Hope is Here

Lifestyle and home remedies

by the Mayo Clinic

Depression generally isn’t an illness that you can treat on your own. But you can do some things for yourself that will help. In addition to professional treatment, follow these self-care steps:

  • Stick to your treatment plan.Don’t skip psychotherapy sessions or appointments, even if you don’t feel like going. Even if you’re feeling well, resist any temptation to skip your medications. If you stop, depression symptoms may come back, and you could also experience withdrawal-like symptoms.
  • Learn about depression. Education about your condition can empower you and motivate you to stick to your treatment plan.
  • Pay attention to warning signs. Work with your doctor or therapist to learn what might trigger your depression symptoms. Make a plan so that you know what to do if your symptoms get worse. Contact your doctor or therapist if you notice any changes in symptoms or how you feel. Ask family members or friends to help watch for warning signs.
  • Get exercise. Physical activity reduces depression symptoms. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or taking up another activity you enjoy.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. It may seem like alcohol or drugs lessen depression symptoms, but in the long run they generally worsen symptoms and make depression harder to treat. Talk with your doctor or therapist if you need help with alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleeping well is important for both your physical and mental well-being. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about what you can do.

Coping and Support

Coping with depression can be challenging. Talk to your doctor or therapist about improving your coping skills, and try these tips:

  • Simplify your life. Cut back on obligations when possible, and set reasonable goals for yourself. Give yourself permission to do less when you feel down.
  • Consider writing in a journal. Journaling can improve mood by allowing you to express pain, anger, fear or other emotions.
  • Read reputable self-help books and websites. Your doctor or therapist may be able to recommend books to read.
  • Join a support group. Connecting with others facing similar challenges can help you cope. Local support groups for depression are available in many communities, and support groups for depression are also offered online.
  • Don’t become isolated. Try to participate in social activities, and get together with family or friends regularly.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
  • Learn ways to relax and manage your stress. Examples include meditation, yoga and tai chi.
  • Structure your time. Plan your day and activities. You may find it helpful to make a list of daily tasks, use sticky notes as reminders or use a planner to stay organized.
  • Don’t make important decisions when you’re down. Avoid decision making when you’re feeling very depressed, since you may not be thinking clearly.