No Cost Ways To Treat Depression Yourself

No Cost Ways To Treat Depression Yourself

Although therapy and anti-depressant medication are the most effective treatments for depression, home treatment is also important. There are many things you can do to help yourself during a depressive episode and to prevent future episodes. Remember there are not always therapists to help you in your area.

  • Make sure to get up out of bed and dress everyday– even if you are not doing anything. It may sound simple but it is at least a step in the right direction, as staying in bed all day will make you feel even worse.
  • Get adequate sleep. If you have problems sleeping:
    • Go to bed at the same time every night and, more importantly, get up at the same time every morning.
    • Keep your bedroom dark and free of noise
    • Don’t exercise after 5:00 pm.
    • Avoid caffeinated beverages after 5:00 pm (e.g. coffee, coke, redbull, etc.)
    • Avoid the use of nonprescription sleeping pills or alcohol, because they can make your sleep restless and may interact with your depression medications
  • Try to establish a routine that is easy to follow and not stressful. This will keep you engaged with reality, help you to cope and get through the days.
  • Make sure you eat a balanced diet. If you lack an appetite, eat small snacks rather than large meals.
  •  Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs or medications that have not been prescribed to you. They may interfere with your medications or make your depression worse.
  • Try to do the things you remember enjoying before the onset of your depression. Reading, listening to music, sewing, woodwork, painting, watching TV.
  • Even if you don’t feel motivated, try to participate in religious, social or other activities.
  • Get regular exercise, even walking around the block…
  • Keep a journal and write your feelings down. This is cathartic and will help put things into perspective.
  • Let your family and friends help you.
  • Surround yourself with positive influences, avoid negativity.
  • Try to share your feelings with someone. It is usually better than being alone and secretive.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself and take on a reasonable amount of responsibility even around the home like cooking or shopping, or ironing. .
  • Break large tasks into small ones and set priorities. Do what you can when you are able.Postpone major life decisions such as changing jobs, moving or getting married or divorced when you are depressed.

Read as much as you can about your illness, so you are fully aware of it, which can help you not let it take control of your life.  

  • Be patient and kind to yourself. Remember that depression is not your fault and is not something you can overcome with willpower alone. Treatment is necessary for depression, just like for any other illness.
  • Try to maintain a positive attitude – remember that feeling better takes time, and your mood will improve little by little. Try and focus on the positive aspects in your life and do not dwell on the negative aspects. If you are always thinking about the negative aspects in your life it will make you more depressed.
  • Surround yourself with positive people and don’t necessarily live for the moment, think of the future and of things you would like to accomplish- Tomorrow, “today” will be gone forever.
  • Always keep yourself occupied so as not to allow yourself to think about negative and upsetting things. Remove yourself from places and people that don’t bring out the best in you or make you feel good.
  • Start or join a support group and talk to people who have overcome depression to find out what they did to beat it. If there is no group in your area speak to your doctor, or friends about the two of you starting a group in your area, with help from SADAG.
  • Do volunteer work. Help others, go to an old age home, a hospital, a church, a school and see what help they need even if it is just once or twice a week. Remember you are an important part of your community.

Source: SADEG

When the Mind Causes Pain

When the Mind Causes Pain

Chronic pain is a serious public health concern.  Chronic pain affects more that 40 million Americans.  Anxiety disorders affect more than 17 million Americans, with an additional 19 million suffering from depressive illnesses.  The cost to the economy as a result of these disorders is billions of dollars each year.  The cost in human suffering is Immeasurable. 

Recent scientific studies clearly defined the relationship between physical pain and emotional pain.  Both the symptoms of physical pain and an individual’s mood must be evaluated when an individual seeks treatment and relief from aches and pains to the body.  The pain is real, but there is a mind body link and body and mind must work together harmoniously to obtain the best treatment result.  The body may experience pain, but often the pain can be emanating from emotional distress.  Often the body knows a person’s emotional state before they do and responds with aches, pains and other physical symptoms.

