dig yourself out of depression

Overcoming Depression: A Comprehensive Guide to Digging, Pulling, and Lifting Yourself Out

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Have you ever found yourself at the bottom of a hole so deep, you can barely see the light above? You’re not alone. Millions of people across America, and indeed the world, grapple with a similar situation every day. They’re caught in the grips of a common but serious mental health condition known as depression.

Depression isn’t simply feeling down or going through a rough patch. It’s a persistent feeling of sadness, emptiness, or disinterest in life that can rob you of joy, sap your energy, and even make it hard to get out of bed in the morning. At times, it might feel like you’re stuck in that dark hole with no way out. But here’s some hopeful news: with the right tools and strategies, you can begin to dig, pull, and lift yourself out.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the many ways you can tackle depression head-on, learning to manage your symptoms, reclaim your life, and build a brighter future. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help, and professional support is always an option. With that said, let’s start our journey toward understanding and overcoming depression.

Understanding Depression

Before we can effectively tackle depression, we need to understand what we’re dealing with. Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough time. It’s a serious mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. 

Depression impacts how you feel, think, and handle daily activities. Here are some common symptoms that you or someone you know might experience:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

It’s also important to know that depression comes in various forms, including Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder (also known as Dysthymia), and others like Postpartum Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Each type has its own specific symptoms and triggers, but they all share the common thread of negatively impacting your mood and overall quality of life.

It’s essential to remember that depression isn’t a sign of weakness or something you can simply “snap out of”. It’s a complex condition that’s influenced by a variety of factors, including genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Remember, if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s crucial to seek professional help. There are effective treatments available, and a mental health professional can provide a diagnosis and help you explore the best treatment options for you. 

Now that we’ve laid out the foundation of what depression is, let’s delve into some strategies that can help manage it.

mindset for digging yourself out of depression

Digging Yourself Out: Mindset and Perspective

Imagine if, for a moment, your depression was like being stuck in a deep hole. To get out, you need a strategy, and part of that strategy involves adjusting your mindset and perspective. Let’s explore some ways you can start to shift your mindset, enabling you to begin digging yourself out of that hole.

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: Pretending that everything is fine when it’s not can be harmful. Instead, give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling. Acknowledging your feelings doesn’t mean you’re succumbing to them; it means you’re taking the first step towards overcoming them.

2. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Depression isn’t your fault, and it’s okay to have bad days. Don’t beat yourself up over things you can’t control. Instead, treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you’d extend to a friend going through a tough time.

3. Reframe Negative Thoughts: Depression often involves a cycle of negative thinking. But with practice, you can learn to identify and challenge these negative thoughts. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques, which you can learn with a therapist or through self-help resources, are especially useful for this.

More: 7 Cognitive Tools for Reframing Negative Thoughts and Pulling Yourself Out >>

4. Cultivate Positivity: Try to focus on the good in your life, no matter how small. Keeping a gratitude journal, where you write down things you’re grateful for each day, can help shift your focus from negative to positive aspects of your life.

5. Set Realistic Goals: Set small, achievable goals for yourself. It can be as simple as getting out of bed by a certain time or walking around the block. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem. Progress is progress.

6. Develop a Growth Mindset: Understand that your current situation is not permanent. Having a growth mindset means believing in your ability to learn, grow, and adapt over time, even in the face of challenges.

More: 7 Lessons from Positive Psychology to Dig Yourself Out of Depression >>

7. Create a Vision for Your Future: Having something to work towards can help you stay motivated. Think about where you want to be in the future, and start taking small steps towards that vision.

Remember, changing your mindset takes time and practice, and it’s okay to ask for help along the way. In the following sections, we’ll explore more strategies for pulling yourself out of depression.

support network for pulling yourself out of depression

Pulling Yourself Out: Building a Support Network

Pulling yourself out of the grips of depression isn’t a journey you have to, or should, undertake alone. Building a strong support network around you can play a crucial role in your recovery process. Here are some tips on how to cultivate and nurture a support network that can help pull you up when you’re feeling down.

