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Mindful : February 2018
First steps to take when you’re depressed When a depressive episode strikes, we need a personalized action plan to help stabilize and elevate mood. Here are some ways you might start taking care of yourself. SELF-CARE Seek help “Recognize that you’re dealing with a legitimate condition that requires care,” says Zindel Segal. “Many people see depression as a personal inadequacy, which is actually one of its symptoms.” See your doctor and ask for treatment. You may be prescribed antidepressant medication and/or referred to a therapist, who can help create a treatment plan tailored to you and your circumstances. Do something pleasurable every morning “This might be something like taking a long warm shower or bath, or getting up and making that first cup of coffee or tea,” says Susan Woods. “Mornings can be really difficult when you’re depressed, so make sure that you get out of bed and do something that usually gives you pleasure.” Do something each day that brings a sense of accomplishment “Washing the dishes, doing the grocery run—these kinds of activities can really help give a sense of accomplishment,” explains Woods. “Just do one of them rather than making a whole list.” See a friend at least twice a week “Social isolation can happen quickly,” says Woods, “so reaching out to a dear friend and making an appointment to see them can bridge that.” Get some fresh air “Going for a walk, especially in nature, can be helpful,” says Segal, “because it can pull people out of rumination.” Exer- cise has been shown to have antidepres- sant proper ties; some therapists even go on walks with their patients rather than sitting in the consulting room. February 2018 mindful 47