Tips And Skills

Recovery is possible; many men have fought through and overcome depression.

This section of HeadsUpGuys, consisting of five parts as described below, focuses on depression management and recovery strategies we can implement on our own – when we want, how we want, and at a pace that works for us.

Working on ourselves is fundamental to fighting depression. No matter how much support we get from others, no one can help us get better without us first helping ourselves. We need to be our strongest advocate for better health and a better future, and be persistent in our efforts toward recovery.

Fighting depression on many fronts

Depression has far-reaching effects, influencing not only our mood, but also our thoughts, sleep, appetite, energy levels, social life, and much more.

Depression can also drag us into many self-destructive cycles. For example, when we’re feeling down and tired, we often isolate ourselves socially, then we get stuck ruminating on how lonely and disconnected we feel, which tends to keep us up at night and interfere with our sleep. The next day, we may wake up feeling worse than the day before and the cycle repeats.

Instead of getting caught in these vicious cycles, we need to get better at recognizing them and redirecting ourselves toward more healthy thoughts and habits.

Fortunately, each symptom of depression (e.g., poor sleep, change in appetite, negative thoughts) also offers an avenue to fight back against it, and working on one area will help improve others.

When fighting depression, try to keep in mind the following:

  • Don’t compare ourselves to others or what we could do in the past
  • Treat ourselves like we would treat a friend
  • Think about treating depression the same way we would treat a physical illness or injury like diabetes, high blood pressure, or rehabilitating from a fractured leg
  • Make sure we give ourselves credit for any efforts we make toward recovery

Getting through depression – practical tips, proven results

All of the tips and strategies on HeadsUpGuys are derived from evidence-based research, combined with input from doctors, therapists, and men who have fought and overcome depression.

Many of the strategies we recommend are mentioned in the over 100 depression recovery stories we’ve collected from men who have shared their personal stories with us.

Roadmap to Recovery

Depression can leave us feeling lost and overwhelmed. Our Roadmap to Recovery provides a guide to the recovery process that can help us gather our footing and regain a sense of direction.

We may be tempted to look for quick fixes, but the goal in treating depression should be steady, long-term improvement. As we progress, stumbling blocks will become less frequent and take less time to bounce back from.

This page includes an outline of what the recovery process can look like, tips on building new habits and routines, and inspiring stories from men who have fought similar battles and recovered – demonstrating that we can successfully fight depression too. 

The Essentials

Living a healthier, more active, and socially engaged and connected life can make a huge impact in the fight against depression.

This part of the site includes pages on sleep, food, physical activity, social life, as well as sex and relationships, that we can start working on right away.

Each page includes information on how the topic is connected to depression, practical tips for common issues, and long-term strategies to forge lasting results.

These areas form the basic building blocks for a healthy life and working on them is a great first step to improving our mental health.

Stress Management

Depression compromises our ability to manage stress. We may find ourselves over-reacting to stressful situations, thinking less clearly, and feeling more easily overwhelmed.

This can fuel negative thoughts (like ‘I shouldn’t be this stressed’ or ‘I need to man up’) that add further pressure and self-criticism, making us feel even worse.

This part of the site goes over general tips for managing and preventing stress, as well as providing articles and tips to help manage specific stressors that men commonly encounter.

Negative Thinking

When depressed, our thoughts often shift to being more pessimistic and assuming worst case scenarios. Overcoming depression thus includes working on ways to tackle negative thoughts that contribute to and sustain depression. This is a crucial part of the recovery process.

For many guys, a pivotal turning point in fighting depression is when we start to see just how untrue and unrealistic our thoughts have become.

This part of the site focuses on noticing and identifying negative thoughts, while providing different strategies to manage and reduce them.

Suicidal Thoughts

Suicidal thoughts are common with depression and having them does not mean all is lost.  On the contrary, many men who have thought about suicide, and even those who have tried to end their lives, have been able to recover from depression.

Whether we are fantasizing about suicide without intent or actively considering harming ourselves, know that there are ways to stop these thoughts.

This part of the site outlines strategies for managing suicidal thoughts and for reaching out for support.

Building Your Support Team

Self-help is essential to fighting depression, but it’s only one piece of the bigger recovery picture. Reaching out to others (family, friends, a doctor, and/or a mental health professional) for support – building your support team – is essential for recovering from depression and maintaining good health. In fact, it’s often the major turning point in many guys’ roads to recovery.