How To Deal With Depression And Get Help

By Patricia Oelze|Updated April 4, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Lauren Fawley , LPC

We all must cope with periods of sadness from time to time, whether it’s an after-effect of our own anxieties, during an overly stressful time in our lives, or more. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression that have gone on for a two weeks or longer without getting better, you could be clinically depressed. There are several ways to learn how to deal with depression and back to achieving the happiest version of your life.

One of the most vital aspects to remember when you’re depressed is to take action – no matter how small. It can be challenging to motivate yourself to act when you are depressed, but here are some ways you can deal with depression:

Talk with someone.

Get out of the house. Have lunch with a friend or schedule a work meeting. Give your significant other a phone call. Go to a movie with your sibling. When you’re feeling depressed, you want to withdraw and stay in bed all day. Try to not isolate yourself from others and neglect your relationships and responsibilities. It may not seem like it now, but when you talk with someone, get outside or do something outside of your current comfort zone, your mood will drastically increase.

Spend time with your pet.

Our pets love us unconditionally, even when we are depressed. They can be our own furry renditions of therapy. So, take your dog for a walk. Get a stuffed mouse and play with your cat. Even if you are at home and feel depressed, your pet could allow you to feel needed and less depressed. (Most) pets are naturally affectionate, and it can be therapeutic to pet or snuggle with your favorite animal when you are feeling down.

Do something you love.

Pick up on a hobby that you enjoy – or used to enjoy. When you’re feeling depressed, it can be hard to have fun and engage in activities you usually enjoy. Even if you don’t feel like it, spend some time on some self-love. Write in your journal, plant some new flowers in your garden, play your favorite sport, or go on a hike. Go outside and get a dose of some Vitamin D. Sunlight and fresh air will do you a world of good. You don’t need to do something momentous to be kind to yourself, even taking a moment to drink your favorite kind of tea can make a difference. Many people find listening to music helpful. Try experimenting with how you feel when listening to music that reflects your mood, then music that is opposite of your mood (think, something upbeat); both could feel good to you at different times.

Eat a well-balanced diet.

Changes in appetite can also occur during periods of depression, commonly people experience a loss of appetite, and some experience episodes of eating more than usual (often as a way of trying to cope with emotional suffering). Know that the food you eat is brain-fuel, and your brain needs nutrients in order to start to feel better. It can be hard to find the motivation to cook something good for yourself, but try not to grab for just the quick and easy salty and sugary snacks. There are some foods that are even mood-boosting foods such as foods high in omega-3-fatty acids, and it is not a bad idea to incorporate these healthy foods into your diet.

Ask for help.

It cannot be difficult at times for some people to admit that something is wrong and that they could use support. The important people in your life care about you whether you are feeling depressed or if you are on cloud-nine, and most people actually get enjoyment out of helping out others. If depression is causing you to not be able to keep up with normal tasks, errands, or chores, try accepting some help for a period of time. A family member could throw in a load of laundry for you or a friend could pick up your groceries. When you are feeling back to your usual self again, you can extend a favor in return.

Move your body.

Exercise is a natural stress reliever and releases healthy chemicals called endorphins that can help to improve mood. You don’t have to be an Olympian in training or even go to a gym to get a small amount of exercise (about 30 minutes) a day. Take a brisk walk or ride a bike, jump in a pool, or if the weather is bad try some stretches, aerobics, or yoga. There are many free resources these days on the internet for exercising in doors at home.

Get enough rest.

When we’re depressed, our sleep patterns tend to be out of whack. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Take a natural supplement like melatonin and try to get up at the same time every day. At the same token, try to go to bed at the same time every night. Be attuned to your body and its needs. On the flip side, do not allow yourself to stay in bed all day, even if depression is trying to keep you there.

Recognize depressive thinking.

The depressed brain generates thoughts about yourself and about the world that are often unrealistic and skewed to the negative. Checking them out with another person can give you a healthy dose of reality. Remember that just because you are having a depressed thought about yourself, doesn’t mean that you have to buy into it.

Practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness exercises are meant to focus attention on what it is happening in the present moment, rather than get stuck in thoughts about the past or the future. They often involve doing breath-work too, which can help you to lessen tension in your body. Depression can impact your ability to focus, concentrate, and make decisions. Practicing mindfulness can help you learn to better focus your attention and not allow your thoughts to run away with you. Mindfulness can also just help to provide a break from a mind that feels too busy.

Attend therapy sessions to learn how to deal with depression.

Find a licensed mental health professional near you or an online therapist so you can talk about what makes you depressed and how to break the cycle. A professional will have solutions to even out your most pressing depression problems.

A therapist can also recommend some good books or other materials to help you cope and conquer depression between therapy sessions.

Read advice columns and all you can about depression and its remedies. These items, as well as hundreds of others, will help you as you cope with depression. On-line support groups also exist, and it can feel nice to know that you are not alone in struggling with this debilitating illness. Try to find a support group with a professional moderator in order to be sure that you are getting the most beneficial support and information.

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