1. Reach Out to Loved Ones: Connecting with friends and family can provide emotional support and a sense of belonging. Share what you’re going through with them, and don’t hesitate to ask for their support. Remember, it’s okay to lean on others; you’re not a burden.

2. Join Support Groups: Whether in-person or online, support groups provide a space to connect with people who are going through similar experiences. Sharing your thoughts and hearing others’ stories can be therapeutic and reassuring. 

3. Volunteer or Get Involved in Community Activities: Helping others can be a powerful mood booster and a way to meet new people. Look for local community service opportunities or join clubs and groups that align with your interests.

4. Stay Connected: Regularly touch base with your network. This can be through messages, phone calls, video chats, or meet-ups. Staying connected helps reinforce your sense of belonging and can provide a source of positivity and strength.

5. Be Open to Professional Help: Therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists are trained professionals who can provide invaluable support. They can help you navigate your feelings, equip you with coping mechanisms, and guide you towards recovery.

6. Be Patient: Building a support network takes time, and it’s okay if you don’t have a large group of people around you immediately. Even a few close connections can make a big difference.

More: 7 Ways Physical Activity Can Lift You Out of Depression >>

As you build and rely on your support network, remember that every person’s journey with depression is unique. What works for one person might not work for another. In the next section, we’ll cover another crucial aspect of overcoming depression: physical health and wellness.

physical health for lifting yourself out of depression

Lifting Yourself Out: Physical Health and Wellness

Depression isn’t just a condition of the mind; it affects your body too. Maintaining good physical health can significantly impact your mood and energy levels, helping to lift you out of depression. Here are some physical wellness strategies you can incorporate into your routine:

1. Exercise Regularly: Physical activity releases endorphins, often referred to as ‘feel-good hormones’. Even a brisk 30-minute walk can provide a mood boost. Create a routine that includes exercises you enjoy – be it yoga, dancing, cycling, or anything else – and stick to it.

2. Eat a Balanced Diet: What you consume can impact your mood and energy levels. Aim for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and flaxseeds, have been shown to help improve mood in some people with depression.

More: 9 Nutritious Foods That Can Help You Dig Out of Depression >>

3. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can contribute to feelings of fatigue and low mood. Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.

4. Sleep Well: Poor sleep can worsen depression symptoms. Develop a bedtime routine that promotes good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding screens before bed, keeping your room dark and quiet, and going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

5. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs: These substances can interfere with your mood and might make your depression symptoms worse. They can also interfere with the effectiveness of prescribed medication.

6. Take Time to Relax: Incorporate relaxation activities, like deep-breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness meditation, into your daily routine. These practices can help reduce stress and improve your mood.

7. Get Some Sunlight: Natural light can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Try to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day if you can, or consider a light therapy box if you live in a place with limited sunlight.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise or diet regimen. In the next section, we’ll discuss other self-care strategies that can help manage depression.

More: 7 Ways Physical Activity Can Lift You Out of Depression >>

self care for overcoming depression

Other Self-Care Strategies

Beyond mindset shifts, social support, and physical health, there are other self-care strategies that can significantly aid in managing depression. Here are some practical self-care tips to consider:

1. Establish a Routine: Depression can throw your life out of rhythm. Establishing a daily routine can provide structure and a sense of normalcy, helping you regain control over your life.

2. Pursue Hobbies and Interests: Engaging in activities you enjoy can distract from negative thoughts and boost your mood. Whether it’s painting, reading, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, set aside time for your hobbies.

More: 10 Creative Outlets to Help You Pull Out of Depression >>

3. Practice Mindfulness: Being present in the moment can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can foster mindfulness.

More: 10 Mindful Strategies to Dig Yourself Out of Depression >>

4. Write in a Journal: Journaling can provide an outlet for expressing your feelings and tracking your mood. It can also help you identify patterns and triggers in your thoughts and behavior.

