Everyone experiences funks in their lives—times when nothing seems to go right. Fortunately, these sorrowful moments tend to pass on their own without creating too much disruption in regular life. But these unhappy periods can be far more acute at times, and they don’t seem to go away easily. These are depressive episodes, and they may suggest a deeper issue that requires expert help. But why do certain people experience these downturns? And what are you going to do about it? Continue reading for important information on depression and how to recover from a depressive episode.
What Exactly Is a Depressive Episode?
Simply said, depressive episodes are times of poor mood and associated depressive symptoms. These are distinct from typical episodes of melancholy in a few crucial aspects, most notably in terms of severity and endurance.
For example, if a person is not undergoing a depressive episode, their melancholy should not have a significant impact on their daily functions. They may be less enthusiastic about things or have temporary nervousness, but they will be able to go to work and maintain proper hygiene. Furthermore, as new events occur and take primary mental focus, these negative sentiments should fade after a week or so.
Depressive episodes, on the other hand, function rather differently. For starters, they may exhibit considerably more severe depressive symptoms, such as:
- A lack of desire to perform previously enjoyable tasks
- Having difficulty getting to work or finishing responsibilities
- Strong feelings of guilt or grief
- Concentration problems
- Disruptions in sleep
- Suicidal ideation
Now that the symptoms have been established, it’s necessary to consider how long depression episodes last. Some of these symptoms must endure for two weeks or more in order for a period of melancholy to be recognized as a depressive episode. However, due to the underlying reason of depressive episodes, this phase of melancholy and apathy is unlikely to pass on its own. But, before we get into how to come out of a depressed episode, it’s vital to first understand what causes one.
The Best Easy Tips to Get Out of a Depressive Episode
Treating depression as soon as symptoms appear can help patients recover faster. Even those who have been depressed for a long time may find that changing their way of thinking and behaving improves their mood.
The following tips may assist people in dealing with a depressive episode:
#1. Keep Track of Causes and Symptoms
Keeping a note of feelings and symptoms may aid in understanding what causes a depression episode. Early detection of depression symptoms may help individuals escape a full-blown depressive episode.
Keep a diary to record significant events, changes in everyday routines, and mood swings. Rate moods on a scale of 1 to 10 to assist in determining which situations or activities elicit distinct reactions. Consult a doctor if your symptoms last 14 days or longer.
#2. Remain Calm
Detecting the onset of a depressive episode might be frightening. An understandable reaction to the earliest signs of depression is to feel panicked or anxious. These reactions, however, may lead to poor mood and exacerbate other symptoms such as lack of appetite and sleep disruption.
Instead, concentrate on remaining calm. Remember that depression is treatable and that the feelings will pass.
Anyone who has previously had depressive episodes should remind themselves that these feelings can be overcome. They should concentrate on their abilities and the lessons they’ve learned from earlier melancholy periods.
Meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises are examples of self-help strategies that can help a person learn to look at situations in a different light and foster a sense of calm. There are self-help publications as well as phone and online counseling courses available.
#3. Recognize and Accept Depression
Learning more about depression might help people cope with it. Depression is a common and serious mental health issue. It is not a sign of weakness or personal deficiency.
Accepting that a depressed episode may occur from time to time may help people cope when one occurs. Remember that symptoms can be managed with therapies such as lifestyle modifications, medication, and therapy.
#4. Separate Yourself from the Depression
A person is not their ailment; they are not their condition. When depression symptoms appear, some people find it helpful to say to themselves, “I am not depression, I just have depression.”
A person should remind themselves of all of their other qualities. They could be a parent, sibling, friend, spouse, neighbor, or coworker. Each person has unique traits, abilities, and positive characteristics that define who they are.
#5. Understand the Significance of Self-Care
Self-care is critical for maintaining physical and emotional wellness. Self-care activities are any actions that assist people in caring for their own well-being.
Taking time to rest, refuel, and connect with oneself and others is what self-care entails. It also entails saying no to others when overwhelmed and making time for oneself to relax and soothe.
Eating a healthy diet, engaging in creative activities, and taking a relaxing bath are all examples of basic self-care activities. However, any action that improves one’s mental, emotional, or physical health can be classified as self-care.
#6. Deep Breathing and Muscle Relaxation
Slowly inhaling and exhaling has psychological benefits.
Deep breathing exercises can help to reduce anxiety and soothe the body’s stress reaction. Slowly breathing and exhaling provide both physical and psychological benefits, especially when done regularly.
Deep breathing can be practiced by everyone, whether in the car, at work, or at the grocery store. Many smartphone apps, many of which are free to download, include guided deep breathing activities.
