Like the words of the Dwight Yoakum classic, depression has a way of simply allowing the colors in your life to become faded brown. For some, it can be temporary, coming on in waves of sadness, hopelessness, and despondency. For others, depression can become an endless black tunnel that seems to take them so far away that they feel there is no way to come back. While all types of depression symptoms should always be taken seriously with appropriate therapy and medical care, the following strategies may help mild depression sufferers feel more hopeful.
Determine if depression symptoms are seasonal
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects many Americans each year. In fact, according to recent data, seasonal depressions affect as much as five percent of the population, with women experiencing it far more often than men.
Location is known to be a factor in the development of SAD symptoms, with those living farther away from the equator at higher risk.
Since SAD and other types of seasonal depression symptoms are believed to be caused or worsened by reduced amounts of natural light available during winter, light therapy can be a good strategy to try to alleviate it.
Light therapy uses special lights or lamps capable of providing up to ten times the amount of light produced by standard household light bulbs. Light therapy is thought to work by counteracting the effects of less natural sunlight by providing quantities of light more similar to the amount available during seasons with longer daylight hours, such as spring and summer.
These lights and lamps are available for home use and are a relatively inexpensive option to try at the first sign of seasonal depression symptoms.
Make positive lifestyle changes
Taking steps to improve nutrition, get more exercise, and give up unhealthy habits, like smoking or illegal drugs is another good option to try when dealing with symptoms of depression. Refraining from drinking alcohol can also be helpful. For most people, alcohol, some drugs, and even some foods act as depressants and can make depression symptoms worsen or create additional problems that can further complicate the problem.
Be proactive about seeking help with depression
Depression symptoms that last more than a few days, or those that quickly worsen, should never be ignored. Seeking help from your depression therapy provider or a therapist who specializes in depression should be arranged as soon as possible. Left untreated, depression can strain relationships and result in tragedies such as suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression symptoms, getting help as soon as possible should be the first priority.