While there are many possible causes, one thing many people with social anxiety have in common is that they also suffer from depression. It’s a double edged sword because the isolation from other people and lack of activity caused by social anxiety can make you feel depressed while feeling depressed can make you want to avoid contact with other people.
For this reason medication is commonly administered for both social anxiety and depression, but it’s not exactly cheap. More than 46 million people in the U.S. do not have insurance to cover their medications and the average monthly cost of antidepressants, which can range from $ 120 – $ 400 per month, depending on the dosage and the brand.
While you should always seek professional help if you suffer from depression or severe social anxiety, there are a number of ways you can reduce depression without spending a single dime.
1. Stop blaming yourself
This is perhaps the most basic and the most important thing in fighting depression. You should come to terms with yourself and accept the reality that depression can be a physical illness just like cancer, leukemia or diabetes. Stop blaming yourself and your inadequacy to control your situation, you can’t recover from depression if you continue the same mindset all throughout your therapy.
2. Talk About It
Don’t let yourself become isolated from your family, friends and love ones. Open up to someone you can trust who can provide you with emotional support and help you seek out treatment options. They may not relate to what you are experiencing right now but it would be a great opportunity for you to express how you are feeling.
3. Exercise Regularly
I know it’s hard even to lift a single finger when you feel depressed. But doing 30 minutes or more of intensive exercises has shown to improve the symptoms of social anxiety and depression. By doing a regular exercise everyday can make a difference to your energy levels and a good stimulation of endorphins, a kind of hormones that help you feel better about yourself.
4. Postpone major Decisions
Do not make life changing decisions when you are depressed. A lot of people have made this mistake and have put their jobs, relationships and life at risk. Negative thoughts rules all over your head when you are depressed and this often alters your judgment on almost everything, so it is better to delay any important decisions you want to take and wait until you are in the right state of mind.
5. Get back into nature
Research have shown that when you focus your attention outward rather on inward it helps ward off your negative thoughts and feelings and it can make you appreciate more on what’s around you. Having contact with pets, plants, parks and beautiful sceneries reduces stress and can boost your mood.
6. Keep a balanced diet
Aside from regular exercise, a balance and healthy diet is essential to a happy mood. A Mediterranean-style diet, rich in veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and fish, is a good way to lower the risk of developing depression, according to a 2009 study in the Archives of General Psychology.
7. Avoid alcohol and drugs
Alcohol tends to be the easiest way to forget momentarily about problems, which is why many people undergoing depression or social anxiety turn to alcohol and drugs to relieve the symptoms. But you may have to steer away from alcohol and especially illegal drugs which can interfere with depression medications and alter your mood in a bad way.
8. Keep a healthy sleeping habit
Depression and insomnia are interrelated to one another. Depression is common among insomniacs and patients who are depressed often find it hard to sleep at night. Keep track of your bed time and maintain a regular sleeping habit.
There’s no quick fix to depression or social anxiety, unfortunately. Full recovery and gaining a happier, objective and healthier state of mind only comes from changing your thought processes and lifestyle in the long run. There’s no better time to start then the present, so consider following some of these tips to reduce your depression and social anxiety in the process.