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May 22, 2024

What to Try When You Don’t Want to Be Depressed Anymore

Katelyn McMahon
Registered Psychotherapist, VT #097.0134200
white women in red jacket sits on a park bench looking depressed; i don't want to be depressed anymore
May 22, 2024
10 min to read
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When you’re in the middle of a depressive fog, it might feel like things will never get better. The thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations that come along with depression can be all-consuming, making it hard to know what to do to feel better.

If this resonates with you, please know that you’re not alone. Unfortunately, depression is a common mental health issue, affecting more than 21 million adults in the U.S. each year (1). And while you might feel overwhelmed right now, the fact that you’re reading this shows that you’re ready to do what you need to do to prioritize your mental health. 

The tips in this blog post won’t magically heal your depression overnight. However, incorporating these strategies and consistently practicing them can help you feel better over time. 

I don’t want to be depressed anymore. What should I do?

Healing from depression is a personal process. Here, we’ve compiled several different tips so you can find which strategies work best for you. Start by trying one from each category per day to avoid overwhelming yourself.

Self-help strategies

You shouldn’t have to cope with your depression alone. However, relying on others for help can be difficult. Try these self-help tips to begin your healing process.

Set small, achievable goals

  • Example: Choose one small task you want to accomplish each day.
  • How to do it: When you wake up, choose one manageable task to tackle that day. The task will depend on your specific situation and abilities, but a couple of examples could be wiping off the kitchen counters or making your bed.
  • Potential depression benefit: This exercise can cultivate a sense of accomplishment without overwhelming yourself with too many to-dos. 

Show yourself compassion

  • Example: Be kind to yourself while you’re struggling. 
  • How to do it: Try exercises one or two from this self-compassion guide.
  • Potential depression benefit: Kicking yourself while you’re down won’t help you feel better. Self-compassion isn’t about toxic positivity or encouraging complacency, but rather about giving yourself love and understanding during a hard time. 

Embrace creativity

  • Example: Use different art forms to create an abstract representation of how you feel. 
  • How to do it: There are plenty of different ways to embrace creativity. If you’re not sure where to start, put on a playlist and allow yourself to fill a page through writing, drawing, scribbling–whatever comes out. 
  • Potential depression benefit: If talking about how you feel is difficult, expressing yourself in a unique, creative way can help you get your emotions out. 

Social support and connection

Getting support from others can be a vital part of healing from depression. Here are some specific ways that can help you connect with people when you’re feeling low.

Start a gratitude practice with a friend

  • Example: Share one thing you’re grateful for with someone in your life.
  • How to do it: Ask a friend or other loved one to start a mutual gratitude practice with you. Text each other one thing you’re thankful for each day, even something seemingly small like having access to fresh water.
  • Potential depression benefit: This practice helps you re-focus on the positive aspects of your life, and doing it with someone else offers accountability. 

Challenge yourself to be around people

  • Example: Be in the presence of other people, even if interacting feels too difficult. 
  • How to do it: Spend some time in a public park, library, or coffee shop.
  • Potential depression benefit: It can be nice to feel connected to others, even if you’re not ready to talk about your depression. Being in a public space with people provides some healthy distraction and can help get you out of your head. 

Consider online support communities

  • Example: Join a virtual support group or use discussion boards to connect with others. 
  • How to do it: Check out the Depression and Bipolar Support Allicans website for tons of support group options. 
  • Potential depression benefit: Connecting with others who share similar experiences can be incredibly validating.

Lifestyle changes

While lifestyle changes alone aren’t a cure for depression, making some intentional shifts can help you begin feeling better.

Incorporate gentle movement

  • Example: Try some light walking or yoga.
  • How to do it: Walk around your neighborhood or follow along with a quick yoga tutorial (try this 10-minute yoga for depression flow if you’re not sure where to start).
  • Potential depression benefit: Research shows that exercise is an effective treatment for depression.

Make sure you’re eating

  • Example: Prioritize low-effort meals.
  • How to do it: Stock up on some frozen meals or grab-and-go options so you can get some nutrients in without having to use a lot of energy.
  • Potential depression benefit: Many people with depression struggle to complete tasks of daily living, including eating regularly. Having quick, easy options can help make it easier to feed yourself. 

Prioritize sleep hygiene

  • Example: Practice healthy sleep habits.
  • How to do it: Minimize blue light before bed (either by taking a break from your phone or turning “night mode” on), avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and try using your bed only for sleep (if you need to lay down throughout the day, try transitioning to the couch instead).
  • Potential depression benefit: Being depressed often comes along with sleep issues, like sleeping too much or too little. Practicing good sleep hygiene can help make your sleep more regular. 

Getting professional help

Since depression is a serious mental health issue, we always recommend seeking support from a professional. Here are a few ways to do so.

Work with a therapist

  • Example: Engage in regular therapy sessions for the best results. 
  • How to do it: Find a therapist through a Google search or by using online directories like ours. 
  • Potential depression benefit: Therapy can help you get to the root of your depression and find personalized strategies to cope. Plus, having the support of a trusted professional is invaluable. 

Formal support groups

  • Example: Try a therapist-led support group.
  • How to do it: Check with local therapy practices to see if they offer groups. Some hospitals or mental health organizations may also provide support groups or give referrals.
  • Potential depression benefit: With a more formal support group, you get the benefit of peer support and evidence-based therapy modalities.

The role of medication

  • Example: Consider medication if traditional talk therapy hasn’t worked in the past.
  • How to do it: Consult with your primary care provider and/or a psychiatrist in your area.
  • Potential depression benefit: While medication isn’t necessary to heal from depression, many people find it helpful. Sometimes, taking medication can help you increase your functioning enough to start implementing other strategies (like lifestyle changes or connecting with others) that can improve your depression.

Final thoughts

When you don’t want to be depressed anymore, it can be hard to know where to begin to feel better. Hopefully, the tips we’ve provided here can help you get started. While each of these strategies is relatively small, they can help you build momentum, and their benefits can compound over time.

Some of these tips came straight from my work with clients when I was a therapist. I saw firsthand how taking baby steps (which can feel like giant leaps when you’re depressed) helped them build meaning and purpose, both of which can be vital in depression recovery.

Though these strategies have helped real people, it’s important to remember that each person’s depression healing process is different. And while these tips can help, know that they aren’t a replacement for medical or mental health attention in a crisis. 

If you need crisis support, please call 988 or visit your local emergency room.

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Written by
Katelyn McMahon
Registered Psychotherapist, VT #097.0134200

Katelyn is a therapist-turned-writer with a passion for mental health. She has a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of England and is a Registered Psychotherapist in the state of Vermont. Katelyn has professional experience in aging care, addiction treatment, integrated health care, and private practice settings. She also has lived experience being on the client side of therapy. Currently, Katelyn is a content writer who’s passionate about spreading mental health awareness and helping other therapists and therapy-seekers Do The Work.

Reviewed by
Kristie Plantinga

Kristie Plantinga is the founder of Best Therapists. Along with being on the client-side of therapy, Kristie has had the honor of working directly with therapists in her marketing agency for therapists, TherapieSEO. While working alongside therapists, she learned about the inequities in our mental health system that therapists face on a daily basis, and she wanted to do something about it. That’s why Best Therapists is a platform designed to benefit not only therapy-seekers, but therapy providers. Kristie has a Masters degree in Written Communication and a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Music.

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Show sources and research articles
  1. National Insitute of Mental Health (2021). Major Depression. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression