Depression is something no one wants to deal with, but unfortunately, around 3.8% of the world’s population suffers from depression.
Anyone can fall into the depression cycle. Sometimes we know the reason behind it, and sometimes we can’t figure it out. In any case, finding the root cause and tackling it is essential to break the depression cycle.
First, you must realize that it may be hard to get out of depression, but it is not impossible. If you are going through self-help posts, you probably want to improve your mental health and are looking for help. If so, you have already taken the first step towards the cure. You cannot solve a problem if you don’t acknowledge that there is one in the first place.
In this post, we’ll explore what depression is and if what you feel really is depression. We’ll also discuss lifestyle changes that can help you in your quest of how to break a depression cycle, keep yourself from falling into depression again and again, and much more.
So, let’s dive in.
Is It Really Depression? – Symptoms & Warning Signs
We can feel lost, worn out, and hopeless because of exhaustion, trauma, depression, and many other reasons. Here are some of the major depression symptoms to find out if you are suffering from depression or not:
Withdrawal from Friends and Family
If depressed, two things can lead to withdrawal from your loved ones; You either start to feel like they don’t understand you, or you distance yourself from them intentionally because you think you’re a burden. Unfortunately, when it comes to your emotional health, keeping your friends and family in the dark will only create misunderstandings and distance.
Irregular Sleep Cycle
Being unable to sleep soundly or for more than 10 hours a day could be a problem. An adult only needs 7-9 hours of sleep a day to function properly. If you sleep more than this and still feel tired throughout the day, you should consider decreasing your sleeping time. On the other hand, only getting 4-5 hours of sleep every day will tire out your body quickly. If you find it impossible to fix your sleeping schedule, it could be a symptom of depression.
Eating Disorders & Toxic Eating Habits
Skipping meals and then binge eating unhealthy food is one of the most common toxic eating habits. It can lead to weight gain and lower self-esteem. Bad eating habits can be caused by depression, and they feed depression as well. Similarly, starving yourself or eating little to no value meals is also a significant eating disorder. Taking control of your meals is the first step towards a healthier lifestyle. If you’re unable to control your eating habits, it could be a sign of depression.
We tend to feel more anxious and self-conscious when we are depressed. If you constantly feel increased anxiety for a long time, it could be due to depression. Anxiety could be in any form: feeling uncomfortable in crowds, too nervous to form new bonds, feeling unwanted among your loved ones, etc.
Crankiness & Increased Irritability
This is probably the most easily noticeable depression sign. When depressed, we get annoyed easily and experience short temperaments and lower tolerance levels. This usually stems from inner unhappiness and discontentment. When you’re not happy from within, the happiness outside will annoy you. Try to be more self-aware and notice if this is the case.
Inability to Enjoy Things & Moments
Another tell-tale depression sign is the loss of joy in things that once brought you happiness. The inability to enjoy hobbies, feeling disconnected in the company of loved ones, and finding it difficult to be happy for others are all signs of unhappiness and depression.
Constant Fatigue & Exhaustion
Feeling tired and unmotivated for long periods of time can be a sign of depression. Are you as tired as you should be? Or do you feel exhausted without even doing any physical activity? If you feel worn out without doing much, you could be tired due to mental and emotional exhaustion.
If you wake up feeling sad, hopeless, and purposeless about your day, it may be because of morning depression. Experiencing these feelings repeatedly could be the symptom of a bigger problem.
Lack of Motivation & Hopelessness
Feeling hopeless about the future, like nothing could go right for you, will slowly eat you away. This mindset is one of the worst things about depression. It makes your perspective on life bitter and negative and puts you in a never-ending cycle of dread. You get what you attract. A hopeless person cannot take the necessary steps required for self-improvement.
Fluctuations in Weight
Irregular, toxic eating habits lead to fluctuations in weight. Frequent weight loss or weight gain is a warning sign. Balanced, evenly timed meals are essential for maintaining a healthy weight and mindset. If you notice your body weight changing frequently, it could signify depression.
What is a Depression Cycle?
A depression cycle is when the symptoms of depression feed further depression. Let me explain:
If you keep starving yourself or binge on unhealthy food, you’ll gain or lose significant weight. This drastic weight change can lower your self-esteem and initiate feelings of depression. Similarly, if you feel cranky and get annoyed easily, you might let it out on an innocent person. This can result in feelings of guilt and, again, lower self-esteem.
Almost all symptoms of depression lead to lower self-confidence, lower self-esteem, and increased anxiety and stress. But does this stop when you get depressed? Unfortunately, no, it gets worse.
Depression makes you lose hope for self-improvement. As a result, you stop putting in the effort to improve yourself or your circumstances. This further worsens your symptoms of depression, and this continues until you break the cycle of depression.
