A Side Effect When You Stop Smoking Is Depression Here Is What You Can Do
Did you know that smokers are much more likely to suffer from depression compared to non-smokers?
There are many possible reasons behind this. Many smokers, for instance, use smoking as a coping mechanism for the depression they’ve been experiencing long before they picked up a cigarette. In such cases, smoking and nicotine are believed to make depression even worse. Other smokers become depressed as a result of nicotine withdrawal. The negative thoughts and emotions brought by withdrawal are simply too much for these people to handle, so they spiral down into depression.
If you’re in the middle of quitting smoking and you find yourself succumbing to the heaviness of depression, it’s important that you immediately seek the help of a medical professional, especially if the negative emotions last for more than two weeks. A mental health professional can provide the proper treatment for your depression and help you deal with the effects of this mental illness on your life.
A therapist or any licensed health professional is invaluable in overcoming depression, but you’ll have to help dig yourself out of that pit of despair, too. Once you’re getting the help you need from a therapist, you can put this game plan in place so you can defeat depression once and for all.
Keep your days busy.
You’re probably familiar with the saying about idle minds being the devil’s playground. Keeping your mind occupied is one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t linger on the negativity that depression brings. Plan your days so that each day is filled with a mix of productive tasks and leisurely activities.
This can get tricky during the weekends, when there’s no office work to distract you, so make sure you fill your weekends with fun activities. Take up a new hobby, reorganize rooms in your home, or even get started on that novel you’ve always wanted to write – the important thing is that you keep your mind and your hands busy.
Come up with a reward system for accomplishments, no matter how small or big.
Once it gets severe enough, depression can have a debilitating, energy-zapping effect. Some days, you might not feel like getting out of bed at all. A reward system may be just the thing you need to motivate yourself to fight through the fog of depression.
Did you push yourself out of bed and get through a day at the office even though your depression was almost too overwhelming? Reward yourself with your favorite food at the end of the day. Did you get up and take a shower after a week of wallowing in bed? Give yourself an extra hour of TV as a reward for your efforts.
Celebrate your victories, no matter how small they are. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel will go a long way in your fight against depression.
Do some exercise daily.
Regular physical activity has been found to have many positive effects on your body. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which help reduce your perception of pain by interacting with brain receptors. Of course, endorphins also trigger that rush of positive feelings, which are certainly welcome when you’re suffering through depression.
Many studies have established the effectiveness of regular exercise as a means of helping patients overcome depression. Some activities you can do every day to get some exercise include gardening, sweeping or vacuuming around the house, mowing or raking the yard, moderate jogging, low-impact aerobics, walking, yoga, and dancing. Pretty easy stuff, right? You probably already do all these activities at least each week.
If you’re planning to incorporate an exercise plan into your treatment plan for depression, you’ll want to consult your therapist or your primary physician first. A medical professional can properly assess your health and recommend the right physical activity levels. You may have to start with less strenuous activities such as walking before moving on to more physically demanding activities.
Don’t let a day pass without doing something you enjoy.
Sometimes you get so caught up in your busy life or in therapy sessions for your depression that you take for granted the unique joy of just having fun. Fun can be found in many places, and, of course, different people have different ways of enjoying themselves.
Make it a point to have some measure of fun each day, no matter how small. Enjoying yourself doesn’t have to take much effort. Watch your favorite movie if you have the time or read some parts of your favorite book. Browse the Internet for photos of cute baby animals or play your favorite videogame for an hour or two. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you truly enjoy doing.
Maintain connections with family members, friends, and other loved ones.
You can’t get through depression on your own. There are going to be overwhelming, incredibly difficult moments when you’ll need encouragement and support, and where better to get those than from your loved ones? Isolating yourself during these dark times will also only make your depression worse.
Make sure to keep in touch with the family members and friends you’re closest with as you’re going through treatment for depression. Put their numbers on speed-dial on your phone, if you want, so you can get in touch with them as quickly as possible when the cravings for a cigarette are particularly hard to resist.