  • Among patients with depression, 80% (four out of five) first present to their doctors exclusively with physical symptoms.  The most common are: joint and back pain, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness and headaches.
  • Patients with painful physical symptoms are nearly three times as likely to experience high depressive symptoms.
  • In treated depressed patients, those with residual symptoms were three times more likely to relapse than those without.  Of the patients with residual symptoms, 90% had mild to moderate physical symptoms.

In a recent study conducted by Freedom From Fear, the impact of physical symptoms on work, social life and family life were explored.  Almost 90% believe that depression or anxiety could cause painful physical symptoms.  Among the findings are:

  • Nearly 40% of patients visiting primary care physicians have symptoms of depression.  Of these, 80% also experience pain.
  • 89% of the participants believe anxiety and depression can cause painful symptoms.
  • 40% of the participants said their physical symptoms disrupt their work moderately to extremely.
  • 50% of the participants, who were diagnosed with medical conditions, such as arthritis, migraines, diabetes and other medical conditions that have painful symptoms, reported that on days when they felt anxious or depressed their pain is more severe.
  • 60% of the participants with un-diagnosed medical conditions said that on days they feel anxious or depressed there is a moderate to severe change in their physical symptoms.
  • 43% of the patients said their physical symptoms disrupt their social lives moderately to extremely.
  • 47% of the participants said their physical symptoms disrupt their family life/home responsibilities moderately to extremely.

Source: The South African Depression and Anxiety Group:

Coronavirus: Laughter in a Crisis can Help You Cope

Coronavirus: Laughter in a Crisis can Help You Cope

Laughter can help in a crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic – and people should not feel guilt about it, according to a university professor.

Psychologist Prof Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, says “finding the funny” is a “common way” of coping.

“Laughing in households while following government advice to stay at home is also good for you”, he said. “Don’t feel guilty, it’s a human thing and if it helps it’s OK,” he said.

Laughter is ‘Contagious’

For people staying at home to help curb the spread of Covid-19, watching a TV program, a film or reading a book that they find funny is good “partly because it distracts you and also because it puts you in a good mood”, he said.

“Laughter is contagious: you hear people laugh and you laugh as well.

“In your household, if you find something funny, sit and watch that or tell jokes to each other. They don’t even have to be particularly funny – they are all good for promoting mood.”

He also said joking about the current situation was acceptable, as people often do what comedians call “finding the funny” to deal with stressful events. “You may feel bad about that but as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else it’s a common way of coping,” he said. “There are studies which show that those who find the funny are psychologically and physically healthier.

“There are lots of jokes about our anxieties, such as getting old and our health. It’s not about being vindictive – it’s about getting through the day with a light touch.”

If you find it difficult to laugh at jokes, comedy or humour, then maybe your are experiencing stress in your life!

How CEO’s Can Support Employee Mental Health in a Crisis

health

Business leaders are justifiably focused on the here and now of the Covid-19 pandemic, but there’s a looming second-order mental health crisis that is only beginning to emerge as a result of global quarantines and a massive, sudden shift to working from home.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic:

  • 75% of people say they feel more socially isolated,
  • 67% of people report higher stress,
  • 57% are feeling greater anxiety,
  • 53% say they feel more emotionally exhausted, according to a global study of over 2,700 employees across more than 10 industries undertaken by Qualtrics and SAP during March and April 2020.

As humans we can handle change, but we do not do well with uncertainty. Given the enormous uncertainty everyone is facing —economically, personally, and professionally — these mental health statistics are as predictable as they are alarming. Using the data from the study and our own experience as CEOs, we have identified five steps every leader and manager should take to make an immediate impact:

1. Open the Door

Nearly 40% of people say their company has not even asked them how they’re doing since the pandemic began. That’s shocking. People in this group are 38% more likely to say their mental health has declined since the outbreak of the pandemic. How can we expect to help our people if we don’t even ask how they are doing? So step one is to simply ask, “Are you okay?”

