How to fight depression: 8 things to try

A woman fighting depression
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Depression reduces your energy, hope, and drive, making it hard to take the steps that will enable you to feel a little better. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you must do to feel better, like going to the gym or spending quality time with friends, can seem exhausting or difficult to put into action.

It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery: The stuff that helps the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. However, there is a big difference between the stuff that’s difficult and impossible. Even though recovering from depression isn’t quick or easy, but you have more control than you think—even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. You may not have energy, but by drawing on all your reserves, you should have enough energy to pick up your mobile to call a loved one, for example.

Taking the first step is always the most difficult. But going for a walk or standing up and dancing to your favorite song, for example, is something you can do. And it can substantially improve your mood and energy for hours-long enough to put a second recovery step into action, such as making a mood-boosting dinner or arranging to meet your best friend. By taking the following small but positive steps, you’ll soon lift the heavy fog of depression and find yourself feeling happier, healthier, and more hopeful again day by day.

1: Try to understand that today isn’t indicative of tomorrow

Today’s mood, emotions, or thoughts don’t belong to tomorrow.

If you were not able to get out of bed or achieving your goals today, remember that you have  tomorrow’s opportunity to try again.

Give yourself a chance to accept that while some days may be difficult, some other days will also be unimaginably great. Try to look forward to tomorrow’s fresh start.

2: Do  the things that can make you feel good

To survive depression, you have to do things that soothe and energize you. This includes pursuing a healthy lifestyle, learning how to manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

photography of woman listening to music
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Do things you enjoy (or used to)

Even though you can’t force yourself to have fun, but you can push yourself to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. You might be amazed at how much better you feel once you’re out in the world. Even if your depression doesn’t go away immediately, you’ll gradually feel more active and energetic as you make time for activities.

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

3: Set achievable goals

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A long to-do list may be so bulky that you’d rather do nothing. Instead of assembling a long and boring list of tasks, consider setting one or two smaller goals.

For example:

•Don’t clean the house; take the trash out.
• Don’t do all the laundry that’s loaded up; just sort the piles by color.
• Don’t clear out your entire email inbox; just address any time-sensitive messages.

When you’ve accomplished a small thing, set your eyes on another small thing, and then another. This way, you have a list of tangible successes and not an untouched to-do list.

4: Improve your sleep quality

Sleep and mood are discreetly related. A 2014 study found that 80% of people with major depressive disorder experience sleep disturbances. But, you may feel like you just can’t sleep. Or perhaps it’s hard for you to get out of bed because you feel tired all the time.

Good sleep hygiene could be crucial to improving the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Turn off your mobile at least an hour before you go to bed. Use dim light when you are reading a book or engage in any other relaxing activity.

Only reserve your bed for sleep and sexual activity. Working in bed, or even in your bthe bedthe room can cause you to attribute your bed to stress, rather than relaxation. 

Click here for more information about having a good night sleep

5: Improve your eating habits

Research continually finds clear links between your meal and your mental health. There are so many studies that have shown improving nutrition can improve mental illness that nutritional psychiatry has become mainstream.

Many brain-essential nutrients can affect depression. For example, a 2012 study found that zinc deficiency increases symptoms of depression.

Improving your diet could be key to reducing your symptoms.

But before you make any alterations to your diet or begin taking vitamins or supplements, talk with your physician. 

6: Use rewards for your efforts

All goals are worthy of recognition, and all achievements are worthy of celebration. When you attain a goal, do your best to acknowledge it.

You might not feel like celebrating with a cake and beer, but acknowledging your achievements can be against depression’s negative weight.

The memory of a job well-done may be especially influential against and overgeneralization.

7: Whatever the depression voice says, do the opposite

The negative, irrational, and illogical voice in your head may talk you out of self-help. However, if you can learn to comprehend it, you can learn to renovate it. Use logic as a weapon. Address each thought individually as it occurs.

If you think an event isn’t fun or worth your time, say to yourself, “You might be right, but it’ll be better than just sitting here another night.” You may soon see the negative isn’t always realistic.

8. Handle household chores

Depression can make it hard to complete household chores, such as washing dishes or paying bills. 

But a bundle of paperwork, the stack of dirty dishes, and a floor covered in dirty clothes will only amplify your feelings of worthlessness.

Take control of your daily activities. Start small and work on one thing at a time. Getting up and moving can help you start to feel good in itself. But, seeing your improvement in the home can be key to helping you feel better.

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