Last week we talked about how to have a conversation with your loved ones about depression. But what if you’re the one struggling with this mental illness? The first step should always be going to talk to a mental health professional about managing your illness. Along with professional treatment, here are six healthy coping mechanisms from Mayo Clinic for self-managing your depression.

1. Stick to your treatment plan

First of all, stick to your treatment plan. Sticking with your plan is the best way to set yourself up for successes, even small ones. Find someone who can support you in this plan, potentially someone in addition to your mental health provider. Attend all appointments and therapy sessions.

2. Exercise

Take care of your body by exercising regularly and eating healthy foods. A common symptom of depression is having a hard time sleeping, and exercise can help with this. Bike, run, walk, go to the IWC. If you’re nervous about going to the gym because it’s unfamiliar to you, ask a friend who goes regularly to show you around.

Another idea for working out is using the BetterYou Health & Fitness App, created by a fellow WSU student. The app offers on demand workouts for free.

3. Journal

Mayo Clinic suggests keeping a journal to accompany your journey. As an English major, I have journaled since I was a little kid, and it always makes me feel better. It helps to get both your positive and negative emotions down on paper. My personal choice for a journal is a spiral, hardcover notebook from Walmart or Target.

4. Take up yoga

Learn ways to manage your stress, such as meditation, or even yoga. Trust me, I also shy away from the idea of scary public classes filled with fit people in expensive workout clothes. The good news? Workout classes aren’t like that. They’re filled with people just like you, trying to live a balanced life. If you’re still not convinced, try Yoga With Adriene. Adriene’s YouTube channel is filled with easy beginner yoga videos. If yoga is something that works for you, Adriene also has a bunch of 30 day video challenges, with the videos gradually increasing in difficulty.

5. Plan out your day

Use sticky notes, a planner, anything to help you structure your time. It may help you to make a list of tasks and activities every day. Buy highlighters and cross daily accomplishments off of your list.

 6. Find Support

Most importantly, reach out. As soon as you see warning signs, seek treatment to prevent depression symptoms from getting worse. Talk to a mental health professional. Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. The people who love you will be your greatest advocates in this battle, and they will be there for you. They are rooting for you. We are all rooting for you.

Resources

Engaging with others in the area of mental health can be beneficial. Check out these great on-campus opportunities.

  • Grief Support Group – The group is held on Tuesdays, and runs for five weeks, and pre-registration is required. Call 507.457.5330 or email Eunie Alsaker at EAlsaker@winona.edu. This group starts next Tuesday, October 24th.
  • Anxiety Management Seminar – Held on Wednesdays at 11:00 in the Relaxation Room (IWC 267).
  • Active Minds Club – They meet Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. in Minne 102. They are a club dedicated to removing stigma around mental health issues and creating a comfortable environment for open conversation on mental health issues. Join their Facebook group.
  • For more events related to mental health, check out Wellness Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m. every week in the Well (IWC 138).
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Emma Cavanaugh

Emma is majoring in English Writing, and minoring in Theatre, as well as English Literature and Language. Though she hails from Lake City, MN, the birthplace of waterskiing, Emma has actually never been waterskiing. She's always excited to try new things though and is interested in health and wellness topics.