Leading a Healthy Lifestyle

Depression can affect many different areas of your life. As a result, your doctor may recommend specific lifestyle changes that include exercise, nutrition and proper sleep. Another good idea may be to reach out to friends and family for support, as well as taking the time to be social with others.8,11

Engaging in Physical Activity11

Although it may be difficult to start, becoming more physically active may help you manage depression. Regular physical activity is related to improved mental and physical well-being. Recent research indicates that physically fit people are less vulnerable to depression, and that regular exercise can greatly reduce symptoms of depression for many people.

Exercise affects mood in four ways:11

  • It can produce an immediate elevation in mood after exercising in some people (during depression this effect may not occur)
  • After a few weeks of regular exercise (three to four times a week, at least 20 minutes at a time), a general improvement in mood tends to begin
  • Improvements in physical fitness are associated with improved energy, which can enable you to do more
  • Exercise can be a good way of “burning off” stress when you are feeling tense

A Healthy Diet11

Depression is an illness which tends to disrupt appetite. This is why maintaining a balanced diet can prove difficult. But, the potential positive effects of a healthy, balanced diet on overall health and even on depressive condition cannot be overlooked.

Improving Sleep11

Stress, anxiety and depression often have a disruptive effect on sleep, and poor sleep itself can exacerbate anxiety and depression. In other words, sleep disorders are both a cause and effect of mood disorders.

Limiting Alcohol Intake and Avoiding Drug Use (Cannabis or Other Drugs)11

The anguish experienced during depression can prompt the consumption of alcohol or other substances that trigger dependency (such as tobacco, cannabis, amphetamines and cocaine). Initially they may seem soothing, with a tranquilizing or calming effect, but these immediate effects are deceptive: the impression of improvement dissipates quickly and these substances become toxic.