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Managing depression isn’t easy, and for me, the change in season presents an even tougher obstacle. I’ve struggled with depression for about 10 years now, and with time and trial and error I’ve begun to learn what works for me as far as self-care and symptom management. My college years were especially difficult, but by the end of college I had learned what works and had become better practiced at taking care of myself and managing my mental health. However, this new phase of my life has given me greater responsibility and, therefore, greater stress. Along with my daily schedule, my environment has also changed, which has called for a slight change in the habits I had previously formed surrounding self-care. In the midst of all this change and increasing depression symptoms due to the change in season, the toughest part is maintaining my ability to be a functioning adult and stay on top of things at work and at home. From remembering to pay my bills on time, to being productive at work, these things can suffer when I’m not taking care of mental wellbeing.
Based my own personal experience, here a few things that I’ve found to be helpful in managing my mental health and wellbeing.
1. Working with a therapist. This allows me to set aside a specific amount of time to talk with someone and work on my coping mechanisms for my depression and anxiety.
2. Acknowledging that how I am feeling is normal and it is okay. I tend to get in my head and tell myself that I shouldn’t feel how I’m feeling or that I have no reason to be sad. This negative self-talk is not productive for me, and making a conscious effort to positively shift my self-talk has proven to be very beneficial.
3. Take it one day at a time, set clear goals for myself. Thinking about the future, even the near future, can be overwhelming and discouraging. If I am able to focus on each individual day and set small attainable goals, I can start to see that I am capable of positive change and empower myself.
4. Meditation. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, improve brain functioning, improves mood and behavior, among many more positive benefits. Each day I try to make time, even 5 minutes, to devote to my meditation practice.
5. Get outside. Each day I try to find 10 or 15 minutes out of my workday to step outside and go for a short walk. If you aren’t able to take periodic breaks at your job, try to take your lunch break outside.