Emotional symptoms of depression include:
Anxiety, or fear and worry, can happen to anyone from time to time, too. It’s not unusual to experience anxiety before a big event or important decision.
But, chronic anxiety can be debilitating and lead to irrational thoughts and fears that interfere with your daily life.
Physical symptoms and behavioral changes caused by generalized anxiety disorder include:
How to manage your symptoms
In addition to a formal treatment plan from your doctor, these strategies may help you find relief from symptoms. It’s important to know, though, that these tips may not work for everyone, and they may not work each time.
The goal of managing depression and anxiety is to create a series of treatment options that can all work together to help, to some degree, whenever you need to use them.
1. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling — and know that it’s not your fault
Depression and anxiety disorders are medical conditions. They aren’t the result of failure or weakness. What you feel is the result of underlying causes and triggers; it’s not the result of something you did or didn’t do.
2. Do something that you have control over, like making your bed or taking out the trash
In the moment, regaining a bit of control or power can help you cope with overwhelming symptoms. Accomplish a task you can manage, such as neatly restacking books or sorting your recycling. Do something to help give yourself a sense of accomplishment and power.
3. You could also create a morning, evening, or even daily routine
Routine is sometimes helpful for people with anxiety and depression. This provides structure and a sense of control. It also allows you to create space in your day for self-care techniques that can help you control symptoms.
4. Do your best to stick to a sleep schedule
Aim for seven to eight hours each night. More or less than that may complicate symptoms of both conditions. Inadequate or poor sleep can cause problems with your cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous symptoms.
5. Try to eat something nutritious, like an apple or some nuts, at least once a day
When you’re feeling depressed or anxious, you may reach for comforting foods like pasta and sweets to alleviate some of the tension. However, these foods provide little nutrition. Try to help nourish your body with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.
6. If you’re up for it, go for a walk around the block
Research suggests exercise can be an effective treatment for depression because it’s a natural mood booster and releases feel-good hormones. However, for some people, exercise or a gym can trigger anxiety and fear. If that’s the case for you, look for more natural ways to move, such as walking around your neighborhood or looking for an online exercise video you can do at home.
7. Do something that you know brings you comfort, such as watching a favorite movie or flipping through a magazine
Give yourself time to focus on you and the things you like. Down time is a great way to let your body rest, and it can distract your brain with things that bring you a boost.
8. If you haven’t left the house in a while, consider doing something you find soothing, like getting your nails done or getting a massage
Relaxation techniques can improve your quality of life and may reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Find an activity that feels right for you and you can practice regularly, such as:
9. Reach out to someone you’re comfortable talking to and talk about whatever you feel like, whether that’s how you’re feeling or something you saw on twitter
Strong relationships are one of the best ways to help you feel better. Connecting with a friend or family member can provide a natural boost and let you find a reliable source of support and encouragement.
When to talk to your doctor
Symptoms that last two weeks or more may be an indication you have depression, anxiety, or both. Severe symptoms may include:
If you’re not feeling like yourself and want help understanding, make an appointment to see your doctor. It’s important to be open and honest so they can fully understand what’s happening and get a clear picture of what you’ve been feeling.