Man hiking

Tips for preventing and managing depression.

Fighting depression takes a whole new set of skills. You have to be patient, be easy on yourself, and stick with recovery even when you don’t believe you’ll reach it.

Here are some of the things I use to help prevent and manage depression:

Start with the basics

When I notice my mood beginning to drop, I shore up my defenses. I make time to eat well, exercise, sleep well and stay in contact with friends. Nothing fancy here, but these are the basic building blocks of my recovery and good health.

Going for a walk or hike

I enjoy being in nature, immersing myself in the calm of the forest, and getting away from busy city life. Hiking is great exercise as well and it’s become a good way for my brother and I to stay connected. Even short hikes count, as half an hour of regular exercise can help keep depression at bay.

Make time to laugh

Whether it’s meeting up with a friend or watching some of my favourite shows, both work as they provide a break from thinking about my health. The power of laughter in fighting depression is often under-appreciated.

Yoga

Yoga is a great workout and includes a lot of the skills I’ve learned in mindfulness and stress management (staying in the present, deep breathing, being aware, and acknowledging the way I feel).

Talking about it

Often, things that feel completely overwhelming in my mind don’t seem as bad when I try to explain them to someone else.  Even a few words, like admitting “I’ve been super stressed lately”, can help take the edge off.

Reminding myself how far I’ve come

When I hit a stumbling block, I remind myself that six years ago I almost lost my life to depression. I remember the pain I was in for those worst few months and think of how much better I am now. I know I’ve gotten better before, I know this isn’t as bad, and I now have the skills and knowledge of what works best for me.

Find what works for you and as you start to feel better work these strategies into your regular schedule. Combining things that bring together healthy eating, physical activity, and staying social (while allowing you to get good sleep) will help maximize your time by fighting depression on many fronts.

 

Josh, Project Coordinator for HeadsUpGuys Watch Josh’s recovery story video.

HeadsUpGuys is a website specifically designed to help fight depression in men. Our site features practical tips, information about professional services and stories of recovery. It also has a self-check that can help determine whether or not depression may be affecting you.