Knowing where to begin on the road to recovery from depression can be overwhelming. This is certainly a normal feeling.
I think it's important to view recovery in steps or stages, otherwise you start to feel engulfed by it. Below I've listed 25 steps to help you move towards a new healthier you. The idea isn't that you try to do all of these at once.
Instead pick one or two, and repeat until they become part of your lifestyle. Then come back to the list and pick something else to work on, for however long you choose.
As I said last week, small steps are steps in the right direction, and steps in the right direction will help you move towards recovery!
Here are 25 steps to choose from:
#1 Find one person who you can trust, and talk to them about your feelings — perhaps a friend, counsellor, therapist, or religious minister.
#2 Have coffee with a friend once per week.
#3 Catch up with someone you haven't seen in a while, even if it's simply by sending an email.
#4 Make new friends by taking a class, such as painting, pottery, craft, or something active like hiking or swimming.
#5 Help someone by volunteering to take them grocery shopping, or offer to do some housework/ maintenance jobs for them.
#6 Get dressed every day.
#7 Spend some time outside enjoying a coffee or lunch, perhaps.
#8 Read a good book — why not check out New York Times Best-seller list,
or the Telegraph UK's 100 must read novels?
#9 Listen to music or a motivational ipod. iTunes have a great selection.
#10 Pamper yourself — take a long bath, get your hair cut, get a massage, etc.
#11 Try to get a healthy sleep schedule going — aim for 8 hours per night.
#12 Take your dog, or a neighbour's dog, for a short walk to the park.
#13 Find an exercise buddy, and meet up weekly to workout as a team.
#14 Join an exercise class — spinning, aerobics, Judo, etc.
#15 Aim for 3 meals everyday.
#16 Try to have breakfast each morning.
#17 Avoid too much sugar and refined carbs.
#18 Choose healthy, whole foods which are nutrient dense most of the time — nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads, lean meats, fish (especially oily fish), eggs, legumes.
#19 Take a multi-vitamin — ask your doctor for advice.
#20 Write in a "Gratitude Journal" — research from the University of California suggests that this is one of the most effective happiness boosters.
#21 Challenge negativity — a good question to ask when you think negatively about yourself is, "Would I say that about someone else?" If not, then you're probably being too hard on yourself.
#22 Replace negatives with positives — you might think, "I look bad today," a positive would be, "But, I like my eyes!"
#23 Learn how to relax — Pilates is a great option. You may also find deep breathing helpful. Check out this article on diaphragmatic breathing.
#24 Give yourself a break — try not to beat yourself up every time when things don't go to plan.
#25 Believe in yourself — you can achieve whatever you set your mind to do. Remember, small steps and you'll get there.
Melanie Thomassian is a registered dietitian and author of Dietriffic.com. She has a passion for helping others live a healthier lifestyle, follow her healthy eating blog.