How to Get Out of a Depressive Episode: Practical Steps to Regain Your Emotional Balance

Dealing with a depressive episode can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. If you or someone you know is going through this difficult phase, it’s essential to remember that there is hope and help available. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore effective strategies for how to get out of a depressive episode and regain emotional balance. 

Please note that these suggestions are not a substitute for professional medical advice, and if you’re experiencing severe or persistent symptoms of depression, it’s crucial to seek assistance from a qualified healthcare professional.

woman having depressive episode at work

Understanding Depressive Episodes

Before we dive into the steps of how to get out of a depressive episode, let’s briefly understand what it entails. A depressive episode is a period characterized by intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can affect anyone, and the triggers may vary from person to person. Common symptoms include:

  • Persistent sadness or low mood
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Seek Support and Professional Help

The first and most crucial step in how to get out of a depressive episode is reaching out for support. Isolation can exacerbate feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Talk to your friends or family about what you’re going through, as opening up about your emotions can be cathartic. Additionally, consider seeking help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, who can provide valuable insights and coping strategies.

Make Positive Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle adjustments can significantly impact your mental well-being. While they may not be a cure for depression, they can help alleviate symptoms and improve your overall mood. Consider incorporating the following practices into your daily routine:

Regular Exercise

Engaging in physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, which act as natural mood boosters. Immerse yourself in activities you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, yoga, or dancing. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Healthy Diet

Nourishing your body with nutrient-rich foods can influence your emotional state positively. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your meals, and limit sugary and processed foods.

Adequate Sleep

Make sleep a top priority and set up a regular sleep routine. Lack of sleep can exacerbate depressive symptoms, so aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep (without interruptions) each night.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Practicing mindfulness and meditation in your daily routine can help you stay present and reduce rumination on negative thoughts. Consider incorporating mindfulness exercises into your daily routine.

woman meditating through a depressive episode by a lake

Limit Alcohol and Substance Use

While it may be tempting to turn to alcohol or substances for temporary relief, they can worsen depressive symptoms in the long run. Limit your consumption or avoid them altogether.

Engage in Activities You Enjoy

Depression often leads to a loss of interest in activities that once brought joy. Counteract this by making a list of activities you used to enjoy and gradually reintroduce them into your routine. Engaging in hobbies or investing time with your loved ones can offer a profound sense of purpose and pleasure.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

Depression often involves negative thought patterns that can distort your perception of reality. Practice recognizing these negative thoughts and challenge them with evidence that contradicts them. Consider seeking help from a therapist to learn cognitive-behavioral techniques.

Create a Supportive Environment

Surround yourself with a network of supportive and empathetic individuals who can offer encouragement and empathy during your journey to recovery. Minimize contact with people who may contribute to feelings of negativity or stress.

Set Realistic Goals

During a depressive episode, even small tasks can feel overwhelming. Break your goals into smaller, achievable steps, and celebrate each accomplishment along the way. Remember that progress, no matter how small, is still progress.

practicing self compassion

Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself during this challenging time. Avoid self-criticism and practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same level of understanding and empathy that you would offer to a friend.

While overcoming a depressive episode may seem like an uphill battle, it’s crucial to remember that with the right support, self-care, and professional help, you can find your way back to emotional balance. Reach out for support, make positive lifestyle changes, engage in activities that bring you joy, challenge negative thoughts, and create a nurturing environment. 

Remember that healing takes time, and it’s okay to seek help along the way. With determination and resilience, you can emerge stronger from this challenging experience and embrace a brighter future.

Looking for ways to support your loved ones through a depressive episode? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Self-Screening Tool: Check out our website’s Self-Screening Tool, a free and anonymous “checkup for your neck up,” designed for yourself or your loved ones.
  • Mental Health First Aid (MHFA): Join our regular free Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) classes to learn how to recognize signs of behavioral health issues and respond effectively.
  • Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Training: Participate in Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training to gain the knowledge to help individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts.
  • Crisis Services: Access our 24/7/365 Crisis Services by calling (970) 494-4200 ext. 4. Or visiting our walk-in center at 1217 Riverside Drive in Fort Collins between 8 am and midnight. Mobile services are also available anytime, day or night.

Ready to take control of your emotional well-being and overcome depression? Find the support you need at SummitStone Health Partners. Reach out to us today and take the first step towards a brighter and healthier future. Your journey to emotional balance starts here!