Let’s face it, depression is really good at zapping your energy and making simple tasks feel hard. Everyday activities like going to work, doing the dishes or getting out of bed almost feel impossible. But these 11 little things can help in coping with depression. 

Why is coping with depression so hard? 

As depression can often leave you feeling empty and exhausted, it makes it hard to find the strength to take the steps you need to feel better. 

Depression is kind of weird — the things that feel the hardest to do are actually the things that help the most.  

The key is to start small and take it one step at a time. Even though it might be really hard at first, it’s not impossible. By trying these little but positive things regularly, over time, you will find yourself starting to feel better. 

coping with depression: person in a hoodie looking really upset

11 tips for coping with depression:

Take care of a pet (or plant) 

Regular snuggles with a furry friend can actually help relieve depression. So take this opportunity to cuddle up with a pet or even take them on a walk. If you don’t have a pet, you could always volunteer at an animal shelter or even get a few plants and enjoy your new status as a plant parent.

Go for a walk

Soak up some vitamin D and get those feet moving. Getting outside might feel hard at first, but it can actually help your mood and mental health. You can start with something as simple as a walk around the block. Over time, you can push yourself further like going for walks around your city or even checking out some hiking trails. But for now, start nice and slow.

Do things you used to enjoy 

A common symptom of depression is no longer wanting to do the activities you used to love. As hard as it is, try to get back into an old activity or hobby you used to do. If you used to paint, make a painting. If you loved baking before, whip up some cookies. It might feel exhausting at first, but taking this small step can make a big difference.

Stay connected

When dealing with depression, you’re probably tempted to pull back and talk with family and friends less and less. Even if it might feel exhausting to reach out or you might feel like you’re burdening them with your problems, try to stay connected because they are there to support you. You’re not alone and you’re not a burden.

Do it in parts 

Another tip for coping with depression is not tackling the whole thing all at once. Try to break it down. Instead of trying to clean the whole house today, just strive to cross vacuuming off your list. Instead of writing the whole essay, just work on the introduction. By breaking it down into chunks, it feels a little more manageable. 

Celebrate the wins

Sometimes when you’re dealing with depression, it’s hard to focus on the positives when there’s this voice in your head screaming that you’re worthless (FYI that voice is wrong, you’re amazing). So on those bad days when you didn’t get a whole lot done, celebrate what you DID do. Like maybe you didn’t tackle that essay today, but hey, you ate something and had a shower. That’s worth acknowledging and celebrating. 

Get moving

Who wants to exercise when you feel like this? It’s exhausting! As crazy as it sounds, research shows that your energy levels will improve when you start exercising regularly. If you’re struggling to find that workout motivation, try to recruit a workout buddy, take a fitness class or even sign up for an intramural sport.

Start a routine

When you’re depressed, having a routine is so important. Often with depression, your schedule gets stripped away and all the days start to blur together. So building a routine, no matter how small and simple at first, can help you get back on the right track and make a real difference in the long run.

Volunteer

When you’re completely drained and exhausted, the last thing you probably want to do is make your way to a soup kitchen. But when you give back to the community, it can actually help you find a sense of meaning, reduce your stress and improve your mental health. Turns out, helping others can help you too.

Journal

Sometimes when you’re dealing with depression, a good coping tool is to journal. Write out all the negative thoughts swirling in your mind. Then challenge these thoughts. Some questions you can ask yourself include:

  • What evidence do you have for/against this thought?
  • Is there another way to look at this situation?
  • Would you treat a friend like that?

When you start challenging these thoughts, you will quickly see how wrong and quite frankly, mean, these thoughts really are.

Reach out

Even though all these other little things can be helpful when coping with depression, it also might be worth looking into therapy. Whether you’re looking to start antidepressants or just need someone to talk to, there’s no shame in reaching out and asking for help.

Final thoughts on coping with depression

Dealing with depression is exhausting. But with these 11 little things, it will be a little easier to cope and relieve your depression symptoms. Even though it’s hard, at the end of the day, taking these little steps can really help.