Look after your health

Physical and mental health are very closely linked: it is very hard to conceive of having one without the other.  Indeed, it is often the physical symptoms of depression (such as disrupted sleep and fatigue) that people find the most troubling.

Depression can impact on physical health in four ways:

  • Depression can be a direct cause of physical health problems, from the indigestion that accompanies mild depression to the increased risk of heart disease that can result from severe and enduring depression
  • Common changes in behaviour following the onset of depression (such as not eating enough, becoming less active, and not getting enough daylight and fresh air) can lead to worsening health
  • Increased use of stress-release substances such alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and sugar cause health problems
  • Medication can cause side effects such as nausea and headaches

Taking steps to improve your physical health will help to improve your mood, boost your self-confidence and help you feel better able to fight your depression.  Try to pay attention to the following:

  • Being physically active
  • Eating sensibly
  • Taking time out to relax (and learning relaxation techniques)
  • Getting out of the house, and getting as much sunlight and fresh air as possible

Help is available to quit smoking, and your doctor will be able to refer you on to help you develop a personal exercise programme, and for help with die