12 No-Cost Ways to Treat Depression Yourself
Although therapy and antidepressant medication are the most effective treatments for depression, home treatment is also important. There are many steps you can take to help yourself during a depressive episode and to prevent future episodes.
Set realistic goals for yourself, and take on a reasonable amount of responsibility.
Break large tasks into small ones, and set priorities. Do what you can when you are able.
Postpone major life decisions (such as changing jobs, moving, or getting married or divorced when you are depressed.
Try to share your feelings with someone. It is usually better than being alone and secretive.
Let your family and friends help you.
Even if you don't feel motivated, try to participate in religious, social, or other activities.
Get regular exercise.
Eat a balanced diet. If you lack an appetite, eat small snacks rather than large meals.
Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs or medications that have not been prescribed to you. They may interfere with your medications or make your depression worse.
Get adequate sleep. If you have problems sleeping:
Go to bed at the same time every night and, more importantly, get up at the same time every morning.
Keep your bedroom dark and free of noise.
Don't exercise after 5:00 p.m.
Avoid caffeinated beverages after 5:00 p.m.
Avoid the use of nonprescription sleeping pills or alcohol, because they can make your sleep restless and may interact with your depression medications.
Be patient and kind to yourself. Remember that depression is not your fault and is not something you can overcome with willpower alone. Treatment is necessary for depression, just like for any other illness.
Try to maintain a positive attitude—remember that feeling better takes time, and your mood will improve little by little.