Ten ways to lessen your depression

There are loads of things you can do today to help manage your depression. Here are just some of the things you can start to implement as part of a regime of self-care. Pick what makes sense for you.

As always, speak to your GP if you’re feeling depressed. Take a look at our get help page. If you're feeling suicidal or that you might harm yourself please call the Samaritans immediately on 116 123. 


Enlist a friend and go to an exercise class 

Perhaps try a class where there’s some sort of community - like Crossfit, Rabble or your nearest Zumba class. So much more fun than just sticking your headphones on in the gym and being on your own. And, if you go with a friend, you’re much more likely to stick at it!


Make meditation part of your daily routine 

You could try this introductory  5 minute breathing meditation exercise  and then download one of the free meditation apps. My personal favourites are Headspace and Calm


Make a plan to see a friend

When you’re feeling depressed, meeting up with friends can seem like the last thing you’d want to do. But isolating yourself will only make you feel worse. So today why not arrange a date to meet up with a good friend? Trust me, you’ll feel better for having done so. If you’re not feeling up to that, then at least do something to make you laugh. Watching a collection of my favourite Saturday Night Live clips never fails to lighten my mood a bit.


Think about reducing the amount of alcohol you're drinking 

Booze is a depressant and isn’t going to be helpful in combating a persistently low mood. Obviously the course of action required is going to vary according to your current drinking habits. As a starting point, why not track how much you’re drinking using an app like Drinkaware?


Write a daily gratitude list

You can start by simply writing down on paper three things for which you are grateful. This can be absolutely anything. Some of the things I’ve written in the past include - “I am grateful to my wife for her love and support” and “I am grateful for the healthy and delicious breakfast I had this morning” and “I am grateful for the excellent book I am reading at the moment”. This is a GREAT start to the day.


Go for a walk

Being in nature has also been shown to be a great way of lifting your mood. Plus, the combination of getting outside and moderate exercise is a great way to get started if you’ve been out of the habit of exercising for a while.


Try meal planning

What we eat has a big impact on our wellbeing. And there are now LOADS of websites with recipes for cheap, healthy and delicious food. Some of my favourites include The Body CoachBBC Good Food, Jamie Oliver and Jack Monroe. You could also try a meal planning app like Mealime or Yummly or Vegan Recipes - Meal planner which have personalised meal plans, shopping lists and recipes.


Delete your social media apps

Like, errrr, everyone, I’m completely addicted to my phone. But I have at least deleted Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and that has definitely helped me feel happier. Baby steps! Why not try and delete at least one social media app from your phone today?


No screen time before bed

Poor quality sleep can have a major impact on a person’s depression, and vice versa. Building healthy sleep habits and getting a good 7-9 hours of shut eye per night can make a massive difference. So, tonight, maybe turn off your screens an hour before going to bed and drink a cup of delicious herbal night time tea. You could even go old school and read a paperback for 20 mins before you go to sleep?


Talk to someone about how you're feeling

Bottling up your emotions makes everything more difficult. For years I felt so pathetic talking about how awful I was feeling.  Learning to be honest about my depression was so liberating! And guess what? The stigmas surrounding mental health are reducing all the time and your friends / family DO want to help (even if  they’re a bit clueless as to what to say and do).