Self-care for depression

Learn about self-care and find valuable tips and information to manage depression.

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Managing depression can be immensely challenging. However, there are actionable steps you can take to aid in your own healing.

Talk to someone you trust

Opening up about your feelings can be tough, but many find relief in sharing their experiences. Simply having someone listen and express care can make a significant difference. If you’re hesitant to confide in someone close to you, consider reaching out to a confidential helpline. 
 
Organisations like Samaritans offer 24/7 support, allowing you to speak freely and anonymously. You can reach them at any time by calling 116 123. Whether it’s with someone you know or through a helpline, taking the step to talk about your feelings is a positive move towards feeling better.

Explore recovery colleges

Recovery colleges are special schools that help people learn about mental health and how to get better. The classes are often created and taught by people who have had their own struggles with mental health. This makes the learning environment very supportive and understanding. These colleges are a great place for anyone wanting to learn more about how to deal with mental health issues and find support from others who understand what it’s like.

Try something new 

Trying new activities can rekindle your interest in life and give you a sense of accomplishment. It could be anything from starting a new hobby to exploring new places. Being in nature, like a park or the countryside, can calm your mind and uplift your spirits.

Nature has a unique way of soothing and refreshing us. Even just taking a walk daily can help, maybe try a new route you haven’t explored before. We will discuss looking after your physical health in more detail below.

If it feels too much to go outside, opening a window to get some fresh air and opening a blind or curtain to let some sunlight in, can make a difference.

If you are currently not working due to how you feel, volunteering can be an effective way of easing yourself back into the mindset.

Giving you some structure and purpose, many people find volunteering a great way to even just get out of the house and focus on something, even if only for a couple of hours. 

Find your local Volunteer Centre.

Try something creative

Creative activities can help manage depression by letting you express yourself and focus on something positive. Here are some simple ideas to try:

  • Paint or Draw: Let your feelings flow onto paper.
  • Colour: It’s relaxing and can take your mind off things.
  • Make a Collage: Cut and paste images that speak to you.
  • Take Photos: Capture moments or things you find interesting.
  • Sing or Make Music: It’s a great way to release emotions.
  • Dance: Move to your favourite music to feel free.
  • Write: Jot down thoughts, stories, or poems.
  • Craft: Try knitting, embroidery, or clay for a hands-on activity.
  • Cook or Bake: Experiment with recipes for a tasty distraction.

Choose what sounds fun to you and give it a try. There’s no pressure to be perfect; just enjoy the process.

Look after your physical health

Taking care of your physical health can significantly impact your mood and energy levels, especially if you’re dealing with depression. Here are some strategies to help:

  1. Focus on Sleep: Quality sleep is crucial. Depression might make you sleep too little or too much. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, go to bed, and wake up at the same times daily. For tips on managing sleep issues, look for resources that offer advice on improving sleep habits.
  2. Watch Your Diet: What you eat affects your mood. Information on the relationship between food and mental health can guide you toward dietary choices that might improve how you feel. Managing your diet when feeling down can include simple, nourishing foods that don’t require much effort to prepare.
  3. Engage in Physical Activity: Exercise can be a challenge but is beneficial. Low-intensity activities like yoga, swimming, or walking can boost your mood. Start with small, manageable activities, such as gentle stretches or chair exercises, and gradually build up. Resources on physical activity and mental health can provide more ideas and motivation.
  4. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol: It might be tempting to use recreational drugs or alcohol to cope, but these can ultimately make you feel worse and hinder addressing the root causes of your feelings. Look into information on how substances can impact your mental health for further insights.

Each of these steps can play a part in a holistic approach to managing depression, improving both your physical and mental well-being.

Take care of your hygiene

Taking care of your hygiene might seem overwhelming when you’re dealing with depression, but small steps can make a significant difference in how you feel. Simple acts like showering, brushing your teeth, and wearing fresh clothes can boost your mood and self-esteem. If these tasks feel too challenging, there are simpler alternatives you can consider:

  • Use mouthwash if brushing your teeth feels like too much.
  • Opt for wet wipes and dry shampoo instead of a full shower on tough days.
  • Wear clean socks, underwear, or clean pyjamas if changing into regular clothes seems daunting.
  • Spray fabric freshener on clothes or bedding to quickly refresh them without doing laundry.

Creating a hygiene kit with essentials like a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, a hairbrush, and soap can also help by having everything you need in one convenient place. This can make the process feel more manageable and less scattered, helping you take one step at a time towards self-care.

Keep a journal

Journaling is a powerful tool for understanding your thoughts and emotions. It offers a personal space for expression, whether on paper or digitally. Here are some approaches to journaling:

  1. ‘No Filter’ Journal: Write freely about whatever crosses your mind without worrying about structure or censoring your thoughts. This raw, unfiltered approach can help you connect with your genuine feelings and thoughts.
  2. Gratitude Journal: At the end of each day, reflect on things that went well or aspects of your life for which you’re thankful. This practice can shift your focus to positive experiences, fostering a sense of gratitude.
  3. Reflective Journal: Record your daily activities, emotions, and thoughts. This can help you identify patterns or triggers for your feelings, making it easier to understand the link between your actions and emotional state.

Each method offers unique benefits and can be tailored to your preferences and goals. Journaling not only aids in self-reflection but can also be a therapeutic way to navigate through your emotions.

Get support

Talk with a trained professional about your thoughts and feelings with out free counselling and private counselling service for people over the age of 18.

Counselling Private Counselling