Dealing with depression as a young adult is challenging. You’re not alone.

What is depression?

A major depressive episode is defined as a sustained period of time, two weeks or more, with loss of interest or lack of pleasure in life that affects regular routine or day-to-day functioning. 

Typical symptoms of young adult depression can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inadequate amounts of sleep
  • Losing interest in life
  • Lacking excitement to learn new things
  • Finding that activities they previously enjoyed now feel meaningless.

Combat depression with these three strategies:

Strategy 1: Get moving to boost your mood

Starting to exercise can be difficult when depression makes you exhausted, but regular exercise is a powerful depression fighter. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day. It doesn’t have to be all at one time and you can start small with a 10-minute walk.

Regular exercise will increase your energy and decrease fatigue. If depression makes you sedentary, start off slowly and gradually increase your time and distance.

An efficient fitness routine with good form will enhance your quality of life. Participating in sustained physical activity results in the production of endorphins which diminish pain and release positive feelings.

Regular exercise relieves stress, helps you sleep better, and feel more relaxed and positive about your life. Once you begin feeling relief from depression, maintaining an exercise schedule can help prevent relapse.

Strategy 2: Reduce screen time and increase real-world relationships

Turn off the screens and spend time with friends and family. As young adults spend more time alone on their phones, they are getting lonelier and feeling more left out. The simple act of talking in-person to someone about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression and keeping it away.

By decreasing time spent on phones, young adults can develop emotional understanding and empathy. Eliminating phone use before bed and during the night helps encourage adequate amounts of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems, whether too little or too much sleep, your mood suffers. Aim for eight hours of sleep, on a regular schedule.

Face-to-face social interaction tends to protect against depression in a way that digital interaction does not. Having high-quality, positive social interactions with family and friends regularly can lower risk of depression. People who make you feel safe and cared for often provide the best support. They need to be a good listener who is attentive and compassionate without being distracted or judging you.

Strategy 3: A stay at Skyterra Embrace will help fight depression

During a stay at Embrace, women ages 18 to 29 learn tools and strategies to combat depression that they can immediately apply to daily practice. The structured schedule at Embrace encourages adaptive coping behaviors, decreasing isolation for protection from suicidal behaviors, and increasing belongingness and self-worth. Embrace students explore nutrition, fitness, life skills, and mental health while challenging the ways in which depression has held them back from opportunity and achievement.

Our program includes opportunities to establish intention and purpose in independence through private therapy and coaching, structured classes, and hands-on integration of healthy life skills. Embrace students increase their confidence in and understanding of all areas of wellness and leave with a commitment to themselves and their success, having made a forever change to their lives.

Embrace is a safe, secure, and welcome environment where expert staff members provide personalized attention and guidance for the areas where students need help. The following Embrace Pillars help combat depression in many ways:

  • Self Care and Stress Management — students increase self-awareness, develop new coping skills, and gain a clear understanding of mindfulness. Students develop a personalized self-care plan based on their needs and desires and apply relaxation techniques to help them cope with stress and improve overall mental health.
  • Fitness and Mobility — students incorporate daily physical activity to positively impact mood. Exercise is a powerful depression fighter, improving energy levels and decreasing fatigue. 
  • Culinary Education — balanced nutrition provides energy for movement and increases overall well-being, making the body feel good. Students learn to eat a healthy, depression-fighting diet, increasing B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, and decreasing sugar and refined carbs.
  • Recreation and Adventure — nature provides an experience of mindfulness and reflection with therapeutic benefits. Sunlight boosts serotonin levels and improves mood.
  • Mindfulness and Yoga — relaxation practices help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Breathing exercises improve blood flow, increase energy, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, and relax the body and mind.

The professionals at Skyterra Embrace have more than 30 years of therapeutic program experience, specializing in the transition to adulthood. Before a student attends Embrace, our experts meet with students to determine their personal goals and needs, then create a personalized schedule just for them. No matter where students are on their journey, they are well supported and never judged.

Through therapy sessions at Embrace, students are able to identify situations that contribute to depression. Talking through the situations allows students to release negative feelings and receive understanding. Therapists help students take action to solve problems and encourage students to notice the good things in life.

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Greg (MSW, LCSW, LCAS) is the Executive Director of Skyterra Embrace. Through his work with people living with trauma, attachment, substance abuse and addiction, and other mental health difficulties, Greg enjoys creating opportunities to encourage growth and development. For more information on Embrace, click here.