In other articles that provide advice for depression, most people primarily focus on treating or defeating the symptoms associated with depression. Here I’ll take a look at things you should avoid to keep your depression from deepening or worsening. The following compulsive behaviors may help you temporarily cope with depression but could also ultimately result in deeper depressive symptoms in the long term. Avoid them at any cost:
Compulsive Shopping and Eating
The first advice for depression is to keep compulsive shopping to a minimum. When feeling down, many depressed people deal with depression by going out shopping only to financially regret it later. This is especially a problem if part of your depression has already resulted in financial distress. Instead, replace the compulsion with a healthier one. Put in a favorite movie, bake a favorite food of yours, or put on some headphones, listen to music and take a walk around the block. Take a long hot shower or bath, or sit in a hot tub or sauna (if you have one). The possibilities of substituting negative compulsions for better ones are endless.
As with the above advice for depression, try to avoid compulsive eating. While some people cope with depression by not eating, others will overeat at home or at restaurants in order to feel instantaneous comfort. Gaining weight and becoming fatter will only make you feel worse about yourself — the last thing you need when you’re already battling depression. If food is a problem, try eating more frequent smaller meals rather than fewer big meals.
Compulsive Use of Drugs
One way to deal with depression is to reduce your intake of caffeinated beverages, especially if your depression also comes with anxiety. Many people cope with depression-related lethargic and sluggish feelings by drinking sodas or consuming drinks laced with caffeine, or by drinking naturally caffeinated coffee or tea. Caffeine gives you a short ‘rush’ but may be quickly followed by a low mood period. Caffeine may also contribute to sleeplessness, which could ultimately result in further irritability.
Here’s some advice for depression and alcohol usage. Limit or completely refrain from your intake of alcohol. Drinking is unpredictable — it could make you more emotionally depressed or give you momentary happiness, only to eventually be followed by a low. Alcohol also wears down your body and mind and depletes your body of needed nutrition. If you do ‘need’ to drink to cope with depression, avoid drinking on consecutive days – it will only further your depression and may make you spiral into an addictive drinking cycle where you feel you can’t live without it.
It’s only natural to reach for comfort during low periods, but for depression the consequences can be lethal. Chances are slim to none that your depression symptoms will improve long-term by shopping compulsively, eating out of comfort, or abusing substances. These things are like trying to put a band-aid on a broken bone. Depression is a multi-faceted problem that needs to be confronted on all angles such as diet and nutrition and a variety of lifestyle adjustments. The only real way to deal with depression is to take positive steps, not backward ones.
About the Author
Expanding on his personal battles and recovery from anxiety & its associated disorders, H. Mikael Nisula authors and operates his website Helpful Remedies. While discussing his unique recovery & coping techniques from anxiety, addiction, insomnia & more, H. Mikael also closely examines his anxiety-related bouts with depression. Here he looks at lifestyle adjustments, things you should most avoid while depressed, natural alternatives to meds, dietary nutrition & more.