Statistics show that in 2020, about 14.8 million US adults (18 years or above) experienced at least one major depressive episode along with severe impairment.

If you’re also struggling with it, you probably feel too overwhelmed and scared to function properly. But don’t let these episodes prevent you from living a happy life. Take the matter into your own hands and overcome it with these tips.

1. Track your symptoms and triggers

If you track your mood and symptoms, you’ll know your triggers. Once you identify the signs of an upcoming episode, you can deal with it better.

Write down events, routine changes, and moods in a journal to track your condition. Rate your mood on a scale of 1 to 10 to identify activities or situations that can lead to full-blown episodes.

2. Avoid panicking

One of the most common reactions during the onset of a major depressive episode is feeling anxious or panicked. However, such reactions only worsen your symptoms.

So, even though it is easier said than done, you still have to avoid feeling alarmed and panicked. Instead, remind yourself that “I will get better,” “I will overcome this,” or “This is treatable.”

Meditate, practice mindfulness, and read self-help books to calm yourself.

3. Understand the illness; Don’t make it your identity

Learn more about depression. Understand that it’s a widespread mental health disorder – you’re not alone. Know that you’re not weak to suffer from it.

Remind yourself that you’re not a “depressed individual.” Rather, you “suffer from depression.” Don’t let this condition define you. If anyone tells otherwise, it’s time to cut off such toxicity.

Remember your other identities in life—as a son/daughter, sibling, spouse, parent, or co-worker. Focus on the strengths of these identities. This will show you the brighter side of life.

4. Accept the episode

Accept that it’s completely normal to have depressive episodes sometimes. Be confident that you can manage most symptoms by yourself.

However, if you can’t, seek professional help from depression treatment centers in California. They have an experienced team of clinicians and the right environment to walk you through these episodes and help you learn to cope with them better.

5. Challenge negatives and focus on positives

During depressive episodes, your mind highlights thoughts like:

  • “I’m not enough.”
  • “I’m a failure.”
  • “I hurt everyone.”
  • “Everyone would be happier without me.”

Replace them with more positive thoughts, like:

  • “I am enough.”
  • “I’ll succeed eventually.”
  • “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and I’ll make up for it.”
  • “Everyone loves me.”

Don’t discount the positives in your daily life. Before bedtime, write down every (or at least three) positive thing in your life in a journal. This will not only build self-esteem but also remind you of your own worth during the episodes.

6. Relax yourself and focus on self-care

During the episode, if you can’t calm your mind, relax your body first. Some effective ways to soothe yourself are:

a. Deep Breathing

Slowly inhale and exhale, letting your body relax with every breath. Release all the tension in your muscles. If you practice this regularly, it will also help you better manage your symptoms and triggers.

You also don’t have to set aside specific time for this. You can practice it on the go, while traveling, waiting in queues, working, and so on. However, if it’s difficult to focus, you can always download apps or watch YouTube videos for guided meditation.

b. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This is another effective method to soothe depression and anxiety symptoms. In this, you tense many muscles and relax them to release the stress.  

Start by raising your eyebrows and releasing. Then squint your eyes and release. Pout with your lips and release, and continue this further down until your toes. Again, you can also find guided audios, apps, or YouTube.

c. Self-Care

Regular self-care activities are a must to tackle major depressive episodes. They make you feel loved and cared for. Usually, self-care activities can be any activity that helps you recharge, relax, and connect with yourself or others. They improve your emotional, mental, and physical health.

Some common activities are:

  • Trying fun and creative activities
  • Soaking in a warm bath
  • Taking care of your skin and hair
  • Having a balanced diet
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Saying ‘No’ to things that overwhelm you
  • Taking space when you’re overwhelmed and not pushing yourself

7. Follow a healthy lifestyle

Some great lifestyle habits to cope with your episodes are as follows:

a. Exercise

Regular exercise releases endorphins, which act as a mood buster and deal with depression symptoms.

b. Bedtime Routine

A lack of sleep worsens depression symptoms. These symptoms can again interfere with your sleep. This is a vicious cycle!

On the other hand, good sleep is a great mood elevator. So, it’s best to go to bed and wake up at a dedicated time every day. Follow this routine to get ready for bed:

  • Wrap up your day by 8 pm.
  • Avoid screen time and caffeine after this.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Read a book on the bed. Or write a journal before bed to get rid of your buzzing thoughts.

Conclusion

With these tips, you’ll be able to cope with your depressive episodes much better. So, start working on them now!

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