Depression is on the rise in the United States. It turns out that in addition to the current state of this pandemic, our lifestyles have a lot to do with it. If we can make changes to these areas of our lives we can see vast improvements in our mood. It won’t fix everything, but if we can make some small, but significant lifestyle changes. We can be better prepared to face the things we can’t change. Here are some ways that our lifestyles are causing depression, and how to change them.
Sitting at a desk working all day followed up with a drive home and then sitting on the couch the rest of the night is making us more prone to depression. This is because we aren’t getting those neurochemicals that make us feel good, dopamine and serotonin. Just 20-40 minutes of walking 3 days a week is enough to help keep depression at bay.
It’s better if this is spread out throughout the week too. So, why not make it a family activity to go on a 20-minute walk 3 days a week? No fancy equipment needed, you can even do it barefoot if you want. Just take your family for a walk around the block.
Poor Sleeping Habits
People who are sleep deprived are more likely to interpret images and stimulus that is neutral as negative meaning that everyday items and interactions can seem more troubling than they really are. This contributes to anxiety and depression in a big way. We need good, deep restorative sleep to help maintain a balanced and healthy brain.
So if you have trouble getting to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night, or you just aren’t getting enough sleep every night your anxiety will climb and depression will be able to set in. Make sure that getting the appropriate amount of sleep every night is a priority in your house.
Since the advent of social media and everyone carrying a portable communication device in their pockets at all time people have increasingly reported feelings of social isolation. This is because talking in text doesn’t give the same neurochemical release as seeing and talking to people in person. Even video calls aren’t a good replacement for real interactions. Make time to keep in contact with your family and friends.
If you can’t afford going out to eat with them all the time, be honest about it and invite them over to your house or go over to theirs. Another option is to take a walk with them! This way you’re getting your social time in while also getting your active time; two birds, one stone. If you’re far from home and you don’t know anyone volunteering is a great way to meet new people and get that much-needed people time. Getting a pet also works, though it isn’t as good as real human interaction.
The food you eat plays a big role in your mood and studies have found links between diets that are high in processed foods, refined grains, and sugary products and increased rates of depression and anxiety in women.
Another study found that people who drank 4 or more cans of soda a day are 30% more likely to be depressed than people who don’t drink soda. What does a good diet look like? Lots of fresh whole foods, probiotics, drinking lots of water, and cutting back on sugar. Look for whole-grain breads, brown rice, and have lots of fresh fruit and veggies.
Did you know that alcohol is actually a depressant and no matter how good you’re feeling drinking it will bring you down? Many people who are starting to suffer from depression will try to self-medicate with alcohol because it numbs the pain, but actually, they’re making the problem so much worse for themselves. Cutting back on alcohol, even eliminating it completely will keep those depressants out of your system making it easier for you to get through your day.
Depression is not something that many people like to even talk about. Many are afraid to see a doctor. I struggle with depression and want to ensure that I am sharing my findings as it relates to triggers and ways to combat depression. Of course, one of my ways to combat depression is prayer. If you struggle with depression, I hope this helps.
LaToyia, The Motivated Mom
Very good tools and wisdom to combat depression. I also open my blinds daily to give my living space natural light and sunlight… that helps me when I’m battling depression. Great article!!
Thanks a bunch! I battle depression as well. Stay encouraged.