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May 25, 2021

Everyone feels sad or stressed sometimes.  Having these feelings is a part of life and doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a problem.  How do we know when things are getting more serious and may need a therapeutic intervention?

Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that will help you to feel better. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like exercising or spending time with friends, can seem exhausting or impossible to put into actio.

Taking the first step is always the hardest. But going for a walk or getting up and dancing to your favorite music, for example, is something you can do right now. And it can substantially boost your mood and energy for several hours-long enough to put a second recovery step into action, such as preparing a mood-boosting meal or arranging to meet an old friend. By taking the following small but positive steps day by day, you’ll soon lift the heavy fog of depression and find yourself feeling happier, healthier, and more hopeful again.

 

Reach out and stay connected

Getting support plays an essential role in overcoming depression. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. At the same time, the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. When you’re depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate so that connecting to even close family members and friends can be tough.

Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to fix you; they just need to be a good listener—someone who’ll listen attentively and compassionately without being distracted or judging you.

 

 

Make face-time a priority.

Phone calls, social media, and texting are great ways to stay in touch, but they don’t replace good old-fashioned in-person quality time. The simple act of talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression and keeping it away. Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. Often when you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will make you feel less depressed. It also gives you opportunity to

 

 

Find ways to support others

It’s nice to receive support, but research shows you get an even bigger mood boost from providing support yourself. So find ways—both big and small—to help others: volunteer, be a listening ear for a friend, do something nice for somebody.

 

 

Care for a pet

While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed—both powerful antidotes to depression.

 

 

Join a support group for depression

Being with others dealing with depression can go a long way in reducing your sense of isolation. You can also encourage each other, give and receive advice on how to cope, and share your experiences.

 

 

Do things that give you joy

In order to overcome depression, you have to do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

While you can’t force yourself to have fun or experience pleasure, you can push yourself to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. You might be surprised at how much better you feel once you’re out in the world. Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.

Pick up a former hobby or a sport you used to like. Express yourself creatively through music, art, or writing. Go out with friends. Take a day trip to a museum, the mountains, or the ballpark.

 

 

Hit the Gym

When you’re depressed, just getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task, let alone working out! But exercise is a powerful depression fighter—and one of the most important tools in your recovery arsenal. Research shows that regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms. It also helps prevent relapse once you’re well.

To get the most benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This doesn’t have to be all at once—and it’s okay to start small. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours.

 

 

Give the boot to negative thinking

Do you feel like you’re powerless or weak? That bad things happen and there’s not much you can do about it? That your situation is hopeless? Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself and your expectations for the future.

Do you feel like you’re powerless or weak? That bad things happen and there’s not much you can do about it? That your situation is hopeless? Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself and your expectations for the future.

 

 

When to get professional help for depression

If you’ve taken self-help steps and made positive lifestyle changes and still find your depression getting worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better!


Depression does not need to be a death sentence. You can start with just one or two of your favourite tips, ensuring you stick to them diligently and subsequently including more of them as you get more comfortable. Even if you’re receiving professional help, these tips can be part of your treatment plan, speeding your recovery and preventing depression from returning.