ManHealth "Time to Listen" logo

Connect with Us

Lifestyle changes: an essential part of depression treatment

Lifestyle changes are simple but powerful tools in treating depression. Sometimes they might be all you need. Even if you need other treatment, lifestyle changes go a long way towards helping lift depression; they can help keep depression at bay once you are feeling better.

Lifestyle changes that can treat depression

Exercise

Exercise is a powerful depression fighter and one of the most important tools in your recovery arsenal.

Read Now

Peer Support

All too often men with depression tend to isolate themselves because they don’t want to feel like they are a burden on others.

Read Now

Sleep

Sleep has a strong effect on mood. When you don't get enough sleep, your depression symptoms will be worse.

Read Now

Stress reduction

Too much stress exacerbates depression and puts you at risk for future depression.

Read Now

Sunlight

Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood.

Read Now

What you eat

What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel.

Read Now

Depression treatment tips


Learn as much as you can about your depression

It’s important to determine whether your depression symptoms are due to an underlying medical condition. If so, that condition will need to be treated first. The severity of your depression is also a factor. The more severe the depression, the more intensive the treatment you're likely to need.


It takes time to find the right treatment.

It might take some trial and error to find the treatment and support that works best for you. For example, if you decide to pursue therapy it may take a few attempts to find a therapist that you really click with. Or you may try an antidepressant, only to find that you don't need it if you take a daily half hour walk. Be open to change and a little experimentation.


Don’t rely on medications alone

Although medication can relieve the symptoms of depression, it is not usually suitable for long-term use. Other treatments, including exercise and therapy, can be just as effective as medication, often even more so, but don't come with unwanted side effects. If you do decide to try medication, remember that medication works best when you make healthy lifestyle changes as well.


Get social support

The more you cultivate your social connections, the more protected you are from depression. If you are feeling stuck, don’t hesitate to talk to trusted family members or friends, or seek out new connections at a depression support group, for example. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness and it won’t mean you’re a burden to others. Often, the simple act of talking to someone face-to-face can be an enormous help.


Treatment takes time and commitment

All of these depression treatments take time, and sometimes it might feel overwhelming or frustratingly slow. That is normal. Recovery usually has its ups and downs.


Depression self-assessment

This is for information only and is not intended to replace a consultation with a GP. The PHQ was developed by Drs Robert L Spitzer, Janet B.W. Williams, Kurt Kroenke and colleagues with a grant from Pfizer Inc. Reproduced with permission.

content provided by NHS Choices
To keep in touch with your mates sign up