Helping Yourself
Cope with Depression

Everyone has sad days. Everyone has times when things are really tough. Here are some suggestions to help deal with the bad days. If you find that these suggestions don't reduce the severity your symptoms, please consult with your doctor to create a more personalized treatment plan.

Don't stay in bed

It's best to get up and get on with a normal routine as soon as possible—go to work, school or university and meet friends or family. If you work or study at home, it may help to go outside for a while and do some physical activity like walking to get the newspaper. Avoid napping during the day, as it upsets your "body clock" and makes it harder to fall asleep at night.

Catch up with friends

When people get depressed, they often don't feel like socialising, but it's important to continue to talk to your family and friends. Talk to them on the phone or meet for a coffee or a movie. When you remain isolated, your risk of developing depression increases.

Keep active

Plan to do at least one enjoyable activity every day. This may be reading, listening to music, watching movies, going to the beach, gardening, taking part in sport or seeing friends. Regular activities are an important way for you to maintain good mental and physical health. At first, finding the activities enjoyable may be a challenge, but persistence is the key.

Exercise physiologists are people who have an understanding of how exercising affects the body and mind. They can help people get motivated, develop an individual exercise plan and stay on track. Their fee may also be subsidised by Medicare.

Learn to manage stress

Take time out. Go for a walk, play sports or take up meditation.

Stress can affect how you breathe and cause muscle tension. Breathing quickly and having tense muscles can, in turn, make you feel more stressed. You can stop this vicious cycle by learning and practising new breathing and muscle relaxation techniques.

Keep your eyes open

If you notice symptoms of depression, it's important to act early. For more information, please read the additional pages in this section of the site.