Depression is a serious condition that can be difficult to overcome and it can afflict dog parents and non-dog parents alike. This condition is not just about temporarily feeling sad; it can make you feel like everything in your life is pointless and there’s no desire to continue on. If you’ve been feeling this way for an extended period, then it may be time to seek help from a therapist, psychiatrist, or another resource. Here are 5 of the best ways to help yourself move past depression:
1) Professional Therapy Sessions
We all talk to our pets as they are the best listeners. Dogs can sense when we are sad or down, scared or recovering from an injury. They also give us a sense of responsibility and the joy of caring for another and providing a good life for them. Sometimes, while pets can lift our mood and give us a reason to be social, a lending ear, we require outside help.
One of the most common (and most effective) forms of treatment for depression is through therapy. Therapy sessions can help you identify what is causing your depression and teach you how to move past it. In some cases, a therapist might suggest medication as well.
Working with a therapist can be an extremely beneficial experience because it allows you to openly discuss your thoughts and feelings in a safe and judgment-free environment. It is also a great way to discover coping mechanisms, make you more self-aware, and find things that can help you live your life in a more positive way.
2) Join a Support Group with a Service Dog/Emotional Support Animal
If you’re not comfortable talking about your feelings with a therapist, consider joining a support group instead- they even have ones with therapy dogs. This can help you connect in a way that is natural to you. Additionally, it’s also great way to connect with other people who are going through the same thing as you and can offer you advice and support. It can also be helpful to have an outlet where you can open up about your difficulties and know that you won’t be judged.
Additionally, support groups can give you the strength to stick with your treatment plan and help you become more confident in yourself as a result. You might even find new friends through support groups that can stick with you and help you continue managing your condition in the future.
3) Finding a Rehab Center
There are many reasons that you should consider rehab for depression. If you are finding your mental illness is adversely impacting your personal relationships, causing you to be less productive in school or work, or causing everyday activities to feel burdensome, then it may be time to seek help. It is also highly beneficial if you are using drugs and/or alcohol to cope, hoarding pets, or you are experiencing suicidal thoughts because rehab centers can help protect you from your own behaviors.
By checking yourself into a rehab center, you can find some peace and quiet and focus on your treatment while knowing that someone is taking care of the rest of life’s responsibilities for you. This form of retreat can allow you to learn more about how depression works and what might be causing it in order to help you move past it and return to a normal life.
4) Exercising with Your Pet
Exercise has been found to be one of the best ways to manage depression- and what better way to do this than with your dog. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help alleviate your depressive symptoms and improve your mood overall. This is especially useful if you are struggling with major depressive disorder or dysthymic disorder because it helps correct your body’s chemical balance and gives you a way to cope with your mood disorder.
In addition, exercise is a great way for you to start feeling better about yourself and begin taking care of your physical health as well. It can help increase confidence levels in both men and women because it boosts self-esteem by allowing people to see their progress over time. It is also a great way to relieve stress and tension.
If you are not currently exercising, start by gradually adding some light exercise into your routine. You might want to try going for a walk every day or doing some basic yoga poses. If you want to bring your pet, many places now have Doga (yoga with your dog) as well! As you begin to feel better, you can add in more strenuous exercises until you find things that work best for you and your depression.
5) Getting Enough Sleep With Your Pet
While it may seem counterintuitive to get more rest when you are struggling with depression, sleep is actually a very important part of managing your condition. Many people who suffer from mood disorders find that they have trouble sleeping at night because their mind has too much free time to wander and think about all the things in life that make them feel down.
One thing many pet parents do that hinders their quality of sleep is contorting their bodies so they don’t disturb their pets rest on the bed. If this is you, consider putting a pet bed designed for your pet to sleep in so that you can both still sleep in the same bed, but with minimal physical disturbance to your rest. If this is still not enough, consider crating your pet or installing a dog door for your pet to go in and out as they please (especially if it is a cat) and it can handle itself outdoors.
By getting a good night’s sleep, you can help your body and mind to relax and de-stress. This will help you to feel more rested in the morning and allow you to start your day with a fresh perspective. It is also important to avoid using screens (TVs, phones, laptops) before bed because they can hinder your body’s ability to produce melatonin, which is necessary for a restful night.
While there are many ways to fight depression, these 5 methods are a great place to start if you are looking for a way out. Several of them can be used in conjunction with each other to make your treatment plan even more effective. The important thing to remember is that everyone experiences depression differently, so you should focus on trying various methods of coping until you start feeling better.
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