Take control of depression

Get active again

When someone is feeling depressed they often don't feel like doing things or find it hard to decide what to do. This can create more negative and critical feelings. One way of breaking this vicious cycle is to gradually start doing the right mix of activities again.

  • Don't try to do too much too soon at first. Start with one task and break it up into chunks if necessary.
  • Build up activities gradually.
  • Include some exercise, relaxation techniques and social activities.
  • Be mindful while you are doing the activities – try to live in the moment and not in your thoughts.
  • Record your mood after the activities.
  • Review how you have done at the end of the week and give yourself credit for what you have achieved.

Use the 'List of activities' sheet to make lists of different activities that you would like to do – include a balance of enjoyable and routine (everyday) activities as well tasks that are necessary like paying bills.

List of activities sheet

You can then use the 'Activity plan' sheet to plan some of these activities into your week.

Activity plan

Create Worry time

One way of taking control of worrying is to start monitoring your worries during the day and actually create a daily Worry time in order to try and tackle them.

Set aside a time each day for Worry time (about 15 minutes). Find a time that works best for you. Some people who worry a lot at night can find it helpful to have Worry time in the morning, for example. This means they can delay their worrying until the morning which can help them get to sleep. Other people find a time in the evening is ideal.

When you find yourself worrying during the day you can use the Worry time list to make a record of any worries (or record them on your phone if you prefer). After making a note of each worry delay them until Worry time and remember to re-focus your thoughts back to the present moment.

Worry time list

You can use the Worry tree sheet to decide whether your worries are practical problems which need to be tackled or hypothetical worries which you need to let go of.

The Worry tree

During Worry time you can work through the hypothetical worries you have recorded in your Worry time list. You may find that some worries have gone away or don't seem so important now.

You can use this list of helpful tips to work through and challenge any hypothetical worries.

Helpful tips for Worry time

Be determined to stop thinking about these worries after the 15 minutes is over.

Make sure you follow Worry time with an activity that will lift your mood such as listening to music, watching a favourite TV programme or going for a run.

Any worries that come up after Worry time can be recorded on a new list to be considered in your next Worry time. Complete the Worry time list for about two weeks and review your progress using the Helpful tips for Worry time sheet.

Any practical problems you have identified can be tackled using the Seven step problem-solving technique. This technique can help you find and work through possible solutions.

Seven step problem-solving technique

Create a toolbox of positive thoughts

Create a toolbox which can help boost your mood whenever you find yourself feeling low.

Make lists of:

  • Things you like about yourself.
  • Successes and achievements.
  • Things you are grateful for.
  • Good experiences.
  • Compliments.
  • Self-help techniques that work for you.

Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost – a walk in nature, playing with a pet, a craft activity.

Include in your box some upbeat music, a funny movie, a favourite book and photographs that make you feel happy.

Write a note to remind yourself that how you are feeling now will pass – 'It will pass'.

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