How to Cope with Situational Depression
Unfortunately, we have little to no control over certain events in life. Some situations may be expected, while others are not. Regardless of why some things happen, our emotions may be negatively impacted if the outcome is viewed as undesirable.
Situational Depression is caused by a circumstance or traumatic event, often due to the loss of a relationship, job, or loved one, a serious illness, or stress.
Situational Depression can show up days or months after the stressor and should not be confused with Major Depression, also known as Clinical Depression. The difference is Situational Depression is a response to a stressor. At some point in life, many people will experience Situational Depression.
What can I do to help myself?
Although Situational Depression may go away on its own, there are some things you can do to help yourself feel better.
Practice positive self-talk
Too often, our worst critic is ourselves. It’s important to give yourself grace. Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with something positive. To do this, recognize negative thinking patterns so you can challenge them. Here are four negative thinking patterns:
- Personalizing is when you blame yourself for things you had little or no control over. This distortion in thinking can cause a person to feel guilty.
- Overgeneralizing is when you reach a conclusion about something and place that belief in a situation where it does not apply or think the worst of every situation.
- Catastrophizing is when you think the worst of every situation, usually using “what if” scenarios.
- Polarizing is an all-or-nothing type of thinking where you see the world in black and white with no gray.
Exercise is a great way to release stress, so you feel better. Exercise releases your feel-good chemicals by releasing endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters boost your mood. Some exercises include walking, running, weightlifting, etc.
Mindfulness mediation is about attention and acceptance; being present in the moment by focusing your attention on the “now”. During acceptance, you’re aware of your experiences and observe your feelings without judgment, so you can let them go.
Journaling is a great way to reduce stress and cope with depression. Journaling is not the same as writing in a diary, but rather is a way to bring awareness to your thoughts and feelings. Writing your thoughts and feelings allows you to release distressing thoughts and helps you identify emotions so you can change.
We’ve all heard the importance of how getting enough sleep can improve how our mind functions. Sleep has a direct impact on our mood. When struggling with Situational Depression, we must be careful that we aren’t sleeping too much or too little since that can be a symptom of depression. Aim for 8 hours of sleep, and set an alarm clock so you can get up at the same time.
Eat well because you are what you eat. Unfortunately, no diet will change your depressed mood, but what you eat affects how you feel.
Set daily goals that you can attain, so you’re accomplishing something. Staying active is important, and often with depression, people will withdraw from activities and things they usually do.
Enjoy Outside. Nature has an amazing effect on us. Going outside to get sunlight is known to improve your mental health.
Protect your energy
Each day we give our energy to our loved ones, people we work with, etc. Each experience leaves an impact. Be it a person, TV, social media, or the music we listen to, our mind is influenced by these encounters. Surrounding ourselves with toxic people or information outlets can negatively affect our minds.
Ask for Help
When self-help isn’t working, talk to a therapist. Therapy will give you tools to empower you and address the stressors that trigger your depression. It’s never too soon or too late.
Recovering from Situational Depression can improve your quality of life. If you have a therapist, reach out and schedule an appointment. If you’re looking for a therapist, check out Connect2Heal, an online directory where you can find a therapist of your choice.