I suspect that a desire to respect privacy is inhibiting these manager-employee conversations. But in our study, nearly three out five of people said they are comfortable with their manager proactively asking them about their mental health. Even more importantly, more than 40% of people said they want their manager to broach the subject. So open the door to a conversation by asking if people are okay, and then let them walk through that door in the way they are most comfortable, accepting that around 40 percent of employees will choose not to engage. That’s okay, too.

Our research shows that the mental health of your reports should not be outsourced to human resources. In fact, when people were asked to rank who they were willing to talk to about mental health concerns, (selecting from a list including their manager, peers, subordinates, HR, and company executives), people listed HR as the group they were least willing to talk to about mental health. Peers and managers were the two groups with whom people were most willing to address mental health.

2. Demonstrate Supportive Listening

For employees who do choose to talk about their mental health, managers need to practice supportive listening. Don’t try to solve everything all at once. Instead just listen, seek to genuinely understand, and ensure that people feel heard. And don’t be afraid to open up yourself. Reciprocation can be a powerful tool to build trust. Share how you personally are handling the new normal. Be vulnerable. According to our data, roughly 40% of people at every seniority level of a company have seen a decrease in mental health. That means that whether you’re the CEO, a mid-level manager, or a frontline employee, you are just as likely to be suffering. The sooner people realize they are not alone in this, the better we’ll be at supporting each other.

I think back to recent conversations I had with two members of our team. One is a single mother who is balancing home school for her two kids (one of whom is in French immersion), her job, and concern for an elderly parent who lives far away. The other is an employee who is single, lives alone, and talked about the crushing isolation he is feeling. My challenges are different, but we all have them. For all of us, this has been one of the weirdest and most emotional times of our lives. We all need to learn to demonstrate supportive listening and be appropriately vulnerable with each other, recognizing that while all of our situations are different, they are all difficult in their own way.

3. Be Consistent

Talking about mental health is not a one and done conversation. One way to help people deal with uncertainty is by providing consistency, especially in how and when you communicate. When it comes to the pandemic, more than 90% of people said they wanted at least weekly communication from their company; 29% said they prefer daily communication. When it comes to discussing mental health specifically, people say that far and away the most effective form of company communication is a phone call directly from one’s manager. Employees who say their manager is not good at communicating are 23% more likely to experience mental health declines. Regular, consistent communication from managers is essential to ensuring people feel supported.

4. Keep a Constant Pulse

It’s not just about helping our managers take care of their teams, we need to take care of our managers as well — and we need to do it while keeping a constant pulse on the company as a whole. To best do that at scale, companies should be sending a regular employee pulse survey to understand how each team, department, and the company as a whole are doing. This is not a moment to be reactive as a leader: You need to get ahead of trends and understand the sentiment of your workforce so you can take action quickly.

Our study found that nearly one in three employees say their team does not maintain informal contact while working from home. People who are lacking informal contact are 19% more likely to report a decline in mental health since the pandemic began. So much of this stems from the fact that with so many people quarantined in their own homes, we have lost the opportunity for water cooler conversations and impromptu run-ins that give us energy and spark new ideas and collaboration. We can’t replicate that exactly, but we have seen many of our teams hosting virtual happy hours to end the week or having a virtual lunch where people can just catch up, share stories, and maintain connection. By regularly running employee pulse surveys you can begin to spot problems early.

5. Communicate Available Resources

Lastly, make sure you are very clear about the mental health resources available to everyone at your company. Almost half of workers said their company has not proactively shared what mental health resources are available to them. To be sure, some people want and need to leverage those resources, but many more people just want to know that the resources are there. As we noted, people don’t do well with uncertainty. That’s why just knowing that resources are available goes a long way to ease anxiety and stress. People who said their company has proactively shared how to access mental health resources are 60% more likely to say that their company cares about their wellbeing.

The mental health crisis stemming from Covid-19 is serious and will be with us for some time to come. Let’s approach it with compassion, honesty, and openness. We will emerge from this as better leaders, better people, and better companies.

by  Ryan Smith