Depression can drain your energy, leaving you feeling empty and fatigued. This can make it difficult to muster the strength or desire to seek treatment. However, there are small steps you can take to help you feel more in control and improve your overall sense of well-being.
Exercise combats depression by increasing the body's production of endorphins. These are the brain's 'feel good' chemicals.
Doing moderate exercise about five times a week (30 minutes a pop) can dramatically help your mood. Moderate exercise is a level of activity where it is difficult to sing from your diaphragm while doing it. Also pay attention to how the type of food or drink you’re eating influences your mood. You don’t have to do fad diets, but anyone will be depressed if they frequently binge on carbs, junk food, and energy drinks. Remember the virtue of moderation.
2. Social support:
Multiple studies have shown that social relationships improve mental and physical health. Your support network can include family, peers, guidance counselors, and mentors. A mental health professional can also provide support.
3. Eating a balanced diet:
An increasing number of scientific studies show that there is a direct link between diet and mental health. Moreover, this is particularly true for children and teens, whose brains and bodies are still developing. Hence, nutrition is critical at this stage of life.
4. Sound Sleep:
Researchers have found that people feel more depressed and anxious when they don't get enough rest and have consistent and regular sleep schedule. Keep a balance with not too little and not too much sleep. Staying up late one night and then sleeping in excessively the next day is a sure-fire way to feed depression.
5. Spend time in nature:
Being outside in nature is proven to reduce stress by lowering the stress-associated chemical called cortisol.
6. Meditation and yoga:
Research showed that meditation was just as effective as antidepressants in treating symptoms of anxiety and depression.
7. Pleasant Events:
Schedule pleasant activities or events. Don’t wait for you to be 'in the mood'. For example, give yourself permission for a 30-minute 'vacation' or schedule a healthy hobby every day. Just remember to do these activities with the right attitude (see Engagement). Also, practice gratitude; take time to notice what went well today, not just what went wrong. Consider keeping a gratitude journal. Know that being grateful for your blessings doesn’t mean you have to discount your problems.
Stay in the present. This practice is sometimes called mindfulness. As best you can, during activities try not to be in your head with self-judgment. You may not be able to turn off the self-judgment, but you can notice it and bring yourself gently back to the present. Research shows that people with higher self-compassion also have higher self-worth or self-confidence.
Focus on people who lift you up. Interact frequently with people that bring you up, not people that bring you down. While it’s OK to have some alone time, find a balance and don’t isolate yourself or the depression will linger.
10. Identify troubles, but don't dwell on them:
Try to identify any situations that have contributed to your depression. When you know what's got you feeling blue and why, talk about it with a caring friend. Talking is a way to release the feelings and to receive some understanding.
Once you air out these thoughts and feelings, turn your attention to something positive. Take action to solve problems. Ask for help if you need it. Feeling connected to friends and family can help relieve depression. It may also help them feel there's something they can do instead of just watching you get hurt.
11. Express yourself:
With depression, a person's creativity and sense of fun may seem blocked. Exercise your imagination (such as through painting, drawing, doodling, sewing, writing, dancing, composing music, etc.) and you not only get those creative juices flowing, you also loosen up some positive emotions. Take time to play with a friend or a pet, or do something fun for yourself. Find something to laugh about — a funny movie, perhaps. Laughter helps lighten your mood.
12. Try to notice good things:
Depression affects a person's thoughts, making everything seem dismal, negative, and hopeless. If depression has you noticing only the negative, make an effort to notice the good things in life. Try to notice one thing, then try to think of one more. Consider your strengths, gifts, or blessings. Most of all, don't forget to be patient with yourself. Depression takes time to heal.
13. Find small ways to be of service to others:
Find personal meaning by serving something larger than yourself. Remember service doesn’t have to be big to count. Consider this:
“Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensure as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.”
14. Your goals:
Find workable goals that give you a sense of accomplishment. Most people feel guilty when talking about goals because they set unreasonable or unworkable goals. A goal is workable if it’s: