Depression is a common mental health disorder and affects millions of people worldwide. It can affect people of any age, gender, or ethnicity, but it is more common amongst women. In fact, it affects 1 in 8 women. Women aged 30-50 have additional stressors that can make them more prone to depression. These include postpartum issues, PMS, and juggling careers while caring for children and aging parents. If you’re a woman in this age group and are struggling with depression, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to manage depression and improve your mental health.
Physical exercise is well-known to have numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. Exercising releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals, that can help elevate your mood and alleviate the symptoms of depression. Aim to engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You could go for a brisk walk, practice yoga or join a dance class – choose an activity that you enjoy doing.
There are so many great exercise and yoga studios in the Baltimore area. She Fit caters to women, and The Y of Maryland offers things for the whole family.
Sleep plays a crucial role in mental health and well-being. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can interfere with mood regulation, leaving you feeling anxious or depressed. To get good quality sleep, create a sleep-friendly environment, avoid caffeine after 12 noon, limit alcohol, and stick to a regular sleep schedule. Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing can also help to promote good quality sleep.
Mindfulness is a technique that involves being present in the moment, without judgment or distraction. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. You could practice mindfulness through techniques such as deep breathing, mindful meditation, or yoga. The goal is to increase self-awareness and acceptance of the current moment, leading to a reduction in negative emotions. Kadampa Meditation Center Maryland offers intro classes in Baltimore City and surrounding areas.
Connect With Others
Social isolation is a significant risk factor for depression. Spend time with supportive friends, family, and loved ones. Having a support system can help build resilience, boost self-esteem and provide a sense of belongingness. If you feel comfortable, you could also consider joining a support group for people dealing with depression, where you can connect with others who understand your experience.
Seek Professional Help
If your depression is severe, you may need professional support to help manage your symptoms. A mental health professional can provide therapy or medication. Treatment options vary, so it’s essential to find a mental health professional who understands your unique needs.
Depression is a challenging condition to deal with, but know that there is hope. The five tips we outlined above can help you manage depression and improve your overall mental health. Remember to prioritize physical activity, sleep, mindfulness, social connections and seek professional help when necessary. You deserve to feel happy and healthy, so do not hesitate to take steps towards a healthier you. Together, these tips can provide a holistic approach to managing depression and improving your quality of life.
About The Author: Sharon P. Fisher, MS, PMHNP-BC, PMH-C is the founder of Nurtured Well, a boutique mental health practice serving Towson and Baltimore in person and all of Maryland on-line.