5. Limit Screen Time: Too much screen time, especially before bed, can disrupt your sleep and negatively impact your mood. Set boundaries for your digital consumption.

6. Focus on Small Tasks: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, break down tasks into smaller, manageable parts. Completing these can provide a sense of achievement and control.

7. Practice Gratitude: Actively acknowledging what you’re grateful for can help shift your focus from negative thoughts. Consider keeping a daily or weekly gratitude journal.

More: 12 Self-Care Rituals to Pull Yourself Out of Depression >>

These self-care strategies, when combined with the previous tips, can go a long way in helping manage depression. However, it’s also important to know when it’s time to seek professional help. We’ll cover this next.

professional help for overcoming depression

When and How to Seek Professional Help

While self-help strategies can be effective in managing depression, it’s crucial to understand when and how to seek professional help. Depression is a serious medical condition, and there’s no shame in reaching out for support from mental health professionals. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Recognizing the Signs: If your symptoms persist, worsen over time, or are interfering with your daily life, it’s important to seek professional help. Signs that you should reach out to a healthcare professional include: feeling depressed most of the day, losing interest in most activities, significant changes in your weight or appetite, trouble sleeping, feeling restless, feeling fatigued, feeling worthless or guilty, difficulty concentrating, or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

2. Where to Start: Often, the first step is to talk to your primary care doctor. They can conduct an initial evaluation and refer you to a mental health specialist if needed. 

3. Types of Mental Health Professionals: Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can diagnose depression and prescribe medication. Psychologists and therapists specialize in various types of therapy. Social workers and counselors are also trained to diagnose and provide individual and group therapy.

4. Therapies and Treatments: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) are commonly used to treat depression. Antidepressant medications can also be effective. Your healthcare provider can discuss these options and help you decide what’s best for you.

More: 10 DIY Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques to Undepress Yourself >>

5. Reach Out to Helplines: If you’re in crisis, reach out to a helpline like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. 

Remember, seeking professional help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Depression is treatable, and many people with depression lead happy, fulfilling lives with the right treatment and support. The last section of our guide will provide a summary of the strategies discussed.


Depression is a significant challenge, but remember, it’s one that countless individuals have faced and overcome. The journey towards overcoming depression is a deeply personal one and often involves a combination of strategies. In this guide, we’ve discussed various ways to help manage depression, from shifting your mindset, building a supportive network, maintaining physical health, implementing self-care strategies, and recognizing when it’s time to seek professional help.

1. Digging Yourself Out: Mindset and Perspective: This involves acknowledging your feelings, practicing self-compassion, reframing negative thoughts, cultivating positivity, setting realistic goals, developing a growth mindset, and creating a vision for your future.

2. Pulling Yourself Out: Building a Support Network: This includes reaching out to loved ones, joining support groups, volunteering or engaging in community activities, staying connected, being open to professional help, and being patient with the process.

3. Lifting Yourself Out: Physical Health and Wellness: This focuses on regular exercise, a balanced diet, staying hydrated, proper sleep, avoiding alcohol and drugs, relaxation, and getting some sunlight.

4. Other Self-Care Strategies: We covered the importance of establishing a routine, pursuing hobbies, practicing mindfulness, journaling, limiting screen time, focusing on small tasks, and practicing gratitude.

5. When and How to Seek Professional Help: We also emphasized the importance of recognizing when it’s time to seek professional help and provided resources for doing so.

Remember, overcoming depression isn’t about quick fixes or simple solutions. It’s about taking small steps every day towards a healthier, happier you. It’s about recognizing that it’s okay not to be okay and knowing when to ask for help. Most importantly, it’s about understanding that you are not alone, and there are countless resources and support systems out there ready to lend a hand. So keep going, keep fighting, and never forget – you’ve got this.

Resources for Dealing With Depression

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, it’s crucial to know there’s help available. The resources listed below are great starting points, whether you need immediate assistance, general mental health information, or access to therapeutic services.

