Depression is an all too common problem that affects millions of people across the US. Common treatments involve therapy and a variety of medications. However, there are some things you can do on your own to help manage this often-debilitating condition. Here are the top four things you can do at home to help yourself cope with depression:


Exercising regularly is essential in managing anxiety, stress, and depression. Depression often manifests itself physically via reduced energy, reduced appetite, body aches, disturbed sleep, and increased pain perception. However, when you exercise, the body increases the production of dopamine (a feel-good hormone) that makes exercise very effective in managing feelings of depression.

Seek Help from People You are Close To

If you feel depressed, consider seeking help from close friends, colleagues, and family members. Usually when someone is depressed they seek isolation. It is better to seek help, because managing the condition is easier with help. While feelings of shame, exhaustion, and guilt can make it difficult to reach out, making the effort to take part in social activities and stay connected with other people will improve your mood. Remind yourself that you should not feel guilty or ashamed, because your friends and family love you regardless of what you are suffering from right now.

Manage Your Stress

Did you know that stress can worsen your depression? Stress is common, because we all have life problems every now and then. Unfortunately, these common everyday stressors can make depression even more unbearable. Try to avoid situations that cause you stress. This may require you to temporarily minimize contact with people and situations that stress you out. You should also reward yourself in some small way every time you do something difficult, so that the pleasure of the reward counteracts the harmful effects of the stress.

Make Yourself Enjoy Yourself

Life should be fun, and you have a right to enjoy yourself. Depression makes it difficult to even try to enjoy yourself, though. However, just because you are not well does not mean that your need to enjoy yourself sometimes is any less. When you are depressed, it is more important than ever to deliberately go out and do fun things, even when you feel like you won't enjoy them. It can be difficult to push yourself during your down times, but doing so can be very rewarding. You might be surprised by the results you will get in the long run. 

The key is to set small goals that are easy to attain. Remember, you might not get immediate results, but patience is the key. In time, you should get positive results from doing things that you used to enjoy. You can choose to play a favorite sport, pursue a hobby, or even express yourself via music, writing, or art. Spending time outdoors, going to the ballpark, visiting a museum, or even just going shopping can all have a positive impact on the way you feel.

A Final Word

Finally, if you are experiencing extreme depression and nothing helps, consider seeking professional help. There is no shame in doing so. We all need help at some time in our lives. An experienced, educated professional can help you do the things your depression won't let you do for yourself.