It’s always been difficult to be a teenager, but it has never been more complicated. With the internet, social media, and the changing volatility of the world around us, life as a teenager is harder than ever. While depression is not sadness or sorrow about an event, it is easy for teenagers these days to slip into it. Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions for teenagers to have. When your teen child is depressed, it’s hard to know what to do. When it comes to depression in teens, below are some tips for tackling this condition and helping them with proper methods.
Make Sure They Sleep, But Not Too Much
Sleep is a tough balance when someone is depressed. Most depressed people want to sleep all day. It’s easier than being awake. They aren’t motivated to get out of bed. We’ve all been there, but when a teenager is depressed for an extended period, they can sleep like they’re in hibernation. If you want to help your depressed child, see to it that they get enough sleep but not too much. Have them wake up early for a hike or an activity. They will be tired enough to go to bed early. Encourage them to drink less caffeine. Getting enough sleep combats depression, but too many leans into it.
Motivate Them to Exercise
At this point it’s a cliché, but a true one. Exercise is probably the most crucial activity for someone to do when they’re depressed. Not only will it get endorphins pumping, but it will also clear the mind and bring levity to the person. We are biologically designed to do a lot more than we are doing. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you aren’t exercising. One of the best things you can do for your depressed teen is motivate them to work out. Do it with them. Plan for it in the mornings. Go to the gym together or ride bikes. Whatever you choose to do, making the effort to get up early and exercise will be good for you both individually while strengthening your bond.
Caution Against Alcohol
Some teenagers just don’t know the facts of how all this stuff works. They may have found that drinking alcohol eases their depression, but that’s just for the moment. Drinking worsens depression over time. After all, it’s a depressant. Explain to them that if they aren’t feeling well, alcohol is going to make it worse. When someone is feeling poorly enough, they will do anything in their power to avoid that feeling. If you caution them against alcohol and show them why, it will help avoid self-medication.
Encourage Them to Do What They Love
When it comes to depression, there is no motivation to do what the person loves. To help your depressed teen, you should encourage them to do it. You should make sure they are doing everything in their power to overcome this depression. One great antidote is music. It’s been proven to ease depression. If your depressed teen loves music—they probably do—you should make it possible for them to engage with it more. As a spectator or by participating in the activity, depression can be mitigated by doing what they love.
Ask Questions & Listen
It may sound simple, but one of the best things you can do for a depressed teen is to ask them questions and really listen closely to them. Don’t just ask a question and fail to pay attention. Look them in the eyes, nod, and give them encouraging words as they tell you what’s going on. If you aren’t good at it or your listening isn’t working, you can take them to a talk therapy counselor.
There are plenty of ways to mitigate depression, but for some cases it is simply chemical. You can try therapy to help them talk it out, but if that doesn’t work you might want to ask them to consider medication. While these medications should be used sparingly and carefully, they can help make a person content enough to be productive. It’s important not to start medication unless it’s needed, but when it’s needed you will know it because you have exhausted all your other options. It isn’t easy being a teenager or caring for one, but depression is something you can help them work on.