Is it Possible to Break a Depression Cycle without Medication?
Yes, it definitely is.
While there is nothing wrong with taking prescribed medication for depression, you can still break the cycle of depression by changing your habits and lifestyle and doing things particularly to improve your mental health.
In the next section, we’ll discuss how exactly you can do this.
How to Break a Depression Cycle with Lifestyle Changes
When suffering from depression, the first thing you should realize is that you’re not alone. About 77% of young depressed people seek help online. Don’t worry. Let’s look at the top 10 ways to break the depression cycle.
Wake up 30 Minutes Early
“Wake up early!” is something we often hear but struggle to act on. Waking up early doesn’t necessarily mean waking up at 4 or 5 in the morning. Just a 30 minutes time window is enough too. But you must dedicate these 30 minutes entirely to yourself. Make a to-do list for the day, talk to yourself and have a moment of calmness before facing the world. This will help you with anxiety, regulate your sleeping pattern, and improve your self-esteem.
If you want a healthier mind, stop eating unhealthy food. Junk food makes you sluggish, causes weight gain and skin problems, and much more. Binge eating once in a while is not a big deal, but making junk food a routine matter is terrible for your physical and mental health. On the other hand, not eating enough because of loss of appetite is also equally unhealthy. If you can’t have big meals, eat in small portions throughout the day.
Change Your Perspective
Yes, life is uncertain, but it is what you make of it. A negative, hopeless mindset will cripple you, while a positive, hopeful mindset will motivate you to do better for yourself and others. Don’t let failures or setbacks change your perspective on life. Instead, accept them as part of a bigger, diverse picture. This will significantly help you break the depression cycle.
Tidy up & Organize
Living or working in an unorganized, untidy space will clutter your mind and soul. The first step towards an organized lifestyle is tidying up your surroundings. In fact, decorate your space with things that represent “you.” You don’t have to get fancy; just try loving your workspace and home. Respect and own the spaces you spend most of your time in.
Do Outdoors Activities
Try to make time for nature. Observe everything happening around you (ditch your phone), and try to feel connected to yourself and nature. Early morning walks in a park, trekking or hiking to see a sunset or sunrise, or simply sitting in a quiet outdoor space can be therapeutic. Never underestimate the real beauty of nature.
Maintain a Regular Sleep Cycle
Going to bed on time is perhaps one of the best things to do for yourself. Self-care isn’t just long baths or visits to the salon. It’s also allowing your body to rest and regain strength before tackling another day. Sleeping early is also a great way to avoid those midnight overthinking sessions.
Be Mindfully Grateful
If we keep fixating on the negatives and the things we don’t have, we’ll fail to value what we do have. So instead, try to look for things to be grateful for, no matter how insignificant they seem. Anything that brings even the slightest amount of comfort or joy to your life is worth being grateful for.
Practise Kindness Towards Yourself and Others
Make this a daily mantra: be kind. Trust me, it goes a long way.
Being kind to others brings inner joy and peace. Adding value to another person’s day adds value to yours as well. Kindness also helps nurture relationships. Most importantly, being kind to yourself and towards your emotional well-being builds self-esteem and allows you to be happy for others.
Don’t Isolate Yourself (But Get Rid of Dead Ends)
Relationships and emotional bonds can make or break our lives. A wholesome relationship with a friend, partner, or family member where you can be yourself unapologetically and share your feelings can have a massively positive impact on your mindset. On the other hand, holding on to toxic relationships simply out of fear of loneliness is self-sabotage. Know your worth.
Find something that you can enjoy on your own. It could be reading, painting, going for walks, cooking, doing makeup, etc. The possibilities are endless! Look within or take inspiration from movies, books, people, and your surroundings. However, don’t forget that you don’t have to be the best at your hobby. The purpose is not to be productive or the best; it is to enjoy time with yourself.
Don’t fall into the Cycle Again
Before concluding this post, I want to answer a frequently asked question: “I broke the depression cycle. Does this mean I’ll never be depressed again? Is it wrong to feel depressed again and again?”.
When it comes to being depressed, there is no wrong except one: giving up. It is okay to feel depressed from time to time. However, don’t forget that if you have broken the depression cycle once, you can do it again too. Always try to maintain confidence in your ability to battle depression.
Most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself for feeling depressed again. Be kind. This is the only way to make it out again.
Depression is a mental sickness. Like any other form of sickness, depression should also be treated right away. There is no reason to remain stuck in the depression cycle. It is okay to fall into depression, but it is certainly not okay to not actively try to escape it.
We hope that this post helps you find answers on how to break a depression cycle to find happiness again. Remember, you owe it to yourself to make every effort to find yourself again.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need to talk about your mental health and share your story.