Some people can take the "good" along with the "bad" in life, but for others, any stressful life event — whether the loss of a loved one, a dramatic break-up, or a layoff — can all act as depression triggers and lead to a downward spiral.
Tips On How To Effectively Manage Your Mood
Working with a therapist is often an important part of successfully managing depression. Psychotherapy will focus on helping people adjust their lifestyle in ways that are possible, minimize their stress, and cope with stressors. Among the issues that you can address together are how to improve your self-esteem, switch from negative to positive thinking, and practice stress management.
Writing in a journal is great therapy; you can relieve stress by being open about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns in your writing. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel after putting pen to paper for just a few minutes each day.
People with depression often experience low self-esteem, so finding ways to feel better about yourself is an important aspect of treatment. Practice positive thinking by focusing your thoughts on your best qualities. You can also make lifestyle changes that can improve your self-esteem, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and spending time with friends who make you feel good about who you are.
Alcohol isn't the answer when you're struggling with depression. Drinking can make depression even worse, and alcohol may also have a negative interaction with medications you're taking to control depression. A healthy lifestyle is needed to manage depression, and avoiding drugs and alcohol is one key to a healthy lifestyle.
Depending on your stressors, there are many helpful things you could do. Below is a list of some common depression-triggering scenarios and strategies to help you cope.
Depression Trigger: Hormonal Ups and Downs
Some women feel sad and irritable before their monthly period. Older women may also experience some ups and downs as they approach menopause, and levels of the female sex hormone estrogen decline. Having a baby can also be a trigger. This can be a fleeting case of the baby blues or the more severe postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. One common culprit in all of these scenarios are your hormones. Find a specialist who is able to provide the comprehensive testing and treatment necessary to help balance your hormones.
Depression Trigger: Job Loss
The best way to be taking such news is to seek employment counseling right away, since it's important to maintain social contact. Regardless if it's volunteering or coaching a local softball team or helping your local church, it's very helpful to stay active. This way you will make a difficult situation stimulate something new and better, rather than shutting down.
Depression Trigger: Empty Nest
Many women devote their lives to raising children, but that leaves them feeling as empty as their "nest" when their kids go off to college or begin their own life as an adult. Planning ahead of time for this is the key to not become overwhelmed by the change. It can be the time for you to start taking classes, go back to school, or start a hobby or find other empty nesters for camaraderie.
Depression Trigger: Caregiver Stress
There is a high rate of depression among people who take care of a loved one with a chronic illness. It can be physically and emotionally grueling. But you still have to eat well, sleep well, and get exercise or you will not be able to take care of your loved one. Be realistic about what your loved one needs and what you can provide, and call in other family members to help.
Depression Trigger: Loss
Losing a loved one is never easy. Some people may be able to get past the loss after a certain amount of grieving time. Others may spiral into a deep depression.
A beneficial thing to do is to join a support group, to help you come to terms with your loss. Medication may play a role too. Talk to your doctor about your depression to find the best treatment plan for you.
Depression Trigger: Marriage Problems/Divorce
Some couples can benefit from marriage counseling, and it may even help save their relationship. If you are divorced or separated, support groups and individual therapy can help you get through the adjustment period and remember who you were before the split.
Depression Trigger: Retirement
Retirement is often idealized and even fantasized about. It is supposed to be joyful, but many retirees find themselves at loose ends and searching for an identity. But don't let yourself get bored. Take classes, make plans with friends, and look for volunteer opportunities.