How to Cope With Depression

Are you a depressed Cop?

Here's 4 Common Symptoms of Depression

anger, Moody & irritability

Cops with depression will typically become more irritable & angry at home. They will have inexplicable mood swings.

memory problems

Depression can affect more than just your mood. It also affects your memory. High levels of life stress can cause memory loss.

loss of concentration

Having trouble focusing is another common symptom of depression that can affect your ability to get things done.

Excessive Sleep
& extreme tiredness

Research shows that oversleeping and loss of energy is linked to depression.

WATCH: Combating Depression and
Suicide in Law Enforcement

7 Helpful tips to cope with depression

Depression can seep into our lives without knowing until it hits hard a few months later. This mental disorder drains our drive, hope, and energy making it difficult to feel better.

Also, it kills motivation to do simple things like spending time with friends or exercising. But here’s the catch.

Those things we think are the most difficult in our lives can help fight the condition. Even if you have severe depression, you can do more than you realize. It doesn’t matter where you start. 

You can use your energy reserves and walk around the block. What matters is taking small but positive steps. With time, you’ll start feeling happier and more hopeful.

7 Tips to Cope With Depression

Stay connected

Reaching out to a support group will help you overcome depression. When you’re on your own, you can withdraw from immediate family members. Sometimes, you may feel ashamed of your situation. But staying connected is not a sign of weakness. It’s never too late to build a network.

How can you reach out for support?

Look for people who will listen to you without passing judgment. With the advancement in technology, you can use social media platforms to stay in touch. 

For best results, you should talk to someone face-to-face. You may feel comfortable to retract to your shell but it’s best when you stick around people. Still, you can volunteer to help others.

Do something nice for somebody or give a listening ear to a friend. Another way of bringing joy and companionship is caring for a pet. 

Although you should pay close attention to human connection, caring for a pet can be a powerful antidote. The support group should make you feel safe. Other ways of feeling connected include:

  • Going for lunch with a fellow cop
  • Accompany your wife to a movie
  • Volunteering at church
  • Go for a walk in the park to clear your mind
  • Confide in a close friend

Do what makes you feel good

What things do you enjoy doing? If you’re suffering from depression, you can force yourself to do things you may not like. And as time goes by, you’ll feel more energetic. Take time to express creativity through writing, music, or joining a men’s group at church.

Don’t neglect your health

Sleep deprivation is one of the red flags that you may be suffering from depression. A general rule of thumb is that you should sleep at least 8 hours a day. You should adopt a healthy sleep/wake cycle. Besides that, you should keep stress in check. Identify all the stressors in your life like unsupportive relationships, money problems, work overload, etc. Don’t forget to practice relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, deep breathing, etc.

The idea is to come up with things that can give your mind a quick boost. Other tools that can help you cope with depression include:

  • Reading a book
  • going to the gym
  • Talking to friends face-to-face
  • Spend time in nature
  • Watch a funny movie
  • Take a hot bath

Exercise

While getting out of bed when you’re depressed may be a daunting task, you should ensure you add exercise in your recovery arsenal. It keeps you active and improves energy levels. The most effective exercises include weight training, martial arts, walking, dancing, etc. Be sure to choose exercises where you move both your arms and legs.

If your depression is caused by negative thoughts or unresolved trauma, you should focus on how your body feels. It gets better when you find yourself an exercise partner. For example, you can join a dance class, running club, water aerobics, or play tennis. This is also a simple way of improving your network. Finally, you can take your dog for a walk. If you don’t own one, you should volunteer at an animal shelter rescue group.

Eat healthy food

Nutrition plays a key role in fighting depression. When you make small changes in your diet, it may have a positive effect on your life. If you’re suffering from depression, you should eat every 3 hours. Skipping meals will make you feel tired or irritable. To start with, you should eat foods rich in B vitamins like green leafy vegetables, chicken, eggs, beans, etc.

You can also get this essential mineral in the form of supplements. Another essential class of food is omega-3 fatty acid. It can be obtained from sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring, tuna, anchovies, and cold-water fish oil supplements.

For optimal results, you should minimize the intake of carbs including baked foods, snacks, French fries, and sugary snacks. Other foods that may affect the brain negatively include Trans-fats, caffeine, and alcohol.

Get the right dose of vitamin D

We can’t ignore the power of sunlight in fighting depression. Whenever possible, you should spend at least 15 minutes in the sun. This will boost serotonin levels. You can double the benefits by taking a nature walk in the local park. If you work in a busy office, you may want to sit near the windows. And during the winter, be sure to try the light therapy box.

Eliminate negative thoughts

Depression can affect the way you think. It can fill your thoughts with a lot of negativity about the future. And when these negative thoughts overwhelm you, they can be tough to get rid of. This brings us to the question, what should we do? Just adopt a positive mindset. Rather than stick to the old negative thoughts, you should come up with a more balanced way of thinking.

If you think you’re good for nothing person, you can fuel depression. Also, avoid looking at things in black and white. Secondly, you should not overgeneralize everything. 

For example, you can say I’ll never find someone – this cannot hold forever. Think about what will go right than wrong. Another unrealistic way of thinking is to believe that positive things don’t count. A depressed person will jump quickly into conclusions. It’s more like being a fortune teller rather than basing your arguments on science.

If you want to get rid of the negative thoughts, you should not hold on the dos and don’ts. When you hold yourself to strict rules, you’ll beat yourself when you fail to live up to them. Of course, you should not label mistakes as shortcomings. Once you identify the negative thoughts that contribute to depression, you can challenge them.

When should you get professional help?

If you’ve made a turnaround in your life and you can’t get rid of depression, its time you seek the help of a professional. Be sure to incorporate the above tips into your treatment plan. Visit psychology Today to connect with a therapist in your local area.

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