Keep a Balance in Your Life

By implementing some healthy practices, you can help yourself to recover from depression.  An added benefit is that, if you continue these practices, they will help to reduce the risk of becoming depressed again.   Try to add in just one or two of these good practices at a time, until they become habits.

1. Stay active

Even if you exercise for as little as 15 to 30 minutes on most days, you can expect to see improvements in your mood.  Some of the potential benefits of exercise include:

  • The release of endorphins, which results in a feeling of wellbeing
  • Increased energy and improved sleep
  • More self-confidence and the feeling that you have accomplished something
  • Distraction from negative thoughts
  • Appetite control and weight loss
  • An effective coping strategy
  • Getting you out into the world and interacting with other people

More information on exercise

2. Eat well.

A healthy, balanced diet promotes both mental and physical health. Here are some suggestions:

  • Eat complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain foods, beans, and vegetables for a longer-lasting and more stable source of energy.
  • Eat regular meals, including a healthy, nutritious breakfast.  Regular meals help to prevent irritability, anger, and overeating.
  • Eat more omega-3 fatty acids, such as are found in salmon, tuna, and halibut.  Omega-3s may help to reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

More information on a healthy diet

3. Get adequate sleep.

Adequate sleep helps you to concentrate better and increases your ability to cope with stress. Some tips for improving your sleep include:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.
  • Regularly do something relaxing before bedtime.
  • Avoid sleeping too much, which leads to shallow, unrestful sleep.
  • If you can't sleep, get up and do something relaxing.
  • Ask your doctor if your medications may be causing insomnia.

More information on sleep

4. Control stress.

Because depression can be stressful, it helps to reduce other sources of stress.

Stress management ideas

5. Stay connected.

Your relationships with others help you to feel that you belong and that you are valuable and worthwhile. Friends and loved ones can provide you with encouragement and support.  Here are some tips for improving your sense of connection:

  • Regularly spend time with friends and loved ones.
  • Allow others to serve you, particularly while you are depressed.
  • Try something new that will put you into contact with people who have similar interests.
  • Stay spiritually connected.
  • Avoid negative or unhealthy relationships

6. Express your feelings.

Try incorporating the following tips to help you be more effective in expressing your feelings.

7. Do something nice.

This will lead to a feeling of accomplishment and help you to feel better about yourself.   Be sure that you:

  • Give service.  Do something nice for someone else each day.
  • Treat yourself well.  Do something nice for yourself each day.

8. Participate in counseling as needed.

9. Take prescribed medication as needed.