With the economy on a continuous slump, it’s no wonder that a lot of people fall prey to depression—plus the fact that they have less money to actually treat this particular mental disorder. But even though you are already on medications or are already having sessions with a therapist, there are still things that you can do to help yourself feel much better, and all these won’t cost you a dime.

1. Stop blaming yourself.

This is probably the easiest, cheapest and the most important thing you need to do in order to win against depression. The stigma of depression itself, the accompanying guilt and that certain feeling of inadequacy are some of the most common hindrances to fully recuperating from the situation you are in. Managing the symptoms of depression requires a lot of patience plus a proactive and practical approach. In order to beat depression, you need to be able to accept its presence in your life—much like any other physical illness that requires attention,
and it absolutely will not make any sense for you to keep blaming yourself for it.

2. Learn to talk about it.

Yes, this is not easy, but talking to others about your situation is actually a step towards recovery and is a lot better than keeping it a secret. Not everyone may understand your plight and offer support, but then again, your family and friends can provide you
with theirs and that can be very helpful to your cause.

3. Exercise regularly

Exercising may be the last thing you’d want to do especially when you’re depressed, but going for a run or hitting the gym during periods like this can make you feel a lot better. Exercise, when done regularly (about 30 minutes or so each day) can help improve the symptoms of depression. It also has short term
benefits: exercising can help boost your mood for up to 12 hours by releasing endorphins—the hormones responsible for eliciting that “happy” feeling.

4. Postpone doing major decisions

Depression can affect your judgments and perceptions of things, ergo, its best to postpone any major decision-making tasks until you are feeling a lot better. Having a negative outlook in life is one of the major symptoms of having depression. This changes how you view the things around you and your entire life in general and you might not even be aware of it. So to the extent that it’s possible, it’s best to delay making final judgments on major things. Should you need to do a decision now, make sure to enlist the help of trusted persons within your circle who could give you sound advice over things.

5. Take care of your health.

When you’re depressed, it tends to be easy to let your health deteriorate. But failing to take care of your own health can make your symptoms of depression even worse than it is.

6. Maintain a daily routine

Going through a regular routine as much as possible is important for people who are suffering from depression. A routine successfully done each day can demonstrate to yourself and to others that you are capable of going through the entire day and at best, is capable of recovery.

7. Maintain a healthy diet

What you ingest affects your brain and your other body functions. So if you’re depressed, it’s best for you to consume foods that are rich in whole grains, protein, veggies and fruits. Though there’s no particular food that can cure depression, there are those however that can affect your mood more than the others. Carbohydrates and foods rich in Vitamin D can increase your body’s serotonin levels—a neurotransmitter that’s been associated with mood (the very same one that’s being targeted by some prescription medications like Prozac).

8. Stay away from drugs and booze

It’s certainly tempting to do booze and drugs, but make sure that you don’t do it. Substance abuse can destroy people, especially those who are battling depression. People with anxiety disorders and depression often tend to turn to alcohol and drugs to relieve their symptoms, but that strategy is sure to backfire in the long run. Drinking alcohol as well as drug use can alter your brain chemistry, and can cause problems in relationships, career, as well as with other areas of life. Although an occasional glass of wine or bottle of beer won’t necessarily harm you, people with depression should still limit their booze consumption and of course, steer clear from drug use.

9. Try to get a restful sleep

Lack of sleep and depression often go hand-in-hand. Insomnia and other sorts of sleep problems are common with people with depression, and for a lot of people, lack of sleep can further lead to depression. Experts thus recommend for depressed people to try to get enough sleep each day and maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule.

10. Don’t over-schedule.

Feeling overwhelmed and stressed are some of the common triggers of depression. So if you’re trying to combat depression, make sure that you do not overload your schedule with a mangle of things that you know you’ll be having a hard time managing. Try to break up tasks into more manageable pieces. Take a break if you must, so you can still have full control of how you deal with your feelings.

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