8 self-help activities to cope with depression

Coping with depression can seem like a daunting challenge. However, there are many self-help activities that are of great support in the search for well-being.

Last update: September 16, 2022

There is a wide variety of self-help activities that can help you cope with depression. This disorder is complex and it is important to know how to recognize it to give it an adequate approach. Now, we must bear in mind that certain situations are sometimes “banalized” with terms that work inaccurately.

For example, how many times have you heard someone say “I’m depressed”? Surely several. And with greater certainty, this disorder was not always treated as such. So when is it depression? Let’s see its main clinical manifestations and what activities help to deal with it.

What is depression?

All treatment begins by explaining what is being consulted about and what is going to be worked on. Beyond the fact that the person can describe her symptoms very well, he does not always manage to integrate them into a whole and understand how they feed and influence each other.

Since it is a phenomenon as complex as it is universal, psychoeducation in depression is key. In this sense, it should be known that it is a mood disorder, in which the most typical signs are related to a feeling of sadness, apathy, reluctance and loss of interest.

Of course, we have all felt this way at some point in life. However, a depressive picture is characterized by the deterioration in the functioning and daily life of the person, and by the chronicity and intensity of the symptoms. It’s not just “I had a bad day.”

Depression is a state of chronic sadness in which the person is unable to do their daily activities.


8 self-help activities to cope with depression

Due to its chronic nature, the treatment of depression must be done by a mental health professional, be it a psychologist or psychiatrist. However, as a supplement, it is possible to implement some self-help activities to deal with it. Let’s take a closer look at the most relevant ones.

1. Exercise

One of the best self-help activities to deal with depression is physical activity and sports. This is because it stimulates the segregation of substances linked to well-being.

Therefore, it is important to dedicate some spaces of the week to be on the move. It is possible to choose different activities; from a slow walk to a dance class.

2. Take care of the body

In relation to the previous point, it must be clear that the body is a temple. Neglecting grooming, feeding and other care will take its toll. Depression has a physical correlate, beyond the cognitive and emotional.

So, although it seems difficult, it is important to look in the mirror and recognize the neatness and care, almost as a challenging testimony of those thoughts that are inside.

3. Take care of the way you talk to yourself

Many people with depression tell themselves that they are failures, that life is meaningless, that they are not important. They repeat it so much that the brain ends up capturing that message. To deal with depression, it is important to learn to treat yourself kindly and lovingly. Understand the difficulties, but also learn to trust the capabilities.

Respect begins with oneself, and breaking the negative spiral of bad thoughts and reproaches is a small step to a great start. So instead of repeating mistakes or weaknesses, it is better to recognize the achievements and the effort to get ahead.

A simple exercise is to leave notes in different places, which remind you of the values. You can also ask a family member to talk about the qualities they see in you. This allows linking the mind with pleasant and positive experiences to cut the pessimistic cascade.

4. Ask for help

It is not necessary to solve everything yourself. In those moments in which the feeling of not being able to do more appears, it is best to ask for help. Whether it is consulting a professional to start treatment, or talking to a friend or family member, it is a valuable resource that should not be neglected.

5. Look for moments of happiness and well-being

It is always possible to incorporate happiness and well-being as part of everyday life. Perhaps depression made you forget when was the last time you experienced joy. However, it is not about experiencing “great events”. On the contrary, It consists of appreciating the small pleasures of everyday life.

  • Do you like music? Spend at least 10 minutes lying down alone to enjoy your favorite songs.
  • Do you like photography? Take 15 minutes to capture images during a daily walk.

It is not about “daring” actions, but about what is within reach. For those days when feeling good is difficult, you can reserve a list of your “wellness top 30”with pleasant activities to do for a month.

Ideally, you can make it according to your interests, but you can also try a “standard” or someone else’s list, which helps you venture into other things.

6. Keep a journal

A good idea is to keep a “depression progress diary.” It’s not worth cheating! It is not about making it a “black” story about life, but about learning to control the time spent on dark and intrusive thoughts versus those that are healthy.

Then, you can decide that you will spend 25 minutes a day to complete the diary; You will dedicate 8 minutes to your “catharsis” and to writing about the discomfort. However, the remaining 17 minutes will be spent highlighting what you accomplished that day, how you felt about it, and acknowledging your accomplishments.

7. Practice relaxation and breathing techniques

Practicing exercises to stretch the body and oxygenate it works very well to “lower a few revolutions”, to connect with serenity and to take a break. Lighting a candle or taking a hot bath may also help.

Relaxation and breathing exercises reduce tension and promote well-being.

8. Try to stabilize sleep cycles

In the presence of depression, it is possible to sleep too many hours or, on the contrary, have difficulty sleeping. It is important to collaborate with adequate sleep hygiene, which implies the following measures:

  • Maintain a routine when you go to bed and wake up.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine.
  • Set aside technology at least two hours before going to sleep.


It all starts with a first step

It is possible that when you finish reading the recommendations on self-help activities for depression, some of the following ideas have come to mind; «I understand that it’s good for me, but I’m not interested”, “I can’t get up from my head”, “I try but it’s hard”.

These thoughts and feelings are signs of depression. It’s like a movie playing over and over in your head. Even so, it must be clear that every path begins with a first step, with a movement that interrupts that inertia.

This step does not have to be “perfect”, it does not have to find you in your best mood or “vibrating high”. Perhaps you feel that it costs you, that it is an immense effort; and it is so.

That’s why, it is necessary to give the mind another type of “food”. To understand that there are other possible realities, as well as other thoughts, feelings and actions to take charge of oneself.

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