8 Tips for Managing Mild Depression

Don't let depression consume you, remember that you're more than your mood. Here are 8 basic mental health tips for managing mild depression:

  1. Whatever is getting you down; don't let it consume you. When you're feeling anxious/depressed, try going outside for a nice walk, it will help to clear your mind, get your blood flowing, and send more oxygen to your brain. While outside try to remind yourself of all the obstacles that you have overcome in the past, and know that you'll make it through whatever it is that's bringing on these emotions. And just breathe.

  2. Try yoga or meditation. These are great ways to relax and decrease the tension and anxiety brought on by your depression. You don't have to go to a yoga or meditation class, these techniques can be done at your home (for free!). You can even hop online to get more tips about how to successfully meditate and find good yoga positions/exercises. These practices will bring you into the present moment and keep you from worrying about the past or future. (Depression can be minimized by focusing on exactly what is happening NOW).

  3. Physical activity. Physical activity is a great way to boost your mood. It not only makes you feel good, but also makes you look good (remember, you're lapping everyone on the couch!). You can jog, swim, bike, lift, walk, dance, whatever your physical forte is, do it! It may not seem like it, but it's amazing how much it can make you feel better.

  4. Make sure you're getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep will only make your stressors and anxiety worse -- adding to your depression. Now this isn't possible for everyone, lives get busy and days get filled up, but if you can watch your show while you're getting ready in order to add an extra hour of sleep, do it. Getting enough sleep is very important for your mental and physical health.

  5. Try to remain social. Even if you're feeling down, get up, get dressed and go out with some friends. Laughter and togetherness is some of the best medicine the world has to offer. And studies show that people who have close friendships are overall happier and live longer!

  6. Avoid self-medicating. It's easy to turn to drugs or alcohol when you're feeling down, but there are other routes to lasting relief and happiness. Drugs and alcohol will only give you a feeling of high for a short period of time and usually result in rebound depression or anxiety the following day. If you're struggling with lowering your reliance on self-medication, it could be an indication that you are a candidate for a prescribed medication (that might work a lot better).

  7. Take a step back. Observe your situation(s) and challenge your negative thinking. Do you truly believe what you're telling yourself? Or is it something else? Maybe you've taken on too many responsibilities. Take a step back and a good, long look at yourself and your situation(s). What can you do in this very moment to fix it? If there isn't anything you can do about it, let go of the anxiety and try to move forward. This isn't easy and will take some time, but this technique has the potential to become habitual. Sometimes the best way to solve a nagging problem is simply to accept that it exists.

  8. Don't be so hard on yourself. As humans we are very hard on ourselves, and for what? If you didn't get your dream job, then try to stay positive, because when one door closes, another often opens! If you failed a test, study harder next time, but don't dwell on it because a test doesn't define who you are as a person. Dwelling on these things and beating yourself up over them doesn't solve anything, it only makes your life that much harder. You deserve to be forgiven, you deserve to be loved and most of all, you're the best person for the job.