Depressive disorders can make you feel exhausted, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. Negative feelings and thoughts may make you feel like giving up. It is important to realize that these negative views are part of the illness and usually do not accurately reflect your actual circumstances.
Negative thinking fades as treatment begins to take effect. In the meantime, there are some simple lifestyle measures you can take to ease depression.
Depression takes a lot out of you. Therefore, you need to be realistic about your goals, responsibilities, and tasks. Stay as active as possible, but don't overextend yourself with more activities and responsibilities than you can handle.
Break large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can, as you can. Let your family and friends help you. Do not feel guilty if you are unable to do as much as you normally do. You need to focus on getting well.
Postpone Important Decisions
This may not be the best time for you to make big transitions such as changing jobs, getting married or divorced, or moving. If you are considering making an important decision, discuss it with others who know you well and may have a more objective view of your situation.
Participate in Activities That May Make You Feel Better
Though you may feel like withdrawing from the world and doing nothing, staying active can speed your recovery from depression. Getting out of the house to exercise, go to a movie or ball game, or participate in religious, social, or other activities may help.
Be Patient With Yourself
People rarely “snap” out of depression so don’t expect that of yourself. As you recover, you will gradually start to feel better. Remember that negative thinking is a part of your illness, and it usually improves along with the depression.
Increase Your Social and Spiritual Support
A network of supportive relationships is beneficial for the prevention and treatment of depression. Supportive relationships serve as a buffer against stress, which can sometimes trigger depression.
Strong spiritual faith is associated with a reduced risk of depression. Spiritual faith can be found in the context of organized religion, or in something less structured, such as meditation. In a group setting, it can provide the additional benefit of social support.
Reduce Your Stress
A variety of relaxation techniques can help you cope with stressors that may contribute to depression. Examples include meditation, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, yoga, and biofeedback. These techniques help you to pay attention to tension in your body and release it with exercises that help quiet your mind and relax your muscles. You can also reduce stress by getting adequate sleep, rest, and recreation.
Regular exercise helps you relieve stress and may help prevent or reduce depression. Aerobic exercise and yoga have been found to be particularly beneficial for reducing stress and improving mood. Aerobic exercise can raise the levels of brain chemicals that affect mood, such as endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. Other benefits of exercise include weight loss (if necessary), increased muscle tone, and higher self-esteem. Yoga provides the benefits of stretching and deep relaxation.
Eat a Healthful Diet
You may feel better physically and emotionally when you eat a healthful diet that is low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Specific dietary factors that may be beneficial in depression are the B-complex vitamins (found in whole grains) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in cold-water fish, fish oil, and flax seeds).
Nutt DJ, Kessler RC, Alonso J, et al. Consensus statement on the benefit to the community of ESEMeD (European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders) survey data on depression and anxiety.
J Clin Psychiatry.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a