Losing out on sleep can lead to a downward spiral of depression. According to the National Sleep Foundation: The relationship between sleep and depressive illness is complex–depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders.”
When you lose out on sleep, you become more depressed and when you become more depressed, your sleep can be disrupted. It’s a vicious cycle that can culminate gradually over weeks and months.
The correct amount of sleep a person requires varies depending on lifestyle and age, but a general rule of thumb is to aim for 7 to 8 hours every night. If you don’t manage to get this amount of sleep, make sure to sleep longer the next day. Always pay your sleep debts.
2. Don’t take on too much!
While staying busy isn’t a problem, doing too much, too soon could be. Feeling overwhelmed creates stress, and stress is a risk factor for depression. Stressful experiences can make the symptoms of anxiety and depression additionally severe.
Practice mindfulness as: (1) a way of becoming aware of what is causing your stress, and (2) what helps to alleviate your stress. Manage and alleviate stress by creating balance in your daily life and knowing your limits. Create realistic goals for what you can actually accomplish in a day.
3. Exercise and eat well!
Exercise appears to be an antidepressant in its own right and may act as a vital coping skill when dealing with stress. Diet and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to maintaining mental and physical well-being.
A low-fat diet, rich in fish, especially omega-3s, and folic acid can be helpful for maintaining a positive and productive attitude. Also, minimize alcohol and caffeine use. It’s no big secret that alcohol is a depressant, and even if you don’t want to completely eliminate it from your diet, at least be mindful of how it’s having an effect on your mental and physical well-being. Additionally, limit your caffeine intake. Constantly coming off “caffeine highs” can place unnecessary stress on the mind and body; it can also cause severe sleep disturbances.
4. Stop blaming yourself!
Stop mentally berating yourself for missteps, either real or imagined. Keeping at your forefront a constant bombardment of “I should have done this differently” or “If only I would have done that” is counterproductive, and could send you spiraling downward into depression, but most of all it prevents you from actively working in the present to create appropriate and effective change.
Acknowledge what didn’t work, take responsibility for it, accept what you can’t change, and focus on changing what you can.
5. Find your passion!
You must find your passion. It is a happiness that can motivate and challenge us on a daily basis. It could be writing, creating, helping people, self-improvement, sports, or anything that engages you and provides the right amount of challenge and stimulation.
To live with passion, you must first find your passion.
6. Become aware of and use the resources around you!
So you’re doing all of the above and you’re still feeling stressed and depressed, then try using some of the additional resources on campus such as meeting with a counselor at the University Counseling Center or going to an Anxiety Management Group that’s being offered in Marquette 112 from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm. Below is a list of the days, times, and topics of each Anxiety Management Group being offered.
UCC Anxiety Management Groups
Can’t stop worrying? Tired, irritable or having trouble concentrating? Stressed about school, work, friends and/or family? The University Counseling Center is offering FREE anxiety workshops throughout the fall semester:
Date Topic Facilitator
Tuesday, 09/22/15 Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Asia Wong, LMSW
Tuesday, 09/29/15 Automatic Thoughts and Cognitive Distortions Alicia Bourque, PhD
Wednesday, 10/07/15 Progressive Muscle Relaxation Erin Shapiro, LPC
Tuesday, 10/20/15 Self-Care and Stress Management Gil Lerma, MA
Wednesday, 10/21/15 Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Asia Wong, LMSW
Wednesday, 10/28/15 Automatic Thoughts and Cognitive Distortions Alicia Bourque, PhD
Wednesday, 11/04/15 Progressive Muscle Relaxation Erin Shapiro, LPC
Wednesday, 11/11/15 Self-Care and Stress Management Gil Lerma, MA
Thursday, 11/19/15 Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Asia Wong, LMSW
Thursday, 12/03/15 Automatic Thoughts and Cognitive Distortions Alicia Bourque, PhD
Thursday, 12/10/15 Progressive Muscle Relaxation Erin Shapiro, LPC
Thursday, 12/17/15 Self-Care and Stress Management Gil Lerma, MA
All groups meet from 12:30 pm-1:30 pm in Marquette 112. Groups are open to all currently enrolled Loyola students. No pre-registration is necessary and you are welcome to join at any time. Call the UCC at 504-865-3835 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you would like to make an appointment, simply call (504)-865-3835 or visit the UCC in the Danna Center. It is best to call or stop by to schedule your appointment as soon as you need assistance. If you need immediate assistance after-hours or on weekends for a mental health emergency, please call LUPD at (504) 865-3434 and ask to speak with the counselor-on-call. A UCC staff member is on-call 24/7/365.