Depression Depression Guide Depression Guide Types Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment Living With In Children ADA 8 Tips to Help You Deal With Depression By Nancy Schimelpfening Nancy Schimelpfening Nancy Schimelpfening, MS is the administrator for the non-profit depression support group Depression Sanctuary. Nancy has a lifetime of experience with depression, experiencing firsthand how devastating this illness can be. Learn about our editorial process Updated on May 11, 2023 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Bymuratdeniz / Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Build a Support Network Reduce Your Stress Improve Your Sleep Hygiene Improve Your Eating Habits Learn How to Stop Negative Thoughts Beat Procrastination Get a Handle on Your Household Chores Create a Wellness Toolbox Next in Depression Guide What to Know About Childhood Depression Everything feels more challenging when you're dealing with depression. Going to work, socializing with friends, or even just getting out of bed can feel like a struggle. But there are some things you can do to cope with your depression symptoms and improve your quality of life. Read ahead for some tips to help alleviate symptoms. Build a Support Network One of the most important things you can do to help yourself with depression—other than medication and therapy—is to develop strong social support. For some, this may mean forging stronger ties with friends or family. Knowing you can count on supportive loved ones to help can go a long way toward improving your depression. For others, a depression support group can be key. It may involve a community group that meets in your area or you might find an online support group that meets your needs. How to Help Someone With Depression Reduce Your Stress When you're under stress, your body produces more of a hormone called cortisol. In the short-term, this is a good thing because it helps you gear up to cope with whatever is causing the stress in your life. Over the long run, however, it can cause many problems for you, including depression. The more you use techniques to reduce stress, the better because it will reduce your risk of becoming depressed. 18 Tips to Help You Relieve Stress Improve Your Sleep Hygiene Sleep and mood are intimately related. A 2014 study found that 80% of people with major depressive disorder experience sleep disturbances. But, you might feel like you just can't fall asleep. Or perhaps you struggle to get out of bed because you feel exhausted all the time. Good sleep hygiene could be key to improving the quality and quantity of your sleep. Turn off electronics at least an hour before you go to bed. Use dim light to read a book or engage in another relaxing activity. Only use your bed for sleep and sexual activity. Doing work in bed, or even in your bedroom, can cause you to associate your bed with stress, rather than relaxation. How to Sleep Better Improve Your Eating Habits Research continues to find clear links between diet and mental health. In fact, there have been so many studies that have shown improving nutrition can prevent and treat mental illness that nutritional psychiatry is becoming mainstream. There are many brain-essential nutrients that can affect depression. For example, a 2012 study found that zinc deficiency is associated with symptoms of depression. Improving your diet could be key to reducing your symptoms. But before you make any major changes to your diet or begin taking vitamins or supplements, talk with your physician. These Foods Can Help Boost Your Mood Learn How to Stop Negative Thoughts Depression doesn't just make you feel bad, it can also cause you to think more negatively. Changing those negative thoughts, however, can improve your mood. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that works to alter common patterns of negative thinking called cognitive distortions in order to eliminate depression. There are also many self-help books, apps, and online courses that can help you learn how to change your unhealthy thinking patterns. Press Play for Advice On Managing Negative Thoughts Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares tips for responding to negative or unhelpful thoughts in a healthy way. Click below to listen now. Follow Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts / Amazon Music Beat Procrastination The symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating, make procrastination tempting. Putting things off fuels depression. It can lead to increased guilt, worry, and stress. It's important to set deadlines and manage your time well. Establish short-term goals and work hard to get the most important things done first. Each task you successfully complete will help you break through the habit of procrastination. 5 Tips to Help You Stop Procrastinating Get a Handle on Your Household Chores Depression can make it difficult to complete household chores, such as doing the dishes or paying bills. But a pile of paperwork, a stack of dirty dishes, and a floor covered in dirty clothes will only magnify your feelings of stress. Take control of your daily chores. Start small and work on one project at a time. Getting up and moving can help you start to feel better in itself. But, seeing your progress in the home can be key to helping you feel better. 7 Tips for Staying Motivated to Clean Your House When You Are Depressed Create a Wellness Toolbox A wellness toolbox is a set of tools and actvities that you can use to help soothe yourself when you are feeling down. The tools you find most helpful might not work for someone else so it's important to carefully consider what things can help you feel your best. What to Add to Your Wellness Toolbox Think of things you like to do when you're happy. Then, when you're feeling down, try one of those activities. Here are some things you might include in your wellness toolbox: Cuddle your pet Listen to your favorite music Take a warm bath Read a book Go for a walk Call a loved one Take yourself out on a date Watch a movie or tv series Grab one of your favorite cozy blankets and relax Write your thoughts down in a journal Try a light therapy lamp The Best Depression Resources and Organizations for Support and Treatment 7 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Pfeiffer PN, Heisler M, Piette JD, Rogers MA, Valenstein M. Efficacy of peer support interventions for depression: a meta-analysis. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2011;33(1):29-36. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2010.10.002 Dedovic K, Ngiam J. The cortisol awakening response and major depression: examining the evidence. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2015;11:1181-9. doi:10.2147/NDT.S62289 Soehner AM, Kaplan KA, Harvey AG. Prevalence and clinical correlates of co-occurring insomnia and hypersomnia symptoms in depression. J Affect Disord. 2014;167:93-7. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2014.05.060 Sarris J, Logan AC, Akbaraly TN, et al. Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. Lancet Psychiatry. 2015;2(3):271-4. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00051-0 Lai J, Moxey A, Nowak G, Vashum K, Bailey K, Mcevoy M. The efficacy of zinc supplementation in depression: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. J Affect Disord. 2012;136(1-2):e31-e39. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2011.06.022 Driessen E, Hollon SD. Cognitive behavioral therapy for mood disorders: efficacy, moderators and mediators. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2010;33(3):537-55. doi:10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.005 Slade M, Amering M, Farkas M, et al. Uses and abuses of recovery: implementing recovery-oriented practices in mental health systems. World Psychiatry. 2014;13(1):12-20. doi:10.1002/wps.20084 Additional Reading Bouwmans ME, Beltz AM, Bos EH, Oldehinkel AJ, Jonge PD, Molenaar PC. The person-specific interplay of melatonin, affect, and fatigue in the context of sleep and depression. Personality and Individual Differences. 2018;123:163-170. Lai J, Moxey A, Nowak G, Vashum K, Bailey K, Mcevoy M. The efficacy of zinc supplementation in depression: Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2012;136(1-2). Soehner AM, Kaplan KA, Harvey AG. Prevalence and clinical correlates of co-occurring insomnia and hypersomnia symptoms in depression. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2014;167:93-97. By Nancy Schimelpfening Nancy Schimelpfening, MS is the administrator for the non-profit depression support group Depression Sanctuary. Nancy has a lifetime of experience with depression, experiencing firsthand how devastating this illness can be. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Depression Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.