Depression isn’t something that turns on and off like a switch. Often, it comes in waves and varies in severity before eventually tapering off. 

Learning to deal with depression can help limit the impact of symptoms and possibly shorten the duration of episodes. Navigating depression takes dedication and frequently requires professional medical assistance. 

However, people armed with the right support system around them can overcome many of the challenges associated with depression. If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, here are some tips on how to navigate the condition to live a more healthy, happy life. 

Talk to a Doctor

People with severe depression often need medical support. A hormonal imbalance and other factors could be affecting your brain’s ability to manage emotions. 

Sometimes, depression isn’t only about what’s going on around you. It could be that you need professional support from things like therapy, prescription drugs, and other treatments. 

Don’t simply tell yourself that navigating your depression must be done alone. Instead, talk to a doctor or a psychiatrist to determine how to best manage your situation. 

Look at What’s Causing Depressive Episodes

Were you with a certain person before you became depressed? Was it something you ate or an experience at work? 

Identifying the triggers of depression will contribute to better navigation through symptoms. When you know what’s likely to cause you to feel depressed, for example, you can avoid it or manage your exposure. 

Family interactions are a good example of depression triggers. Many people experience depression after spending time with family members where the relationship is strained, or there is past trauma associated with the relatives. 

If you know that you’re likely to become depressed after spending time with them, limit how many hours you’re with them. Control where and how you meet. 

Follow a Schedule

People with depression usually struggle with self-discipline because they lack motivation. “What’s the point?” they ask themselves, and stay in bed longer or don’t push themselves at work. 

Staying busy and engaged in productive tasks is great for overcoming the symptoms of depression. Keeping a strict schedule can help eliminate those times when depression tries to draw you in. 

Fill your time with things that are fun and capture your interests. Whenever possible, include people you enjoy spending time with. 

If you’re stuck deciding what to do outside of work and family obligations, explore starting a new hobby like learning an instrument, joining a gym, or taking art classes. You can do a million things to increase your time outdoors and with other people. 

Ask for Help When You Need It

One of the biggest mistakes depressed people make is not asking for help when they are in the midst of an episode or feel the symptoms coming on. 

Ideally, your loved ones and other people around you will know that depression is something you struggle with. They’ll come to your aid when you need it. Either by spending time with you or forcing you to get up and be social, support networks work. 

Friends, family, medical specialists, and other people you depend on will also prevent symptoms from becoming too severe. For example, anyone with suicide ideation or the impulse for self-harm should seek intervention immediately. 

Stay Balanced with Fitness and Nutrition

Your physical health is intricately tied to your mental well-being. It’s much harder for the symptoms of depression to set in if you’re healthy and physically active. 

Regular exercise is a terrific way to increase your dopamine output and avoid depression. It becomes a routine and a great stress reliever. In addition, you’re probably spending more time outdoors, which can increase vitamin D levels

Aside from exercise, diet can be very beneficial for people trying to navigate depression. You’ll feel better about yourself if you’re in better shape. Start at whatever level you are, and build slowly. 

If necessary, begin by simply taking a daily walk. Then, add more intensity as you feel comfortable. 

Peptides & Managing Depression

Peptides are short chains of amino acids that facilitate or trigger responses in the body. Semax is a peptide that demonstrates positive results in mice related to increasing the BDNF hormone that regulates the brain in the setting of depression. 

In tests, Semax and other proteins that stimulate BDNF led to less depressive-like behavior without some of the negative side effects of traditional SSRIs. Traditional medications sometimes take very long to become effective, and new treatments could improve efficacy and the time it takes to ease depression.