Another useful treatment for people suffering from sadness and anxiety is progressive muscle relaxation. Decreased stress entails tensing and relaxing the muscles in the body. Many smartphone apps, once again, provide guided progressive muscle relaxation exercises.
#7. Confront Negative Thoughts
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a successful treatment for depression and other mood disorders. CBT contends that a person’s thoughts, rather than their real circumstances, influence their mood.
To change moods and actions, CBT entails shifting negative beliefs into more balanced ones. CBT sessions can be provided by a certified therapist, but it is also feasible to challenge negative ideas without consulting a therapist.
To begin, take note of how frequently negative thoughts arise and what these ideas say. “I am not good enough” or “I am a failure” are examples. Then, confront those thoughts and replace them with more positive phrases like “I tried my best” and “I am sufficient.”
#8. Practice Mindfulness
Spend some time each day being mindful and appreciating the present moment. This could include recognizing the warmth of the sun on your skin as you walk to work or the flavor and texture of a crisp, sweet apple at lunchtime.
Mindfulness encourages people to be totally present in the present moment, rather than stressing about the future or lingering on the past.
According to research, regular periods of mindfulness help reduce depression symptoms and improve the negative reactions that some people with chronic or recurrent depression have to low mood.
#9. Establish a bedtime routine
Sleep has a significant impact on mood and mental health. Sleep deprivation can exacerbate depression symptoms, while depression can interfere with sleep. To counteract these effects, try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, especially on weekends.
Create a nightly routine. Begin winding down at 8 p.m. Drink some chamomile tea, read a book, or soak in a warm bath. Avoid coffee and screen time. Writing in a journal before bedtime may also be beneficial, especially for people whose racing thoughts keep them awake.
Exercise is incredibly good for persons suffering from depression. It causes the release of endorphins, which increase mood. According to a review of 25 studies on exercise and depression, exercise has a “large and meaningful effect” on depressive symptoms.
#11. Stay away from alcohol
Alcohol is a depressive, and it can cause new episodes of depression or worsen existing ones. Some antidepressant and anxiety drugs can potentially interact with alcohol.
If you want to get out of depression, you should check what you drink in addition to eating a nutritious diet. Caffeine and alcohol are both known to have an impact on mood. Drinking these beverages in moderation is normally not dangerous, but if you don’t keep track of your consumption, they can have a bad impact on your mental health.
Caffeine, for example, might keep you awake, and a lack of sleep can exacerbate a depressed episode. Caffeine might also make you tense and increase anxiety symptoms.
Similarly, alcohol is believed to exacerbate the symptoms of mood disorders such as depression. Furthermore, when dealing with sadness, it is simple to begin drinking heavily as an escape mechanism, placing you at danger of alcoholism.
#12. Keep track of the positives
Depressive episodes frequently cause people to focus on the problems while ignoring the advantages. Keep a positivism or gratitude diary to counteract this. This style of notebook promotes self-esteem.
Before going to bed, make a list of three good things that happened during the day. Regular meditation, going for a stroll, eating a nutritious meal, and other activities are all beneficial.
#13. Consume Healthy Diet
When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to reach for a sugary or salty snack for consolation, but these unhealthy foods might exacerbate your depression. Weight increase, for example, as a result of poor eating habits, might exacerbate depression.
Not only does what you eat affect your body, but it also affects your mind. Start by eating a healthy, balanced diet to fuel your body and mind if you want to break out of a depressive episode.
#14. Remain in Contact With Family and Friends
During a depressive episode, it is common to withdraw from loved ones. However, isolating yourself from social circumstances can exacerbate your sadness.
If you’re wondering what to do during a melancholy episode, make an effort to socialize. Spending time with friends and family members is one of the most effective strategies to lift your spirits.
#15. Keep Your Mind Busy
Engaging in enjoyable activities is one approach to combat sorrow. Consider your hobbies and favorite activities, ideally those that involve other people. Depression can cause you to lose interest in those things, yet the passion remains.
Painting, cooking, listening to music, playing a musical instrument, working in the garden, or journaling all cause the brain to release dopamine and other pleasurable chemicals, which can help raise your mood during a depression episode.
How to Get Out of a Depressive Episode FAQs
What helps against depressive episodes?
It can be good to speak with a counselor or psychotherapist. Low moods and negative ideas can be addressed with talk therapy. A therapist can also teach clients coping skills to assist them to deal with future bouts of depression.
How long do depressive episodes last usually?
A depressive episode’s duration varies and is influenced by its severity, as well as treatment and individual circumstances. A depressed episode, on the other hand, is considered to last six to eight months on average.
What qualifies as depressive episode?
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines a depressive episode as a two-week period in one’s life during which they display the symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD symptoms are varied and include the following: A bad mood. Sadness (more on that later).