Last updated January 21, 2022
The past couple of years have taken a toll on us all. Together we are living through a global pandemic, witnessed social movements shedding light on racial injustice, and experienced countless other things that have left many people feeling hopeless, anxious, or pessimistic. These events have the potential to have a significant effect on our mental health and well-being. They can even lead many people to wonder if they are experiencing depression.
“Depression” can be a very charged word for many, especially to those who have seen a stigma around depression. Speaking candidly about what depression actually is, and how it manifests, is the first step in working towards overcoming it.
What is depression?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is a “common but serious mood disorder that causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.”
There are many symptoms of depression, according to NIMH, including:
- Feeling sad, anxious, or empty
- Feeling hopeless and pessimistic
- Feeling guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
While struggling with depression can feel lonely and difficult, it is so important to remember that you are not alone. Depression is common- around 1 in 6 people will experience feelings of depression in their life. Here are some things to know about depression, ways to cope with depression, and how to overcome it.
Practicing self-care can help you overcome your depression.
You may have been told at some point that practicing self-care is important. But what does self care look like in practice? Here are small ways you can take care of yourself every day while experiencing depression:
- Set small goals every day. Whether it’s brushing your teeth or taking some time to get out of bed, starting with small tasks will give you the momentum to work up to another, bigger, goal.
- Exercise. Take a 10 minute walk outside, learn a new dance on TikTok, or find time to play your favorite sport with friends or family.
- Eat healthy. Try committing to having one balanced meal a day to get the nutrients your body (and brain) needs.
- Take a social media break. We could all benefit from this! Studies have shown that taking some time away from social media significantly reduces levels of depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.
- Practice self-care. Whether you’re in high school or beyond, taking some time to practice self-care in a way that works for you is key.
Seek professional help
There may be a point in your mental health journey where you feel like small habits of self-care are no longer enough. You might want to consider seeking professional help, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Here are some free mental health resources you can use when you need support from a licensed professional:
While we are not mental health experts, we are committed to providing you resources to ensure you are taking care of yourself and being your best and healthiest self!
If you need to urgent help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255.