D is for depression
Depression isn’t a sign of weakness, it is a mental health issue that affects many people, of all ages and therefore, it important that awareness of depression is shared. Depression can take on different forms and affect people in a number of ways. Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months. It’s not simply something that you can “snap out of” by “pull yourself together”.
Symptoms range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to developing anxiety, losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains.
Symptoms can range from feeling persistently low in spirit to feeling suicidal. Most people experience feelings of stress, unhappiness or anxiety during difficult times.
According to the World Health Organisation and the American Psychiatric Association, there are 9 symptoms of depression.
- An almost constant sadness
- A loss of interest and pleasure in daily activities
- A feeling of worthlessness
- A feeling that life isn’t worth living
- A psychomotor slowdown
- A constant tiredness
- A loss of appetite
- Sleep disorders
- Attention, concentration and memory difficulties
The consequences of these symptoms are considerable and they may affect relationships with partners, friends, family or colleagues. Depression, like most mental illnesses, does not originate from one issue or factor. In fact, it usually results from a range of internal and external causes.
At some point, we all have moments of doubt. Feeling sad, desperate or discouraged is part of our lives, but when those feelings are almost constant for more than a couple of weeks and they prevent you from doing your job, activities or enjoying life, it is important to talk to someone about depression.
How to help with symptoms
Depression can be effectively treated with antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy, but to really overcome depression, it is important to radically change your environment and to be surrounded by supportive people. Some recommended actions to take can include:
- Take part in fitness activities that you enjoy – Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness, evidence shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing, positively impacting on depression and anxiety. It allows you to clear your mind and be focused on a specific goal. Some scientists think being active can improve wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control, and the ability to rise to a challenge. At Anytime Fitness, we believe that healthy happens when you try something new or challenge yourself. You can be proud of your achievements and develop your self-confidence by trying a new class at the gym or if you don’t feel up to venturing out, you can try a workout at home using the Anytime Workouts app.
- Do one thing per day that makes you happy – This could be reaffirming your favourite things about yourself or your life, indulging in the odd treat, spending time with people that lift you up, or choosing to spend an hour per day colouring in or painting.
- Connect with people – Take time to connect with the people around you, whether this is your family, friends, colleagues or neighbours. It is important to spend time with people who listen to you and who you feel you can trust. Spend time developing these relationships, sharing your thoughts and feelings.
- Understand your feelings – Psychotherapy is another route to help you recover your self-confidence and share your thoughts and feelings. There are a range of support and wellness groups available as well as counselling and CBT sessions which can be sourced online.
- Help others – Even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger activities, such as volunteering at your local community centre or for charity can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. You can also do things by yourself to feel useful such as helping out a neighbour with gardening or shopping.
- Keep learning – Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and new confidence. Consider a range of activities such as signing up for that cooking course, trying a new class at the gym, learning to play a musical instrument, learning a new language or doing something creative.
- Be mindful – Be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. A great way to practice mindfulness is to do breathing exercises, yoga or meditation so that you can really focus on yourself.
Overcoming depression is not easy but the most important thing is to talk about your feelings and to be surrounded by the right people. At Anytime Fitness, our teams are friendly and supportive so you will always find someone to talk to if you need some help. We are working with Mind, the mental health charity to raise awareness of mental health issues.
For more information about depression, you can visit: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/#.XMsNWehKiUk Or call: 0300 123 339