Taking care of yourself is a good place to start when dealing with depression.
Self-care techniques actually help alleviate the symptoms of depression – just keep in mind these may need to be used in conjunction with professional help such as medication and counselling:
- Talk to someone you trust – Talking to someone may help you to feel supported and help you figure out what next steps might be best for your particular situation.
- Explore the link between depression and drug and alcohol use to find out if this applies to your situation. Drug and alcohol use have been shown to actually increase depressive feelings, rather than help the user cope with them.
- Increase your knowledge and use of healthy living, such as eating a healthy diet, improving your sleep habits and trying to get some exercise into your day. The symptoms of depression tend to crowd out activities that are healthy and even fun – see if you can either start some healthy habits or get back to a healthier lifestyle.
- Ask a friend to participate in activities with you. Friends often want to find ways to help each other, but often don’t know how. If you ask, chances are a friend will be happy to go with you when needed.
- Try to take part in some healthy activities.
- Make a list of things you can do by yourself that are positive and easy, like taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, writing your feelings down in a journal or as a poem or story, arts and crafts or watching an uplifting or funny movie. When you find yourself with nothing to do, try something from your list.
- Remember you are not alone. There are stories of others recovering from depression online – check out some of the site recommendations in Links and Resources for good ones. You might find some inspiration and tips from those who’ve been there.
- Get organized, clean out your closet, organize your space and keep it tidy. This has positive effects on mood and the ability to set goals and focus.
- Keep your appointments. Another side effect of depression can be a tendency to quit going when you need to keep at it.
- If you aren’t connecting with the helping professional you have been seeing, try to find another. This can be as simple as trying another agency or resource in your community.
More help online
Credible self-care websites can help you learn about ways to help yourself or connect with others who may be experiencing similar feelings. Self-care has been shown to work for many people, it might work for your situation too. Check out the “Links and Resources” section for more information.