Facebook Pixel

5 Goals For Women with Depression This New Year

By HERWriter
Rate This
Depression related image Photo: Getty Images

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. One researcher stated that “depressed people often get into situations that are difficult because their depressive behaviors are really off-putting to other people.” By realizing why people might be unwilling to be your friend, you will have the power of knowledge and an idea of what problematic behaviors to work on - in some cases, you might just need to find better friends.

4) Eat healthier. Again, satisfactory physical health can go hand-in-hand with mental health, including depression. Of course, depression isn’t always caused by physical issues, but improving the physical aspect can sometimes have a positive mental health outcome. One study found that eating processed and high-fat foods could lead to depression, but eating a healthy diet of vegetables, fruit and fish could prevent middle-age depression. There are multiple studies proving the link between diet and depression, so it can’t hurt physically or mentally to incorporate healthy food into your diet and start cutting out the junk food.

5) If you’re stressed about something and are obsessing over it, make a point of alleviating that extra stress by eliminating the stressor. For example, maybe you’re worried about your sexual health and it might be time to get comprehensive STD testing to set yourself at ease (this is a good idea anyway if you’ve had multiple partners or symptoms. Be prepared if you do have an STD – counseling might be useful because for some people this could be devastating). Or you could be overthinking the importance of having a significant other – replace that obsession with something healthy. Without a significant other, you have way more time to hang out with friends, so start planning some outings. You might even meet a future significant other that way, instead of staying at home and wondering why you can’t meet anyone.

There are many more possible goals for women who want to alleviate some depression, but the five goals above are at least a start. Another obvious one is to make time to see a psychologist and possibly a psychiatrist. For someone with depression this is almost a given – a psychologist can help you see yourself in a new way and help you work on some of the above goals. Also, if you haven’t had a health exam to rule out any physical complications that could be causing your depression (like thyroid conditions), then that should be one of the first things you do in the new year (or earlier if you can).

Do you have any ideas? What do you plan on doing to improve your life with depression this year?


http://main.uab.edu/Sites/MediaRelations/articles/77873/ (depression and obesity)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060606224541.htm (negative body image)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602152913.htm (obesity and depression)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101210095348.htm (weight and depression)
http://www.physorg.com/news197823028.html (social skills and depression)
http://www.physorg.com/news176369681.html (diet and depression)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005181623.htm (diet and depression)

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

This is sexist and not remotely empowering. Why the heavy emphasis on our bodies and what we eat? Sure, eating healthily and maintaining a healthy weight are good for physical and mental health, but you have to remember that depressed people are very fragile, and losing weight can be very difficult for some people. Some overweight, depressed women will read this article and think "it's all my fault because I'm fat!"

Restricting calories as much as most dieters do can have a severe effect on the mood, even in healthy people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Starvation_Experiment

By contrast, exercise has a beneficial effect on mood, and has been shown to make a difference to mild to moderate depression: http://www.depression-guide.com/depression-and-exercise.htm

Taking action to remove stressors is sometimes appropriate, but not always. Very often, stressors simply can't be avoided, but changing one's attitude to them, while not easy to do, can be very effective in improving mood.

"Improve social skills and build and maintain relationships" is good advice, as is "see a professional, and rule out physical causes."

Crystal, depression survivor

January 3, 2011 - 12:40pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Depression Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!