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9 Tips to Speed Your Recovery From Depression

"Sleep: Establish a regular sleep/wake cycle routine; don’t take your troubles to bed—establish a soothing pre-sleep routine (soft music, meditation, reading, relaxing in a warm bath); a glass of warm milk really can help (it contains chemicals that aid in falling asleep); no caffeine (coffee, tea, colas) at night; no sweets after dinner (your body and mind don’t need an energy boost before bedtime); no meals just before bedtime (your body will expend resources digesting the food instead of replenishing chemicals needed by your brain for your next day’s activities); no naps during the day.

Keep the room temperature at a comfortable level—neither too hot, nor too cold. Use gentle exercise to produce fatigue before sleep. Avoid heavy exercise before bedtime. Restrict fluid intake before bedtime to reduce awakening for trips to the bathroom.

Avoid using the bedroom for watching television, doing paperwork, eating or other activities. Bedrooms should be used only for sleeping and sexual activities.

If sleep does not occur after 30 minutes in bed, get up and engage in a quiet activity until sleepy again. A brief, slow walk may be helpful.

Nutrition: Six small healthy meals spaced throughout the day are better than three (or especially two) large meals. Regularly spaced nutritional meals helps the brain keep a steady pace. Good nutrition aids clear thinking, problem solving and provides your body with necessary chemicals and vitamins.

Fun: 30 minutes a day. Laugh, play, read, play games, play with the kids or pets, color, paint, play music, see a movie...

Rest and Relaxation: More fun, just quieter. Music, guided imagery, meditation, controlled breathing, sitting on the front porch watching the world go by...

Physical exercise: Exercise encourages the production of endorphins and serotonin. Daily light exercise is very beneficial. 30 minutes a day. Walk, use stairs, bike, swim, vigorous yard work, dance, yoga...

Spiritual exercise: 15 minutes daily. Walk in the woods, prayer, meditation, write in a gratitude journal, yoga, tai chi...

Positive thinking: Consciously and consistently give yourself credit; acknowledge your successes and the hard work you are doing; say affirmations; encourage yourself; don’t dwell on your mistakes and failures—learn from them and resolve to do better tomorrow; challenge errors in thinking with rational, objective truths.

B-Complex vitamin: Take one timed release tablet at breakfast or lunch (with food) for energy, to fight stress.

Start a journal: Take 5-10 minutes and write about your day, your feelings or anything else that comes to mind."


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