At some point in her life, every woman would feel depressed, let down and tired of life. If you feel that way, you are surely no alone and you should never think you are.

Depression can drain your energy, hope and drive, making it hard to do what you need to feel better.

But while overcoming depression isn’t easy, there are plenty of little things that can help you on the way to recovery.

Many people make the fundamental mistake of presuming that depression is sadness, but the two are entirely different things.

Here are important tips to help you get out from depression:

1. Stay in touch

Don’t withdraw from life. Socializing can improve your mood. Keeping in touch with friends and family means you have someone to talk to when you feel low.

Connection is one of the six basic emotional needs and when depression takes hold it is often the need that gets most neglected in favour of satisfying the need for comfort through isolation.

When the first signs of depression appear it is important to spend more time cultivating relationships with family, loved ones and friends, for these are the very people who will be there for the individual as their support network.

Being able to talk about your problems makes dealing with them easier and therefore it is very helpful to identify the people you can trust and rely on.

2. Be more active

Take up some form of exercise. There’s evidence that exercise can help lift your mood. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start gently by walking for 20 minutes every day.

3. Face your fears

Don’t avoid the things you find difficult. When people feel low or anxious, they sometimes avoid talking to other people. Some people can lose their confidence about going out, driving or travelling.
If this starts to happen, facing up to these situations will help them become easier.

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4. Accept personal responsibility

The power of the mind is an amazing thing, and although pharmaceutical intervention is certainly beneficial in cases of severe depression, individuals can work towards overcoming mild or moderate depression faster if they start to take personal responsibility for their actions and behaviours.

This advice is not about “pulling yourself together” but more about what decisions need to be made by the individual to make them feel more powerful and happy.

We have all the answers we need inside of us and the challenge is to find ways to access those answers to help improve our quality of life.

It is good to establish the fact that you are the one who can make things happen rather than have things happen to you.

5. Challenge negative thoughts

Negative thinking and obsessing on unhelpful thoughts are two common symptoms of depression.

Shifting the focus of the mind is key to getting perspective on the situation and reclaiming your power.

When you take responsibility for your thoughts and turn such focus towards gratitude you will start to feel comforted about the more positive aspects of yourself and your environment.

It is important for the individual to identify any warped thoughts, like negative filtering and over-generalisation that are not representative of reality, by getting perspective.

6. Have a regular sleep time

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for everyone but especially for those suffering from depression. Conversely too much sleep (over eight hours) can exacerbate depression.

As with most things it is about balance and everything in moderation.

Regular sleeping hours are essential in managing mood and having a regular bedtime and rise time is important too.

The depressed individual should be going to bed and waking up at the same time every day of the week including weekends.

Go back to basics, set alarms, create a routine and introduce calming rituals before bed.

Studies have shown that regular sleep routines have a positive effect on mood and actually reduce depressive symptoms over time.

Darkness and light are also very important in this. Other tricks that work for my clients include avoiding bright lights of TV, computers and overhead lights after 9pm as this allows you to get a better night’s sleep.

7. Limit alcohol and caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine in the form of coffee are used by many who are depressed to purportedly help them through the day.

This form of self medication may seem like a useful coping strategy to some, however it is far from helpful as both alcohol and caffeine are psychoactive drugs which cross the blood-brain barrier and affect brain function resulting in changes in mood, thinking, behaviour, perception and consciousness.

Alcohol is a commonly abused substance within the general population and in cases of depression sufferers often use alcohol for its depressant effects.

Caffeine is known to be a stimulant used to keep awake and more alert.

Such seeking of comfort or stimuli to just make it through the day shows that a fundamental human emotional need is not being met by other means and so we look for a short-term fix which is not only temporary but hollow.