- Schedule Pleasurable Activities: Losing interest in activities once enjoyed operates as a symptom of depression as well as a problem that perpetuates depressed mood. Scheduling and participating in pleasant activities (behavioral activation) has a significant impact on depressed mood. At first, you may not see a change, but over time you will gradually enjoy these activities again.
- Read Self-Help Books: Bibliotherapy can help you understand your depression as well as development effective coping skills. Such texts often include cognitive-behavioral techniques and symptom-monitoring.
- Practice Sleep Hygiene: Problems like insomnia, hypersomnia, and disturbed sleep maintenance commonly accompany Major Depression. Sleep hygiene refers to a set of practices that generally lead to quality sleep.
- Engage in Regular Exercise: Exercise can often have antidepressant effects.
- Quit Smoking: Research suggests that tobacco use impacts your recovery from depression. Abstaining from tobacco use is often advised.
- Avoid Excessive Caffeine Use: Caffeine use can exacerbate some symptoms of depression (i.e., anxiety, sleep problems, etc.)
- Abstain from Alcohol: Because even low levels of alcohol use have been shown to negatively affect a person's recovery from depression, experts advise abstinence until symptoms remit.
- Maintain a Balanced Diet: While literature does not offer robust evidence that improving diet profoundly impacts symptoms of depression, experts often suggest that individuals with Major Depression maintain a balanced diet.
If you do struggle with depressive symptoms that impact your quality of life and/or daily functioning, it is recommended that you use these strategies in conjunction with regular psychotherapy. If for some reason you can not see a therapist, these techniques can still offer symptom relief. Remember: change is usually a gradual process achieved and maintained by regular practice.