Ways to fight off depression and find happiness

South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) celebrates Mental Health awareness month this July and aims to help people recognise the signs of depression and ways to fight it, before it’s too late.

You might be smiling, going to work and chatting to friends and yet, you still have that lingering feeling of hopelessness growing stronger inside you every day. Take action against those negative feelings by understanding the signs of depression and knowing what to do to seek help and feel better with these tips from Breaking Depression, before it’s too late. 

Am I depressed? Depression can leave people feeling anxious, overwhelmed, hopeless, and helpless, to the point where their functioning becomes impaired. Below are seven signs to look out for:

  • Feeling empty
  • Frequently exhausted
  • Loss of interest in favourite activities
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Suicidal thoughts

If these signs sound familiar, get professional help and speak to your doctor or a psychologist to assess how serious the situation is.
Also try these five steps to help you cope: 

  1. Reach out: Isolation makes depression worse, so speak to loved ones who will make you feel safe, understood and supported. 
  2. Move more: While it might be really difficult to find the motivation to start, being active – be it a run, walk or a hike – can ease your depression and lift your energy.
  3. Set gentle goals: If you are feeling overwhelmed, break down your to-do list into small chunks that are achievable. Take a minute to see how you feel once you have completed a task before tackling the next one.
  4. Eat well: Stay away from foods that can affect your mood negatively, such as refined carbs, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol and opt for mood-enhancing nutrients such as vegetables, lean meats, and Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet for a boost of energy, and to improve your overall well being. 
  5. Treat yourself: If you’ve completed a task or went for a run, celebrate your achievement by watching an episode of your favourite series or taking a break from your desk while you have a cup of tea.

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