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11 mood-boosting tips: Taking action against mental health in the LGBTQ+ community

Depression is a very common psychological condition which is quite different from feeling sad or unhappy. Unhappiness, especially when caused by a particular event in life, will pass in due course.

In depression, feelings of sadness last much longer and can be so severe that they may significantly interfere with normal everyday life, and have an impact on you and your business.

Stonewall recently published a report highlighting how 52% of LGBTQ+ people will experience depression each year. Not only that, but three in five of us will have anxiety. Speaking of the report, Stonewall’s Ruth Hunt said she hoped the statistics would help to “bring forward the day when every LGBT person gets the healthcare support they need to lead a happy, healthy life.”

Depression can often be difficult to self-diagnose, although it is possible to do so by analysing any recent changes in the way you think, feel or behave. Those close to you, in moderate to severe cases, are also more likely to recognise symptoms and are often able to see through the ‘mask’ some of those living with depression wear to cover their true feelings.

AXA PPP healthcare has shared some tips with us that may help you to manage your mood:

  1. Break down tasks. Completing achievable goals will give you a sense of satisfaction.
  2. Identify your mood patterns. Try to plan your day according to your mood patterns, so that the most difficult part of your day is the least demanding.
  3. Keep active. Try going to the cinema, learning a new skill or join a social circle such as a book club. Being fully occupied has a positive effect on self-esteem.
  4. Eat a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and try to include oily fish as this has been proven to help combat depressive symptoms.
  5. Exercise. Just 30 minutes 3 times a week has been proven to lift the mood.
  6. Any form of healthy relaxation can clear and calm the mind. Consider trying Yoga or Tai Chi.
  7. Try to avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Alcohol, in particular, should be used with caution – it is a depressant which can worsen symptoms.
  8. Be willing to change. Sometimes the way we think and live our lives is not always helpful or healthy. Think about what you could change to feel better about yourself.
  9. Tackle your fears and anxieties one at a time. As you take charge you will feel more able to cope.
  10. Feeling better takes time. At times, the road to recovery can feel like a roller coaster ride – two steps forward and two steps back. Being tough on yourself at this time can work against you.
  11. Be responsible for yourself and put your problems into perspective. If possible help someone else. This alone can boost your feel-good factor.

Is anxiety different from depression?

“Anxiety has quite different symptoms from depression; if you’re depressed you’ll suffer from low mood, reduced energy and lose interest in things, but if you’re anxious you’re agitated, have increased energy and can maintain your interests,” explains Professor of Psychiatry at Southampton University, David Baldwin.

“People with depression are self-critical and regret past behaviour, but anxious people worry about the future.”

“However, if you’re anxious you may stop doing things and become isolated and depressed as a result.”

“Anxiety only becomes a problem if it’s interfering with your daily life.”

Self-help

  • Talk your fears through: Tell someone you trust who has had the same problem or knows someone who has.
  • Join a support group: The charity Anxiety UK runs a helpline (03444 775 774) and online support.

For more information on mental health, please visit AXA PPP healthcare’s health and well-being centre.

Written by QWEERIST editor

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