how damaging depression can be if left untreated.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid relapsing into depression as long as you have the willingness to implement the practices in your own life.
Researchers Explain 5 Ways To Stay Away From Depression
1. Keep up your treatment
Just because your symptoms may begin to subside, it doesn’t mean you should give up on your coping strategies. Depression can occur at any point in someone’s life, especially if they have suffered from it before in the past. If you take medication for depression, don’t just stop taking it cold turkey because you start to feel better one day and think you can live without it.
If you do wish to stop taking the medicine, make sure to talk to your psychiatrist or healthcare professional first. If you use natural remedies such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, make sure to keep these a part of your lifestyle, even if you don’t practice them as often as you used to.
Even if you don’t feel depressed anymore, it can never hurt to have a little relaxation and mindfulness in your life!
2. Have a support group to turn to
We weren’t meant to go through life alone, and we shouldn’t have to. It’s important to have even one close friend or family member to turn to in times of crisis, but if you don’t have a support group already, you can always find one. Consider going to therapy if you need to talk through something that’s bothering you, or seek out free online resources for help.
If you are in immediate danger and need someone to talk to right away, you can visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
3. Keep yourself busy
They say that an idle mind invites demons to play, because it gives you a lot of time to ruminate, which can lead to a depressed state of mind. Avoiding a relapse into depression can be as simple as having a routine and sticking to it. However, make sure you don’t just keep yourself busy for the sake of being busy – have activities in your schedule that you actually enjoy.
For example, maybe you could take yoga classes a few times a week after you get off work, or get a gym membership if you enjoy that type of exercise.
Speaking of which…
4. Get your body moving
By simply googling “depression and exercise,” you can find a plethora of studies citing the benefits of exercise for depressive symptoms. Exercise doesn’t just help you keep excess weight off and build muscle; it can literally rewire your brain and improve your mood. Most people think of exercise as a chore or as something unpleasant, but it doesn’t have to be.
You can exercise in thousands of different ways, so there’s bound to be something out there that works for you! If you don’t like gyms, you can try to find a club in your area that gets together for organized sports, or take up hiking or biking if you like solo activities. There’s something out there for everyone; you just have to get up and try out different things to discover how YOU like to move your body!
5. Be compassionate toward yourself
No one is perfect, and there are days when you won’t feel so good about yourself. However, you have to remember that you are your own worst critic, and in reality, you’re probably doing an amazing job in life. We can only see things through the lens of our own thoughts, so when you get down on yourself, try to adjust your lens a little bit. Keep in mind that this life isn’t easy, and there’s not a single person out there who has it mastered completely.
Be kind toward yourself, and remember to make yourself a priority every once in a while. Take the time you need to unwind, recharge, and feed your soul – you deserve it.