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Helen DeVos Children's Hospital

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
100 Michigan Street NE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
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5 Ways to Help Yourself Through Depression

If you are going through depression, it's best to get help from a therapist. To get the most from your therapy, you can do things to help yourself, too.

Here are five things you can do to feel better. They may seem simple, but they can help a lot.

  1. Exercise. Take a 15- to 30-minute brisk walk every day. Or you can dance, stretch, or do yoga. People who are depressed may not feel much like being active. But get yourself to do it anyway. If you need a push, ask a friend to do it with you. Getting any activity started helps boost your mood. Keep it going.
  2. Eat healthy foods. Some people with depression don't feel much like eating. Some may overeat. But what you eat can affect your mood and energy. So with depression, you need to be sure to eat right. For most people, that means plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit simple carbs and foods with added sugar. Don't go for too long without eating. Even if you don't feel hungry, eat something light and healthy.
  3. Don't dwell on problems. It can feel good to talk through a problem with a caring friend. But depression can lead people to complain, blame, and rehash problems too much. It can keep you focused on what's wrong.

    It's OK to air your thoughts and feelings with people who care. But don't let problems be all you talk about. Talk about good things too. This can help your mood become more positive.
  4. Express yourself. With depression, your creativity and sense of fun may seem blocked. But it can help to do things that get your creative juices flowing. Paint, draw, or doodle. Sew, cook, or bake. Write, dance, or compose music. Chat with a friend or play with a pet. Find something to laugh about. Watch a funny movie. Do things you can enjoy. Even a little. That helps turn depression around.
  5. Notice good things. Depression affects a person's view of things. Things can seem dismal, negative, and hopeless. To shift your view, make it a goal to notice 3 good things in every day. The more you notice what's good, the more good you will notice.

Most of all, if you're going through depression, show yourself some compassion and kindness. When you're going through a hard time, it helps to know you're not alone. Be patient with yourself. Depression takes time to heal.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: August 2021