Coping with Depression

If you're suffering from depression, you will have trouble sticking to your goals. You need a certain discipline, mind clarity and consistency, and depression can cripple you to the point you can't focus on the big picture.

So I'm gonna tell you how I cope with it. Bear in mind that this is a vast subject and one video isn't gonna cover everything. I will be making separate videos with all the details about the ways I cope, but right now, let's start with the basics.

It could be purely physical

Your depression could be purely physical, in which case it has nothing to do on whether things are going right in your life or not.

For instance, my hormonal imbalances cause depression. If you're a woman, you know how your mood changes just from that time of the month. Imagine having an imbalance, a nutritional deficiency, a chronic disease or a reaction to medication or certain foods. 

So, do some bloodwork, check that everything is in order and find out whether this is more than meets the eye.

Clean up your diet

Processed sugar and sweeteners make my depression worse. Caffeine and chocolate make me irritable, anxious and depressed for days. So that's a food reaction. You need to keep a journal with what you are eating and how do you feel after, so that you can eliminate any triggers. I know it's hard giving up certain things, but it's not worth it if it makes you worse. There are many suitable substitutes, for instance you can replace coffee with green tea, chocolate with Medjool dates, sugar with honey.

Keep your diet balanced

Yes we need to eliminate trigger foods, but we still need to keep our diet nutritious and balanced. Like I've already mentioned, your depression could be a sign of a nutritional deficiency. You shouldn't cut out food groups unless you are allergic or you have intolerance. 

Going on keto is not the answer, going vegan is not the answer. You need the protein, you need the fat, you need the carbs, and you need all the vitamins and minerals from multiple food sources. 

Exercise provides immediate relief

Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good. You can feel the difference in your mood immediately, during and after the workout. I personally like to workout first thing in the morning, for 2 reasons: 
I cope with the day's stresses more efficiently,

And I don't have to worry about whether I'll find the time or strength to exercise in the afternoon. I get it over with first thing.

I would suggest not to do a single type of workout. Like don't do just cardio, or just strength training. Do it all. 

Strength training is good for blowing off steam, and makes me feel accomplished when I'm done. 
Steady state cardio clears my head, gets my brain working more efficiently, and even gets me into a zen state.
And I use yoga and meditation to relieve stress, escape from reality and relax.

For continuous benefits, you need to exercise on a daily basis and for as long as you can. Long workout sessions, like 1 - 2 hours a day are best. And try to stay active throughout the day. Like I don't just do my 2 hour session in the morning. I also try to stay active in the afternoons. You could go for a walk, you could grease the groove to improve on specific exercises, you could have a 5 minute break from work and do some planks, or some yoga before bed etc.

Accept that life sucks

There are things you can control, and things you can't. You need to accept the fact that anything you're trying to accomplish will take time and effort, any plans you make might fall apart for any reason, people will come and go, and hurt, and obstacles will slow you down.

I used to get depressed by the smallest change. You need to learn to adapt and overcome. If something happens and you can't exercise in the morning, do it in the afternoon. If you can't do your usual 2 hour training today, do 30 minutes, or even 10 minutes, whenever you can squeeze it into your day. 

Even when I've lost people in my life, I kept myself active and eating healthy at all times. Never stop. Don't stress eat, don't stay in bed when things go to hell. Pick yourself up and keep moving... literally. You need to learn to separate your emotions from your eating (more on that on a separate video).

Don't underestimate lack of sleep

Lack of sleep will increase irritability, hunger, anxiety, depression and fatigue. I will make a separate video on how to deal with insomnia, but if you're the reason you're keeping yourself up at night (staring at your phone on social media or playing games or partying hard on a workday), then you need to stop. Sleep early, get up early and be productive.

Keep yourself busy at all times

Idleness will cause thoughts to creep up your mind. You start overthinking things. I've been there. You need to keep yourself physically and mentally busy at all times. Exercise frequently, tidy up  (a clean home lifts the mood), read a book, learn a new language or a new skill (there are many websites that offer courses for free), adopt a pet, volunteer to help people in need, start a new business. If you don't have time to think, you won't get depressed.

You are your worst enemy

Last but not least, you are your worst enemy.

Many people come to me complaining about their problems (I'm overweight, I can't stop eating,  I can't sleep, I'm not motivated, I don't know where to start etc), and I tell them EXACTLY what they need to do and how to do it. If you're getting solid advice towards the solution of your problems, and your response to it starts with "but", then you're sabotaging yourself. It's not your problems that are stopping you, it's you.

You need to be open minded and try things out, no matter how hard things are for you right now. That first step is the biggest one and you need to take it. 

Stop being so harsh on yourself and start setting things in motion. Have faith in your abilities and do the work. You're worth it, and you CAN change things for the better.