Mental Health Tips

Coping with Depression

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Depression can refer to having depressed mood for at least 2 weeks. A person may feel sad for a short while, but sadness alone is different from a diagnosis of depression. Below are some symptoms of depression. Which of these apply to you?

Thinking or Feeling:
  • Feeling down, blue
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless about the future
  • Low concentration, energy or motivation
Daily Function:
  • Over or Under-eating
  • Over or Under Sleeping
  • Difficulty Getting out of bed
Social Challenges:
  • Loss of interest in previously fun activities
  • Socially isolating from friends or family
  • Avoiding leaving your room or home


Coping Tips For Feeling Depressed:

  • Tell your doctor about your depressed feelings. (Asking for help is key to managing depressed feelings).
  • Practice positive self-talk. (Repeat sentences like these to yourself: “I choose to focus on what I can control;” “I can and I will do things to promote healing in my life;” “I can handle this one step at a time;” “I choose hope.”)

    Now you make up your own positive, reassurance sentence you can tell yourself when you feel depressed.
  • Distract yourself from depressed thoughts or feelings by taking action. Specifically, when you catch yourself feeling depressed, tell yourself this: “Now I am going to do some productive activity so I have something else to focus on.”


Helpful Activities:

  •  Exercise (Even exercising for 5 minutes a day is better than 0 minutes per day. Consider these: fast walking; jogging; taking a bike ride; doing jumping jacks; lifting weights; shooting hoops; kicking a soccer ball around; doing push-ups; dancing in your room; or others.)

    Which of these would you be most willing to agree to trying once in the next week?
  • Get organized. (Organizing schoolwork, a garage, a bedroom closet, the kitchen, etc. can distract you from negative thoughts and feelings, give you something concrete and productive to focus on, and make you feel more in control and organized overall.)

    If you had to organize something this week, what is something that could use organizing in your life?
  • Make a gratitude list. (Feeling depressed is hard, in part, because the feelings make you focus on the negative and forget about the positive. Trying to refocus on the positive can improve your mood. Write down 5 things you are grateful for in your life. They could be little things or big things.)

    If you had to choose the one thing you are most grateful for in life, what would that be?
  • Get proper sleep. (Sleep is one of the most important ways we keep our mood regulated. Try to set your bedtime and wake-up time for the same times each day. Turn off your phone one hour before bedtime because screens otherwise keep your brain awakened. Practice calming sleep rituals a half-hour before you want to fall asleep, including reading, meditating, listening to calming music, etc.)

    Which sleep hygiene practices can you start implementing this week?


For more information about depression, you can schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.