It’s important that you don’t try to deal with depression all on your own. Reach out to family and friends, and where help and support is offered, take it. Remember – you’re not alone.
Speak to your GP or health professional
If you haven’t already done so, speak to your GP or other health professional. Getting a correct diagnosis is key to recovering from depression. Attend follow-up appointments and if it’s been some time since you were diagnosed, go back to your doctor again in case your condition has changed.
Comply with treatment
Remember that medication can take some time to work (up to six weeks). Counselling and the other talking therapies can also take time to work. It is unrealistic to expect instant results.
Access support services
Keep helpline numbers close to hand and consider attending one of our support groups. Talking through particular concerns with someone who understands can be extremely reassuring and can enable you to learn new coping skills.
Exercise and get outdoors
Remember that exercise and spending time outdoors is important. Even going for a short walk each day or simply sitting in the park can bring benefits: fresh air, a sense of achievement and a break from usual routines which may be aggravating the depression. Engaging with nature can make a difference.
Eat a balanced diet
Try to eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Food does have an impact on mood. Sugary foods lead to a sharp drop in blood sugars later on and this leads to energy and mood slumps. Caffeine also has a negative impact, causing increased heart rate and interfering with sleep.
Alcohol is a depressant and can prove a potent trigger to low mood, especially in individuals prone to depression. It can also interact dangerously with medication.
Get enough rest
Try to get adequate rest and sleep. Sleep problems can be a symptom of depression. If you are having difficulty with sleep, look at your diet (caffeine or rich foods late in the evening can prevent sleep) and also think about getting some light exercise and fresh air later in the day.
Writing as therapy
Many people find writing useful and it can have therapeutic benefits. Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a writer: simply writing a few sentences at the end of each day can help to relieve some concerns and no one need ever read what you have written. Looking back over things you have written previously can also show how far you have come – keeping a Mood Diary can be a great way to get started.
For further resources and information, please see our literature section.
Watch back Dr Tony Bates presenting ‘Coming through Depression’
Aware has recorded over 40 hours of free lectures about depression; how to recognise the symptoms and how to better manage your mental health. View more video listings here>>