Here are the Top 5 Strategies from Dr. David Crumpacker to help with your depression this year:
- Make sure to seek the right help
This year you don’t need to struggle alone with your depression. There are many providers in the DFW Metroplex that provide guidance for mental health, but the question with so many options, WHO do I seek help from?
When looking for a provider, it is essential to understand that it will take time no matter who you will be seeing. It will take several visits to a therapist or seeing many different therapists before finding the right one. The same goes for seeing a psychiatrist. Remember, change won’t happen overnight, and it is essential to find someone who is aligned with your goals, who will listen to you.
Make sure to not rely on medication alone. There are numerous treatment options for Depression and finding a provider that uses a comprehensive treatment approach is critical. Offices like Smart Health and Wellness Centers are the right places to start.
- Set SMART goals weekly for yourself
Setting SMART health goals is key to a positive recovery. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based. Depression recovery takes time and commitment and can feel overwhelming sometimes. It is essential that we set realistic and SMART goals for ourselves to accomplish weekly.
Setting weekly SMART goals will help you keep some structure to your health goals and give you some small victories along the path to reaching your more significant mental health goals! This makes the reaching your end goals even more rewarding.
- Make sure to take time for yourself weekly
Time away from the stress of everyday life is incredibly important. Make sure to set goals to get away from it all and make some time for yourself. Meditation, mindfulness practices and massages are great relaxing activates to start doing daily, weekly or monthly.
This doesn’t have to be an activity you have to do every day but make it a priority to step away and give yourself 15-20 minutes of relaxation a week. There has been clinical evidence to show that Meditation can increase the grey matter around your hippocampus and research has told us that people who suffer from recurrent depression tend to have a smaller hippocampus.2
- A healthy start with a better diet and exercise
Diet and exercise are two essential components to our overall mental health. Repeatedly you will hear Therapist and Psychiatrist review the importance of these two central self-care habits. But where do you start?
At the beginning of every year, gyms are packed to max capacity, and fab diets rule social media posts. These aren’t bad things to try, but we want to make sure our goals and strategies stay with us throughout the year.
We don’t need to join a fancy gym to get the exercise we need. A good goal to start at is taking a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood 3 times a week. According to clinical research doing 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week can help to lower depression symptoms.1 Once you master the 30-minute walk, you can continue to add extra exercises to your workout. Long term exercise is crucial to improving your mental health, so it’s important to find an activity that you enjoy doing.
When it comes to diets, we don’t have to change our lifestyle or invest in an expensive diet plan. Eating a high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy, and antioxidants have been shown to decrease the risk of depression.3 Remember to keep everything in moderation and drink plenty of water. (Food Allergy testing, as directed by Physician)
To build on a good foundation, try setting smaller, weekly goals instead of lofty long-term goals. An example would be instead of buying snack food this week, replace it with an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Remember when it comes to a balance and long-term diet, take steps to improve each week, don’t try to jump all in on Day 1.
- Get Connected Again
Often when battling depression and anxiety symptoms, getting out of the house can be a challenge. This year challenge yourself to get connected with social activities again. Here are some things to get you out of the house:
- Things that you used to enjoy doing!
- Get back to doing your hobbies that bring joy to your life. Things like gardening, sports, hiking, cooking or baking, playing an instrument, drawing or painting, or photography. There are lots of fun local events and experiences associated with your hobbies for you to participate in.
- Find your local charity to volunteer! Something that you have a passion for may need your help this year. Getting out of the house and working for an organization that helps people or animals is a great way to boost your mood this week. I mean someone must play with all those cute puppies and kittens this week, why not you?
- Events with Friends or Family
- Another great way to get connected again and get out of the house is with the people you are closest too. Catch a movie with the family, go bowling, or visit your local zoo/museum. Try to be your local tourist this weekend, and you will be amazed at things you can find to do in DFW.
We hope that these 5 strategies can help your depression symptoms and kick off your new year in the right direction.
Dr. David Crumpacker and the TMSNS Treatment Team
- Staff, M. C. (Ed.). (2017, September 27). Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms. Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495
- Godman, H. (Ed.). (2013, November 06). Adopt a Mediterranean diet now for better health later. Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/adopt-a-mediterranean-diet-now-for-better-health-later-201311066846
- Tello, M. (Ed.). (2018, February 22). Diet and depression. Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/diet-and-depression-2018022213309