Key Takeaways Key Takeaways
  • Approximately 29% of Americans have been diagnosed with Depression, highlighting the significant impact of this mental health condition on society.

  • Depression is a unique experience for each individual, and treatment plans should be personalized to address specific needs. Professional care, including psychiatric services like medication management and psychotherapy, plays a crucial role in managing Depression.

  • While professional treatment is essential, incorporating positive lifestyle changes is encouraged. This includes following a personalized care plan, prioritizing regular exercise, establishing a consistent sleep routine, practicing mindful eating, staying connected with others, engaging in mindfulness and relaxation techniques, setting realistic goals, and limiting exposure to negative influences.

Healthy Habits to Support Your Depression Treatment

This content has been updated from the previous article on September 24, 2020.

According to A recent Gallup poll, as many as 29% of Americans have been diagnosed with Depression. Depression is a serious mental health condition that requires professional care. Each person with Depression is unique, and treatment plans should be tailored to each person’s needs.

Professional care for Depression can involve psychiatric services like Depression Medication Management, Psychotherapy, or a combination of both. These methods are effective for many people, though it might take time to feel relief.

If you have already been diagnosed with Depression and have a care plan, that should be your number one priority. If you haven’t yet started psychiatric services or therapy, be sure to find a care team first and foremost. Remember that Depression can be life-threatening when left untreated, but compassionate mental health care providers can help.

Follow Your Care Plan

If you only have enough energy and focus to start one habit, make it this one.

Your Depression care plan may include:

  • Taking medication as directed
  • Going to therapy as often as recommended
  • Asking questions about your care plan whenever you need to
  • Completing the “homework” your therapist gives you
  • Avoiding substances that interact with your medication, such as alcohol

Living with Depression can be an uphill battle, but incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine can make a significant difference in your mental well-being. While professional treatment and following your care plan is crucial, adopting positive lifestyle changes can complement and support your journey toward recovery.

There are a number of healthy habits you can incorporate to your daily lives and routine that can contribute to your overall mental health and enhance the effectiveness of Depression Treatment. If and when you feel ready to enhance your treatment plan, you can try creating healthy habits that support your well-being.

Prioritize Regular Exercise

Exercise has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health by releasing endorphins that improve mood, reducing stress hormones, and improving sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. This could include activities like walking, jogging, yoga, or dancing.

Getting plenty of movement may also help by:

  • Giving you a healthy coping tool
  • Increasing your confidence
  • Getting you into a community of people who enjoy the same exercise

Keep in mind that exercise does not have to be intense in order to help with Depression. If you are looking for more low impact exercise, hot yoga has actually been scientifically proven to help with Depression and its symptoms. Even walking outside for 30 minutes per day can help. It doesn’t even have to be a structured activity. Physical play with your kids, for example, can release feel-good endorphins as much as completing a workout video.

The important thing is to find a workout that you enjoy. As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Establish a Consistent Sleep Routine

Depression can cause people to sleep either too much or too little. Furthermore, insomnia can cause or worsen Depression. Quality sleep is vital for mental health. Establish a regular sleep schedule, aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Create a calming bedtime routine, avoid screen time before bed, and ensure your sleep environment is comfortable and conducive to rest.

Steps to get healthy sleep:

  • Go to bed and wake up around the same time daily
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine, preferably without screens
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening
  • Do not work or do other difficult tasks in the bedroom
  • Nap for a maximum of 30 minutes per day
  • Get up if you don’t fall asleep in 20 minutes, then try again later
  • Keep your bedroom cool and comfortable

If you have good sleeping habits but still struggle to sleep, be sure to talk to your care team. Natural supplements, prescription medications, and therapy tools may be able to help.

Stay Connected

Depression often draws people inward and causes people to isolate themselves from friends and family. This self-isolation can worsen Depression and keep you from the support you need and deserve. Even if it’s been a while since you talked to some friends, reach out. You may try a message like this:

Hi! I hope it’s ok that I haven’t been social lately. I have been working on my mental health. How are you? What’s going on in your life?

Try to set up regular times for you to see or talk with people. For example, you may have a weekly phone call with a family member or a monthly night out with friends. This not only bolsters your support system, but it can also keep you active and accountable.

It’s important to build a support network of people who understand your struggles and can offer encouragement. Attend social events, join clubs, or participate in group activities that interest you, if you feel up to it.

Tip: You can combine this tip with exercise by joining a fitness class or group!

Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help manage stress and promote a sense of calm. Incorporate these practices into your daily routine, especially during challenging moments. In addition to having a yoga practice, the tenets of yoga practice can actually help treat Depression.

Set Realistic Goals

Break down your tasks into smaller, manageable goals. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and avoid overwhelming yourself with unrealistic expectations. Setting and achieving realistic goals can boost your self-esteem and motivation.

Limit Exposure to Negative Influences

Be mindful of the content you consume, whether it’s news, social media, or even certain people. Limit exposure to negative influences that can contribute to feelings of hopelessness or inadequacy. Surround yourself with positivity whenever possible.

Engage in Hobbies and Activities You Enjoy

Invest time in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Whether it’s reading, painting, gardening, or any other hobby, engaging in activities you enjoy can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Other Habits for Beating Depression

There are many different habits that could help you recover from Depression. However, what works for one person may not be right for you. It’s important to stick with what makes you feel good.

Building a strong foundation of healthy habits can play a vital role in supporting your Depression Treatment. Remember that everyone’s journey is unique, so find the combination of habits that work best for you. Be patient with yourself and celebrate the progress you make along the way. With a holistic approach to mental health, incorporating these positive changes into your life can contribute to a brighter and more resilient future. Find your nearest LifeStance provider here who can help with treating Depression or providing other ideas for coping with Depression.

Authored By 

LifeStance Health
LifeStance Health

LifeStance is a mental healthcare company focused on providing evidence-based, medically driven treatment services for children, adolescents, and adults suffering from a variety of mental health issues in an outpatient care setting, both in-person and through its digital health telemedicine offering.

Reviewed By

Nicholette Leanza, LPCC-S
Nicholette Leanza, LPCC-S

Nicholette is a faculty member at John Carroll University’s Clinical Counseling program, and she is also the host of the LifeStance podcast, Convos from the Couch.