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What can you do in case of depression?

Depression is a condition that affects mood and feelings. If you have it, you can lose yourself in gloom. You lose interest in the people and things around you and can no longer really enjoy yourself. If the feelings of gloom last longer than two weeks, it is important to take action in the form of prevention or treatment.

Many people suffer from it

Depression is the most common of all mental disorders. It is more often suffered by women than men. But anyone can suffer from it, regardless of age, education or ethnicity. About five per cent of people in the Netherlands suffer from depression every year. But the percentage of people who experience depression at some point in their lives is many times higher (almost 19 per cent).

Depression sometimes passes, but usually not by itself. About half of people with depression recover within three months. Another part, about one-fifth, may suffer for years.

What do you recognise depression by?

Depressive symptoms are sometimes hard to recognise. Many of the symptoms can also indicate something else. Yet there are clear indications. If you suffer from depression, you always suffer from:

  • a gloomy mood

  • reduction in interest or pleasure.

In addition, there are more symptoms. Those with depression always have at least five of the following symptoms:

  • weight change, loss of appetite or, on the contrary, eating a lot

  • poor sleep, insomnia or the opposite: sleeping a lot

  • extremely restless feeling, difficulty sitting still

  • listless, sluggish and tired, lack of energy

  • irritable

  • feeling of worthlessness or guilt

  • difficulty concentrating, thinking and making decisions

  • worrying a lot

  • no desire for sex

  • frequent thoughts of death and suicide.

What can you do?

You are not alone and you don't have to do it alone. I'm not going to tell you here about the GP and POH, most people know this. And referrals to a psychologist can take months.... There are also other forms of therapy that are very helpful. Mindfulness, for example. Or Body-centred therapy. And of course what I offer, which is solution-focused integrative psychotherapy and hypnotherapy.

What can you do yourself?

Besides professional help, you can also do some things yourself. A dear friend of mine suffers from periods of depression and I asked him what helps him. And among them were some very simple unexpected tips. These I will also share with you. During depression, you have too low a percentage of certain neurotransmitters. Namely serotonin and norepinephrine, If you don't want/can't go on medication to support these neurotransmitters, there are a number of things that can help increase the level of these neurotransmitters. Here is an overview of some things you can do yourself to reverse the downward spiral and darkness.

10 tips what to do when depressed:

Tip 1:

Stop sedating. Stop drugs, emotion eating, alcohol, gaming, etc. This does not help. In fact, it often makes things worse.

Tip 2:

Go outside. Take a stroll. Take a walk around the block. Walking is so incredibly easy to do and has over 200 positive effects on your brain. 🧠 Like making hormones, neurotransmitters and taking the steps also happens (subconsciously) in your head. And daylight is also super important! Prof Erik Scherder shares all these facts in the Ommetjes app (you know, that professor who comes out of a mother's head like a devil out of a box when the father wants to give their daughter an alcoholic drink! Watch the commercial via this link.) Keep track of your walks in the app: Ommetje

Tip 3:

Do things differently than you would on autopilot. Change your pattern of getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc. Walk backwards to the kitchen. Take a different route to the supermarket. Break the routine. This too has a positive effect on your brain.

Tip 4:

Seek help! In any form. Choose a therapist, a (mindfulness) coach, dance therapy, visual/creative therapy, body-oriented therapy, etc. It can change so much if you don't have to do it alone. That there are tools that can be handed to you. That it's nice if you can talk to someone. Connecting with other people is very important.

Tip 5:

So join the depression association (Depressie Vereniging), fellow sufferers' contact is incredibly helpful. If there is anyone who understands you, it is the people who suffer from depression just like you.

Share, connect and take advantage of the support they offer. Go to Depressie for more info.

Tip 6:

Don't shut up or close yourself off. Stay among people, human contact is essential for everyone. Even if you don't feel like it, you don't see it, it costs you, stay in touch. Make sure you don't end up in social isolation. Engaging in (light) activities with others can provide relief and relaxation. The Depression Association offers groups for fellow sufferers . A website for young people and adults to meet others who have mental health problems is Je can look for friends here with whom to do something. You can also look for a date or a relationship.

Tip 6:

Healthy eating. Sounds like an open door and it is. Take good care of your body. Keep eating healthy. Scientific research shows that a healthy diet can prevent depressive symptoms from developing. Healthy diets contain plenty of vegetables, fruit and other plant products, vegetable oils and lots of (oily) fish. On the contrary, they contain little meat, saturated fats and sugars, as in pre-processed products such as snacks and fast food. The negative effects of alcohol are well known.

Tip 7:

Keep moving. For many people with depressive symptoms, physical exercise has a positive effect. Daily walking or running outdoors often has a beneficial effect. Strength training in a sports centre or doing relaxation exercises also often helps. There is a lot of experience with running therapy in treating mild depressive symptoms or to prevent relapse. This is a form of exercise in which you run regularly - for example, three to four times a week - under supervision. You can do it alone or in groups. It is a gentle endurance run, which at times also resembles walking.

A running therapy programme usually lasts nine to 12 weeks, with half-hour runs three times a week. A 'running therapist' provides this training.

Many people with depressive symptoms are positive about the training. They feel good about it. Sometimes it is for the first time that they walk this way. Only by doing it regularly can the effect be noticed. Read how radio presenter and artist Ruud de Wild got his life back on track, including through running and boxing.

Tip 8:

Day and night rhythm. Regularity and a fixed daily schedule are beneficial for recovery. Therefore, stick to a regular day and night rhythm. Get up at fixed times and go to bed at a fixed time. Plan your meals and your activities in between. It is important to stay busy as much as possible during the day. If you have a job or volunteer work, try to hold on to it or pick it up again (possibly part-time). The same goes for an education. People who have (gone through) depression say an active attitude has helped them. Social workers and other front-line social workers can provide guidance in this regard. They help you find a good balance between a meaningful daytime activity (the carrying capacity) and the symptoms (carrying burden).

Tip 9:

Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the opposite of living on autopilot. Mindfulness, or attention training, is originally based on Eastern meditation. You learn to relax the body and mind, worry less and break automatic, unhelpful, behavioural patterns. You start to experience more freedom of choice and less stress in daily functioning. Proper training has been proven effective as a treatment for depression. You can learn various mindfulness techniques with this online workshop and start immediately: Mediteren kun je leren

Tip 10:

Prevention. Scientific research shows that a healthy diet can prevent depressive symptoms from developing. Healthy diets contain plenty of vegetables, fruit and other plant products, vegetable oils and plenty of (oily) fish. On the contrary, they contain little meat, saturated fats and sugars, as in pre-processed products such as snacks and fast food. The negative effects of alcohol are well known. Examples of healthy diets include the Nutrition Centre's Disk of Five, and the Mediterranean diet as traditionally eaten in countries around the Mediterranean. A healthy diet kills two birds with one stone: it not only protects you from physical diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases), but also promotes your mental health. There is currently - in early 2021 - insufficient evidence that dietary supplements (e.g. vitamins, herbs, or omega-3 fatty acids) or superfoods can prevent depression.

Need help? Then get in touch with me!

If you want to take immediate action now, do the online course with 5 mindfulness techniques and a workbook with additional exercises! Go to Marga Hogenhuis Opleidingen and start feeling better today!

You can also book an online session with me:


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