There’s no beating about the bush – life can be tough. For those without the right support, dealing
with the everyday challenges of life can easily lead to depression. Unfortunately, our society does
not pay as much attention to depression as it should. We expect people to just “get over it!” But if
there’s anything that over several years of working with people has thought us here at HomeCare
Australia, it is that people don’t just get over depression. They need the right care, support and a
confluence of other factors to come together to help them get past the dark times and enjoy life
again. We have put together a brief guide to help you understand and better deal with depression,
either in yourself or a loved one.
First of all, if you think you might be suffering from depression, go for a thorough medical checkup
to pin point or rule out the existence of physical conditions that may cause depression. People with
cancer, arthritis, diabetes and heart problems have a high likelihood of developing anxiety and
depression. Women may also suffer from depression after pregnancy. This is referred to as post-
partum depression. In the absence of any physical ailment, you should also consider stress. Stress
can cause and/or exacerbate depression, therefore it is important to tame it. Ways to manage stress
Learning to understand and identify the source of stress
Knowing your limits to ensure the responsibilities you take do not overstretch you
Opening up and confiding your worries in a trusted friend, counsellor or minister. A
problem shared is half solved.
Whether or not stress is the cause of depression, bear the following in mind and try as much as
possible to incorporate them into your life:
1. Interacting with others brings fulfillment and improves mental health. Avoid living a life of
solitude. Yes, people can be a pain, but as humans, we are created and wired to be social
beings. Human company enriches us. So get involved in charitable, religious and social
activities where you can interact with other people.
2. Find one or more hobbies and derive maximum pleasure from them. Set aside time each
week for activities that give you pleasure. This could be painting, gardening, attending a
concert, sports, etc. Having a hobby eases stress, makes you feel better and distracts your
mind from problems. Laughter works like medicine too, and if there is a reason to laugh do
so without any inhibition.
3. Exercise. Physical activity plays a big role in alleviating symptoms of depression and
anxiety. It triggers the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural
antidepressants and pain relievers. The kind of exercise you engage in must be brisk enough
to get the heart pumping. This enhances blood circulation. Exercise may be jogging, a long
walk of 20 to 30 minutes, swimming or any other sports you enjoy.
4. Get sufficient sleep. An adult body needs 7 to 8 hours of good sleep each night for it to
recuperate and for the mind to rest. Sleep enables the brain to process issues and come up
with solutions. To get maximum rest from sleep, establish a routine and go to bed at the
same time every night. Avoid heavy meals before bed. Eating late suppers forces digestion
to continue during sleep when your body should be resting.
5. Eating a balanced diet ensures the body is well nourished and enables the mind to be at
peak condition. Reduce sugar intake and avoid caffeine if possible. Cutting out alcohol,
nicotine and drugs also helps greatly.
6. Get sunlight. Sunlight enables the body to produce vitamin D, which nourishes and
energizes the body and enables it to keep depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and
many other physical ailments at bay. An exposure to sunlight of 1 to 2 hours daily is
At HomeCare Australia, we are committed to the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of our
clients. If you or a loved one are suffering from depression, please talk to your caregiver. We will do
our utmost to help, and working together, sunny days will soon be here again.