For the majority of us, our 20s are spent discovering who we are and who we want to be as a fully-fledged adult. We develop a sense of independence, make a start on our careers and have fun on the dating scene. With all this going on, it is easy to see how this time period has the potential to go downhill. Your 20s may in fact be characterised by financial struggle, loneliness, career confusion and a sense of uncertainty.
On top of this there are biological factors at play; scientists have recently noted that the frontal lobe (part of the brain responsible for planning and reasoning) doesn’t fully develop until your mid-20s. This means that those in their early 20s are often facing huge decisions when they aren’t at full cognitive capacity, causing feelings of angst and anxiety.
With this in mind, it is unsurprising that depression in people aged between 18 and 29 is on the rise. For many people these symptoms pass in time, but depression remains a serious issue that often requires treatment.
Addressing the problem as early as possible is key when suffering from depression, making it easier to overcome and avoid in later life. The following strategies can help people facing depression whatever their age.
- Reach out to a friend or family member – in our 20s it is easy to feel like we have all the answers and that we need to deal with our issues ourselves, but in reality speaking to a trusted friend or family member can provide support and reassurance.
- Move more – there has been so much evidence recently regarding exercise and depression, so take note and get moving more. Just 20 minutes of cardio in the morning could help give you a boost for the rest of the day.
- Regulate your sleeping – having a bedtime routine ensures you get enough sleep and helps you avoid a disrupted body clock, something that has been linked to increased anxiety and depression.
- Try relaxation techniques – whether that’s mindfulness meditation, yoga or even Tai Chi, try something that helps you relax and focus on the now.
- Eat well – keeping your immunity up and eating foods linked to increased serotonin (such as complex carbohydrates) can help you feel better both in your body and mind.
- Talk it out – speaking to a trained professional like a counsellor or psychotherapist is often a key treatment for those suffering from depression. Take a look at our depression fact-sheet to find out more about talking therapies.
If you have a family history of depression or have other symptoms, you may require medication. We always advise you to see your GP if you are suffering from symptoms of depression for advice and to rule out any physical causes.