Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take steps that will help you feel better. It's a catch 22 - the things that will help the most are the things that are most difficult to do. But while overcoming depression isn't quick or easy - it's far from impossible and you can really help yourself.
The key is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there by making positive choices for yourself each day. Putting one positive step into action can substantially boost your mood and energy for several hours - which could be long enough to put a second positive step into action. By taking these small steps, you will soon lift the heavy fog of depression and find you are feeling happier, healthier and more hopeful again.
Below are some positive steps to consider:
Reach out and get support. This is essential in overcoming depression as the tendency is often to withdraw and isolate. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it won't mean your a burden to others. Try and utilise the support of those around you or consider joining a support group for depression if you may find this easier. You don't have to face this alone.
Do things that make you feel good. Explore your stress levels and find ways to relieve the pressure. Possibly by picking up a former hobby you used to like or undertaking activities that lift your mood. Relaxation techniques can also help to reduce stress and boost feelings of joy and well-being. It is also vital that you get into a good sleep schedule as tiredness plays a huge part on our mood and how we tackle stress.
Get moving. Getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task when you are depressed but exercise is a powerful depression fighter. Research shows regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms. However start small!
Eat a healthy, depression-fighting diet. What we eat has a direct impact on how we feel. Reduce intake of caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and food with high levels of chemical preservatives. Boost your mood with Vitamin B and foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Get a daily dose of sunlight. This will help boost your serotonin levels and improve your mood. Try and go outside during daylight hours as well as increasing the amount of natural light in your home. You could try a light therapy box.
Challenge negative thinking. Identify the type of negative thoughts that are fuelling your depression, start to challenge them through cross-examining your thoughts. The aim is to develop a more balanced perspective.
These self-help tips should be part of your treatment plan - irrespective of whether you are also accessing talking therapies or have been prescribed medication. They can help speed your recovery and can also help depression from returning in the future.