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5 Self-Help Strategies for Depression

By Boca Recovery Center:

The approaching holiday season can be a tough time for some people. Studies have shown that reported increases in stress during this time can lead to concurrent increases in illness, anxiety, substance abuse, and depression.

Depression is a debilitating mental-health condition that causes feelings of sadness and hopelessness. People often require counseling, medication, or a combination of the two to manage their depression. However, certain self-help strategies can also be helpful in reducing symptoms and improving day-to-day function in people suffering from depression.

It's important to try a number of proven self-help methods in order to overcome depression. Some good strategies include exercising, getting enough sleep, creating social connections, and spending time outside. Here are 5 tips to get you started on self-managing this condition.

1. Connect with others

Social connections can be helpful to anyone who is feeling down or struggling with depression. One study found that loneliness and social isolation are linked, suggesting that social connections are an important intervention for the relief of depression. Since loneliness and depression are often related, connecting with others can be helpful in alleviating feelings of sadness. Find others who share similar interests and commit to spending time with them and doing activities together that you enjoy. You can connect with others through group exercise classes, religious groups, or other local events.

2. Don’t use drugs or alcohol

Depression and alcohol or substance abuse often occur together, and addiction can manifest if a person uses these substances for too long. Alcohol, stimulants, and other drugs may provide temporary relief from symptoms of depression, but dependence can gradually form over time. That's why you should avoid these substances to keep your mental health functioning at its best.

It's been suggested that 80% of individuals with depression also have a substance use disorder, with alcohol or drugs becoming a common coping mechanism during difficult times. Alcohol and drugs can also cause more social and personal dysfunction in those with this mental-health condition. If the individual abstains from drug and alcohol use, they may be able to prevent these consequences and help make recovery possible.

If you're feeling depressed or anxious, thoughts of suicide or other self-harm may arise. If you are currently experiencing suicidal thoughts or tendencies, consider calling Boca Recovery Center's 24/7 helpline at 800-516-4357.

3. Exercise

If you're looking for one quick change that will have an immediate impact on your health, get up and get moving!

When someone is depressed, exercise can be a great remedy that can help improve symptoms and enhance well-being. One study found that high-intensity exercise (like HIIT) has a significant positive impact on depression, with aerobic and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise doing the same in long-term studies. Cutting out regular physical activity can make things worse, so combining an active lifestyle with your treatment can be beneficial to your health.

Running, biking, or walking at a challenging pace can be especially effective for improving depression because high-intensity exercises have the greatest impact. Attending aerobic exercise classes and taking spinning classes outdoors or swimming can also be beneficial.

4. Sleep well

Many people with depression find themselves not being able to sleep. Others sleep excessively. Sleep hygiene for depression includes prioritizing sleep, creating a consistent sleep schedule, and ensuring time for adequate sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends young adults and adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, while older adults should get seven to eight hours of nightly rest.

5. Take care of yourself

Depression self-care is an important part of the healing process. For example, taking time to bathe and dress nicely can help you feel better and have more confidence in yourself. Daily tasks such as checking your mail or paying bills should not be seen as a chore during a depression, so try to do them on a regular basis to make your mood better in the long run.

An important measure for anyone who suffers from depression is to adhere to a balanced nutritional diet. One study found that a healthy diet reduced the risk of depression in women by 29% and by 17% in men.

There are many self-help strategies that people with depression can use to help themselves, but sometimes they need more. If you're struggling with co-existing addiction and depression, Boca Recovery Center has locations in Florida, Indiana, and New Jersey that can give you caring, personal treatment for both of those issues. Call today to discuss your addiction and depression treatment options.


Boca Recovery Center is a Substance Use Disorder program providing excellence in the medical and clinical treatment of drug and alcohol addiction, as well as co-occurring mental health issues. We are passionate about working with individuals seeking recovery, and our purpose is to provide clients with the tools necessary to rebuild their lives through a foundation of overall health and well-being.

(800) 516-4357

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