1. Crisis Lines

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Provides 24/7, free, and confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Crisis Text Line: Offers free, 24/7 support via text. Text HOME to 741741.

2. Mental Health Information and Resources

  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Offers comprehensive information on mental disorders, a range of related topics, and the latest mental health research.
  • American Psychiatric Association (APA): Provides information on mental health, including resources on understanding depression.

3. Online Therapy and Counseling

  • BetterHelp: Provides access to licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and board-certified professional counselors online.
  • Talkspace: Offers online therapy with professional therapists who are licensed in your state.

4. Self-Help and Wellness Apps

  • Headspace: Offers guided meditations, animations, articles, and videos to help you practice mindfulness.
  • Calm: Provides tools for sleep, meditation, and relaxation.
  • Moodpath: An interactive mental health screening and improvement program that helps you understand your emotions and thoughts.

5. Support Groups

  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA): Offers online and in-person support groups for people living with a mood disorder, as well as friends and family.
  • Mental Health America (MHA): Provides information on various types of mental health conditions, as well as resources to help you find a local support group.

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help, and reaching out is the first step towards recovery. With the right treatment and support, you can manage depression and lead a fulfilling life.

Frequently Asked Questions About Digging Yourself Out of Depression

What are some effective strategies to overcome depression naturally?

Overcoming depression naturally involves several strategies that can be implemented together. These include:

  • Changing your mindset and perspective: Acknowledge your feelings, practice self-compassion, reframe negative thoughts, cultivate positivity, set realistic goals, and create a vision for your future.
  • Building a support network: Reach out to loved ones, join support groups, engage in community activities, and be open to professional help.
  • Improving your physical health: Regular exercise, balanced diet, proper hydration, good sleep, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and getting sunlight.
  • Implementing self-care strategies: Establish a daily routine, pursue hobbies, practice mindfulness, journaling, limit screen time, focus on small tasks, and practice gratitude.

Remember, while these strategies can be beneficial, it’s important to seek professional help if your depression is severe or persists despite self-care efforts.

How can physical health and wellness help in managing depression?

Physical health and wellness play a crucial role in managing depression. Regular exercise releases ‘feel-good hormones’ or endorphins that can boost your mood. A balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, can impact your mood and energy levels. Adequate hydration can prevent feelings of fatigue, and proper sleep hygiene can help manage depression symptoms. Additionally, avoiding alcohol and drugs, practicing relaxation techniques, and getting regular sunlight can contribute to overall mood improvement.

What is the role of a support network in pulling myself out of depression?

A support network is a lifeline when you’re working to pull yourself out of depression. People who care about you – family, friends, therapists, or support groups – can offer emotional support, provide a different perspective, and encourage you to stick with your treatment plan. Engaging in community activities or volunteering can also help you feel connected and valued, thus alleviating feelings of isolation often associated with depression.

How can I change my mindset to dig myself out of depression?

Changing your mindset is a critical step in digging yourself out of depression. Begin by acknowledging your feelings without judgment and practicing self-compassion. Try to reframe negative thoughts into more positive ones and cultivate positivity in your life. Setting small, realistic goals can also help you feel more in control, and developing a growth mindset can open up possibilities for change and improvement. Additionally, creating a vision for your future can provide direction and motivation as you work through your depression.

When and how should I seek professional help for depression?

Seek professional help for depression if your symptoms persist, worsen over time, or are interfering with your daily life. Reach out to your primary care doctor for an initial evaluation. They can refer you to a mental health specialist if needed. Psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers, and counselors are all trained to diagnose and provide treatment for depression. If you’re in a crisis, reach out to a helpline like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

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Article Author

Lucas Evans

Lucas Evans

Lucas is a writer who is passionate about mental health and wellbeing. He is dedicated to helping others overcome their challenges. Lucas is known for his compassionate and non-judgmental approach, as well as his ability to help people gain a deeper understanding of themselves.
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