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Many women are getting into the New Year’s resolution mode, but mental health is generally not on the top of the list. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and for women with depression, every day can be a struggle.
Here are five goals to work on for the new year if you are a woman with depression. Remember, this is a gradual process. Pick one goal at a time, or it could be overwhelming and stressful, which is the last thing you need when you're depressed.
1) Monitor your weight and work toward a healthy weight for you – consult a doctor and use a BMI scale for a rough estimate. Remember, skinny is not always healthy. A recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed a link between depression and abdominal obesity. A researcher stated in a press release that “those who started out reporting high levels of depression gained weight at a faster rate than others in the study.” This might be caused by higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Treating depression can also help some people lose weight, according to another study.
2) Work on your negative body image. Even women without depression can have this problem. This is related to the above goal of maintaining a healthy weight, but it can extend to more than your weight. For example, if you think you’re ugly and try to cover yourself with makeup every day, that is something to work on. Admitting that these insecurities are dragging you down is a first step, then talk to yourself about why you’re actually feeling this way and do something about it – this might take the help of a psychologist. A study found that negative body image can be related to depression, so this goal is important in feeling better.
3) Work on social skills and building relationships with others. This can be difficult, especially when having a depressive episode or just increased depression, but when you’re at least in a more functional state, this is necessary to work on for improved mental health. A strong social support system can do wonders for women with depression. A study found that social skills deficits can lead to depression.