A person holding her head with both hands while looking down.

At this very moment, depression might feel like a never ending cycle. But it is more than possible to go back to feeling yourself again by making small lifestyle changes. 7.6% of Canada’s population experiences major depressive episodes every year. So you are not alone and can defeat this difficult phase of your life. 

Here are 9 tips to slowly help yourself out of depression: 

1. Accept your feelings 

Depression is a complex emotional state, not a sign of weakness. Do not feel guilty about your feelings. Remember, it’s okay not to be okay. True strength comes from recognizing your feelings, and understanding they’re part of you but not all of you.

2. Seek online mental health help 

If visiting a therapist’s office feels daunting, consider the convenience of professional online mental health services. With a registered therapist, you can explore and address your feelings from the comfort and privacy of your own home.  

3. Reach out to your close friends and family 

While isolation feels comforting, it can amplify your feelings of depression. As social creatures, we need connections with friends, families, and other humans for mental well-being. Even when it feels difficult, try to communicate with people who care about you. 

4. Build a routine 

Depression can disrupt your daily routine, making it hard to find motivation. Establishing a simple, manageable routine can help bring structure back into your life. Start with small goals, like getting up at the same time each day or preparing a meal, to gradually rebuild your sense of normalcy.

A person in an activewear outfit warming up outdoors

5. Stay active

Physical activity releases endorphins, chemicals in your brain that act as natural painkillers and mood lifters. You don’t have to run a marathon; even a daily walk or a short yoga session can make a difference in how you feel. If you’re up for a challenge, join a spin class, dance class, or even aerobics and sweat out those difficult emotions. 

6. Focus on nutrition

What you eat can impact your mood and energy levels. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains will nourish your body and mind. Some studies suggest that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and flaxseeds, can also support brain health and reduce symptoms of depression.

7. Limit alcohol and avoid drugs

While it might be tempting to use alcohol or drugs to cope, they can worsen depression and lead to a cycle of dependence. Drugs work the same way. Find a healthier coping mechanism that doesn’t cause guilt afterwards. A few minutes of deep breathing, listening to your favourite music, or reading a new book are all good coping strategies. 

8. Get enough sleep

Depression can either lead to too much sleep or not enough, both of which can exacerbate symptoms. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. 

9. Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques

Mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation techniques can reduce stress and improve your mood. These practices help you focus on the present moment and allow you to gain perspective on negative thoughts and feelings. Even a few minutes a day can make a big difference.

Jennifer Pinto

At this very moment, depression might feel like a never ending cycle. But it is more than possible to go back to feeling yourself again by making small lifestyle changes. 7.6% of Canada’s population experiences major depressive episodes every year. So you are not alone and can defeat this difficult phase of your life.  Here…

Hi, I am Jennifer Pinto. I am a registered Social Worker and obtained my Masters' Degree from University of Toronto in 2010 with a specialization in Children and Families. I also completed an Honors BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from York University in 2003.

For more than 20 years I've worked with various populations and different settings ranging from pediatric healthcare, mental health community agencies and education systems.

https://jenniferpintopsychotherapy.ca/