- Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that
will help you to feel better. But while overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far
from impossible. You can’t just will yourself to “snap out of it,” but you do have more
control than you realize—even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. 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.
How do you deal with depression
- Dealing with depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed can be
hard. 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 action.
It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery: The things that help the most are the things that
are the most difficult to do. There is a big difference, however, between something that’s
difficult and something that’s impossible. You may not have much energy, but by drawing
on all your reserves, you should have enough to take a walk around the block or pick up
the phone to call a loved one.
Trusted guide to mental, emotional & social health
- 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 soon
lift the heavy fog of depression and find yourself feeling happier, healthier, and more
Coping with depression tip 1: 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.
You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting
certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking. Staying connected to other
people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and
outlook. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it won’t mean you’re a burden to
others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. And if you don’t feel that you
have anyone to turn to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
How to reach out for depression support
- 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.
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 (/articles/healthy-living/volunteering-and-its-surprisingbenefits.htm), 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 (/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm)
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.
A healthy lifestyle that involves moderate alcohol consumption, a healthy diet, regular physical activity, healthy sleep and frequent social connection, while avoiding smoking and too much sedentary behaviour, reduces the risk of depression, new research has found (Nature Mental Health). The researchers looked at a combination of factors including lifestyle factors, genetics, brain structure and our immune and metabolic systems to identify the underlying mechanisms that might explain this link.
To better understand the relationship between these factors and depression, the researchers turned to the U.K. Biobank. By examining data from almost 290,000 people — of whom 13,000 had depression — followed over a nine-year period, the team was able to identify seven healthy lifestyle factors linked with a lower risk of depression. Of all of these factors, having a good night’s sleep (seven to nine hours a night) made the biggest difference, reducing the risk of depression by 22%. Frequent social connection, which in general reduced the risk of depression by 18%, was the most protective against recurrent depressive disorder. Moderate alcohol consumption decreased the risk of depression by 11%, healthy diet by 6%, regular physical activity by 14%, never smoking by 20%, and low-to-moderate sedentary behaviour by 13%.