Managing depression and anxiety
There's lots of support out there to help you manage your depression or anxiety.
Talking to people who know what it’s like
Being open and talking to people who are dealing with depression and anxiety can help with:
Your GP might be able to refer to:
- local befriending groups - meet a trained volunteer and do something enjoyable together
- peer support worker - someone with depression and anxiety who can help you access services
Organisations that can help you get talking
The mental health charity Mind has a full list of organisations to contact if you have anxiety.
Mind also runs the Mind blog where people post their experiences.
Being active for 20 minutes a day helps
Exercise releases chemicals in your brain called endorphins which lift your mood.
Ask your GP for a prescription for exercise. They can discuss exercise that is best for you and may even help get reduced rates for the use of local centres.
There are many ways you can be active
Exercise can be anything that gets you slightly out of breath, for example:
- Fast walking - try walking part or all the way to work
- Taking the stairs
- gardening - find a gardening project in your area or work outside with Green Gym
Keeping in touch with people
Keeping in touch with people can feel difficult when you feel depressed or anxious. Facing your fears is an important part of managing your condition every day.
Try to talk to friends and family regularly and meet up with them whenever possible.
Volunteering can also be a good way to meet people.
Noticing the things around you
The way we think affects the way we feel. Paying more attention to the present moment can help you feel better.
Every day try to take a moment to stand back and notice:
- what you’re thinking
- how you’re feeling
- what’s happening around you
Try not to think of anything else.
This is called ‘mindfulness’. It can help you notice signs of stress, anxiety or depression earlier and deal with them better.
Things like yoga, breathing exercises and meditation can also help you being more aware.
What you eat can affect how you feel
When your body is healthy, it helps you feel better about yourself.
Try not to skip meals and drink lots of fluids (preferably water).
Every day try to eat:
- fruit and vegetables
- starchy foods, like pasta, rice or bread
- protein foods, like lean meat, fish, beans, cheese, nuts or yogurt
Alcohol can make depression worse
Try not to drink too much alcohol.
Men and women shouldn't drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week and have at least 2 alcohol free days in a week.
14 units of alcohol is equivalent to 6 pints of average strength beer or 10 glasses of low strength wine.
To work out how many units are in a drink, use Alcohol Concern's unit calculator.