woman coping with depression by exercising

5 Activities to Help with Your Depression

By Nina Bradshaw is a professionally qualified social worker and therapist in the UK. She earned a Master's Degree in Personality Disorder Studies, a Master's Degree in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and a Master's Degree in Sociology/Social Policy/Social Work.

Sober Recovery Expert Author

woman coping with depression by exercising

Depression is a drag. It saps us of energy, leaving us drained and lethargic, and makes us lose motivation in almost everything we do. When we are depressed, even getting out of bed and getting dressed can seem like too much effort.

We often tell ourselves in depression that we will resume all the activities we once enjoyed after we feel better. The paradox is that taking part in the activity actually begins to shift our depression. Even though we really don’t feel like doing anything, the very thing that will make us feel better is, in fact, doing things.

Depression can really get you down and stop you from doing things you once enjoyed. These useful hints get you active and ready to shake off that depression.

Okay, so it’s hard to force ourselves to action when our heart’s not in it but starting with a list of fun activities is a step in the right direction. Once you have some ideas in the open, you’ll be more motivated to do them.

Here are five activities you can try to lift the cloud of depression:

1. Walking

Walking is such a simple activity yet it can make all the difference in your mood. Going out for a walk into the country side or perhaps taking a morning stroll in the park can provide numerous benefits. An added bonus is you can be out in nature and this in itself can make you feel happier.

2. Yoga

Yoga is another low-impact activity that has a huge effect on your mood. The stretches ease your aching muscles and joints while breathing exercises and meditation can take you out of your low mood. These simple moves shake you free from the misery of depression, if even for a short time.

3. Sports

Whether it’s soccer or softball, running around and losing yourself in an intense physical activity is a great way to release endorphins and feel alive and energized.

4. An Exercise Class

Zumba or aqua fit has the physical aspect that gives you a buzz but it also gives you an opportunity to spend time with other people, so you don’t feel so isolated.

5. Dancing

Put on your favorite artist or band and let loose! Listening to music can lift you out of your depression by moving to the rhythm and releasing tension.

There are plenty of other activities to go from here. The important thing to remember is to just do something--especially during moments when you feel the exact opposite.

If you’re coming up with your own activities, remember to choose ones that have no negative associations. You can even try a new activity every day until you find your groove. You’ll be surprised how something that structures your time and gives you a sense of purpose can make such a big difference to your mood.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from depression, please visit our directory of depression treatment centers or call 800-891-8171 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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