Self help for depression
Written by Alison Ralph Updated 24 August 2021
Do you want to know more about self help techniques for depression? Are you trying to control it before seeking medication or help yourself alongside medication? Read on to find out more about how you can help yourself when experiencing depression.
According to the NHS, ‘depression is a low mood which can last a long time or keep returning, affecting your everyday life’.
The symptoms for depression range from mild to severe and you may experience lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, as well as feelings of anxiety. Other symptoms can be feeling constantly tired, various aches and pains, sleeping badly and no appetite or sex drive.
Considering it is a very common mental health condition, depression is misunderstood by many. Many people suffer in silence or with very little support from those around them. When depression is mild, lifestyle choices may be able to help you and it can sometimes be the small changes which make the big difference!
When we exercise, serotonin and endorphins are released in the brain and this triggers the growth of new brain cells and connections. Exercise also helps us to feel achievement, may get us outdoors and activates a different part of the brain to what we may have been using all day. Any form of exercise can be useful so if its just taking a stroll around the block or a spin class at the gym, it all makes a difference.
Sleep has a huge affect on mood and if you are not getting enough, it can worsen depression. To ensure good sleep, take a look at information about sleep hygiene using this link:
You can also find information on by clicking on the insomnia page of my website Insomnia – Alison Ralph (alisonralph-therapy.co.uk)
People who are experiencing depression often cut off from social contact as they find it hard to be around others and exhausting to communicate, however it is important to have contact with others for support and company. Surround yourself with people who are understanding and supportive as this can really help to improve your condition.
Stress only makes depression worse and so it is important to look at the factors in your life which are causing you stress. Can you make changes to lessen this stress? This could be relationships, work or anything in daily life. You may not be successful in eliminating all stress but reducing it is equally useful!
If you are unsure where the feelings of stress are coming from it might be useful to write a daily diary for a week recording information such as, movement, work, relationships, sleep, food and drink. After each day decide on how stressed you felt with a scale of 1-10 and identify any issues you can resolve.
Self-hypnosis can help to lessen the feelings of depression because it works around relaxation. When you allow your body to go into a relaxed state it helps to reduce stress and anxiety, thus helping us to feel light a weight has been lifted.
When in hypnosis the subconscious mind can be accessed and patterns of behaviour and thought processes can be changed.
To find out more about learning self hypnosis,
Good self-care can be helpful when you are feeling depressed. Often we don’t make time to focus on us or keeping our mind healthy, but good self-care can help you to do that. It can release the feel good hormones as well as prioritising you!
People often think of going to the salon for a manicure or paying for a massage but what if you are unable to afford those things? There are many different ways to practise good self-care and these include, talking a walk in nature, listening to a different radio station for a change or using an affirmation. Find a couple of things that work well for you and stick with them. If you would like some other ideas you can buy 100 days of self-care from my products page. In here you will find 100 different ways look after yourself and release those feel good hormones. Order yours today and notice the difference it makes!
Order yours here: 100 Days of self-care
Each of these suggestions may not help each and every person but you may find, as some of my clients have, that just one change can make a huge difference to your feelings of depression. When you are struggling with a mental health condition, whether mild or severe it is important to find out what will work for you and help you to feel better. Each idea I have given on this page are ideas that you can try to help with any feelings of long lasting low mood.
Remember, if you are worried about yourself or somebody else, it is important to contact your doctor who can help to diagnose and advise.
If you are reading this blog and feel you need some immediate support the below phone numbers are useful.
- Samaritans (08457 90 90 90) operates a 24-hour service available every day of
the year. If you prefer to write down how you are feeling, or if you are worried
about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK.
Calls are free and the number will not show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation that supports teenagers
and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Remember: It’s OK not to be ok and seeking help is NOT a weakness!