Depression after stroke is something that one third of all stroke survivors will face at some point during their recovery. While this statistic is heartbreaking, were here to provide you with 5 steps that you can take to help reduce depression after stroke through certain lifestyle changes. If they help – we’ll be thrilled! If they’re unsuccessful, it could be a sign that your depression stems from a chemical imbalance in your brain; and if that’s the case, talk with your doctor to see what your options are. Alright, let’s get started.
1. Involve Friends and Family
While everyone needs some alone time, try not to get too much. Instead, make a point of staying social by spending time with family and friends. Socially connected people are the most resilient, and building your resilience can help reduce depression after stroke.
2. Find a Support Group
While friends and family are good company, sometimes there’s a disconnection when they don’t quite understand what you’re going through. If that’s the case, finding a support group will help connect you with fellow stroke survivors who understand you best. The National Stroke Association has an excellent resource to help you find a support group in your area.
3. Dig into a Hobby
Hobbies are great ways to explore your interests and find something you’re passionate about – which can help alleviate depression after stroke. If you can’t participate in your old hobbies, find a new one! Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a painter or a swimmer or a really good chess player! Now is the perfect time to explore new options. For stroke survivors with full or partial paresis, a great option to try is meditation as it’s scientifically proven to help reduce anxiety and therefore helps reduce depression after stroke.
4. Build Your Self-Esteem
Sometimes depression stems from a feeling of unworthiness or shame. While we want to assure you that there is absolutely nothing to feel shameful about, sometimes it’s hard to shake the feeling when you’re experiencing so many losses, like loss of movement, loss of speech, etc. To cope with this, try rebuilding your self-esteem by reading self-help books or watching educational or inspirational videos. One of the most helpful videos we’ve found is The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem.
5. Identify Your Locus of Control
Everyone has factors in their life that they can and can’t control. If your stroke has caused you to lose control of certain abilities, don’t let the frustration get to you. Instead of focusing on what you can’t control, shift your focus to the things you can control. Then, take active steps towards improving those things to increase your sense of personal power. Shifting your focus like this can help reduce depression after stroke by allowing you to feel more in control of your life.
Do you know someone who suffers from depression after stroke? Share this article with them and be their source of support.