Stress, lack of exercise, poor sleep or eating habits, isolation and a poor understanding of depression can make it difficult to recover. You can play an active role in your recovery from depression by considering the self-care tips below.
Please note: Self-care is not a substitution for treatment. Only a professional can treat you for depression.
Manage your stress
- Set aside time every day for relaxing activities like walking, meditation or prayer, reading or enjoying music or art.
- Take a few minutes every day to close your eyes and practice deep breathing.
- Make a list of things that cause you stress, and set realistic goals for managing pressure.
- Find a physical activity that's fun and set a realistic goal for exercising regularly.
- Remember to first consult your doctor, especially if you've been inactive or have health problems.
- Eat regular, healthy meals.
- Avoid too much alcohol or caffeine.
- Avoid junk foods.
- Consult with your doctor about developing health eating habits.
Get enough rest
- Set a regular time for going to bed and waking up.
- Relax before going to bed.
- Avoid caffeine, especially at the end of the day.
- Avoid using alcohol, street drugs, herbal remedies or over-the-counter medications to help you sleep.
- Consult your doctor if you're sleeping too much or too little, or if you wake in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep.
Partner with family or friends
- Talk with friends or family about your feelings.
- Talk with your clinician about whether you should involve your friends or family in your treatment.
- Join a support group.
Partner with your clinician
- Ask your clinician to educate you about depression and its treatment.
- Follow the treatment plan that you and your clinician have developed.
- Keep your appointments.
- Take antidepressant medications as prescribed and be patient, because medications can take 4-6 weeks to work.
- Report any changes in your depression to your clinician, especially if you feel like you want to hurt yourself or someone else.
- Report any medication side effects.
- Report any changes in your physical health, including pregnancy.
Learn more about depression
- Read the articles that are available on this website.
- Visit the websites of the organizations listed as resources on this website.
- Ask your clinician to recommend other ways that you can learn more about depression.
- Reward yourself for small improvements.
- Use realistic rewards, such as telling yourself you did a good job, buying a favorite magazine or giving yourself a few extra minutes of relaxation time.
- Share your successes with friends, family and your clinician.