10 Tiny Habits That Can Help Fight Depression — Even When You Feel Like Doing Nothing

Today may have been horrendous, but tomorrow will be better.

Last updated on Jan 30, 2024

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Depression surfaces a bit differently in everyone who struggles with it, but one thing remains the same: overcoming depression is not easy.

When you're in the middle of a depressed episode, even mustering the energy to get yourself out of bed is hard enough. Extreme fatigue makes some methods of dealing with depression — exercise, spending time with family and friends, or even just regularly going about your day as if nothing is wrong — seem impossible.


Luckily, nothing is impossible. Because there are small but effective ways to fight it.

Here are 10 habits that can help fight depression, even when you feel completely exhausted.

1. Keep yourself constructively busy

It might sound as easy as it looks, especially considering that we live in a society where the constant demands of life make it impossible to not be busy, but many of us might find that we have moments where we are idle and use this time to do things that end up being very destructive to our mental health.

We scroll for hours on social media comparing ourselves to others, venting to friends, overeating, oversleeping, and doing a whole bunch of other things that do not serve us.


When you find yourself in a funk that you cannot seem to shake, try turning your attention to something constructive, relaxing, or simply anything that keeps your mind off of the hard moments. At the end of the day, you are already feeling mental anguish. Don’t add to it by engaging in activities that worsen this.



RELATED: 13 Tiny Things Pretty Much Anyone Can Do To Improve Their Emotional Health

2. Get off social media for a while

Many don't realize just how much social media seems to mess with their psyche at times. As a result, people struggling with depression should take a break from social media, whether that's deleting the apps, not posting when experiencing a mood, or even closing browser tabs and taking a mental break.


Social media never rests. It is always buzzing with activity. Therefore, you are seeing who is engaged, who is "prettier," "richer, or "better" than you.

In a negative mindset, you already see everything in life as horrible. It doesn’t help to have the urge to lament and compare yourself to others. So, do yourself a favor and log out.

3. Change your diet

We are what we eat, and what you eat has an effect on how you feel. According to Harvard Health, “Enriching your diet with more, whole foods can help you feel full longer and will lift your mood. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, and fish decrease your chances and your symptoms of depression.”

It's so tempting to go for donuts or pizza when you are in a state of loathing, but the time you take to make something healthy, take a multivitamin, or have a filling shake is when you have more energy.


habits that can help fight depressionPhoto: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

4. Listen to someone else’s story or problems

Having depression feels like you are stuck in a dark hole all by yourself. It’s as if time has stopped, you have fallen deep into this hole, and some type of force has caused you to become hard to reach.

You call out for help and people can reach you, but they can never pull you out. As a result, you sink further and further down in it. Some people view those who have depression as selfish. When depressed, one seems to speak of nothing but their problems and how unfortunate their life seems to be.


The reality, however, is that depression very much alters your way of thinking, to the point where you cannot see beyond your issues.

If you find that you can’t stop talking about what you are going through, find ways to take the focus off yourself. Talk to someone who is older and wiser about how to cope, ask your friends and family how they are doing, go online and reach out to others, and try to connect with people who can offer you words of wisdom.

You are not alone. Taking the focus off yourself for a while will not only offer you relief, but you will realize that you truly are not the only one in the world struggling.

RELATED: A Therapist Shares 10 Things To Do At The First Twinge Of Depression


5. Rest

There is a difference between sleeping so much you are wallowing, and sleeping to simply rest.

Going through my own depression means you may be constantly exhausted. You never feel rested because you are always in a state of mental anguish. You are tired from crying, tired from talking about your anguish, tired from explaining your distress over and over again. You are just tired.

Use your free time to sleep and get a good night’s rest. It will truly make a difference in how you feel.

People who have depression actually need more rest because of the toll the illness takes on our brains. Log off your computer and call it a night for a couple of days. You deserve it.




6. Accept the treatment that comes along with your condition

Unfortunately, there is a stigma when it comes to medication and therapy.

Particularly regarding medication, people who aren’t taking them or who know nothing about them will regard it as being harmful and as drugs that make you "crazy." This isn’t true, as there are millions of people who take medication and find it to be helpful and even lifesaving.

It can be daunting to accept that depression or sadness is a part of your life, but true healing comes from acceptance. Therapy and medication are nothing to be ashamed of.


7. Make a list of everything you accomplished in the day

When I was going through one of the worst depressive episodes in my life, I wrote down everything I accomplished in the day, no matter how small. Getting up, brushing my teeth, making breakfast, calling a friend, taking a bath — whatever I did for that day, I recorded in a diary.

To someone who has never had depression, this may seem strange, but anyone who has struggled knows that getting out of bed every day and doing other simple tasks are extremely difficult or sometimes almost impossible.

Making a list and seeing everything you have accomplished in a day can give you a boost of confidence during a time where you believe you are incapable of doing anything.

8. Get outside

Scenery helps a lot when you are depressed, even if it means just taking a walk outside for an hour.


Being outside will expose you to the sun (which you need), the scenery of plants, and fresh air. Being cooped up in the house all day just makes you feel more isolated than ever.

Try getting outside and choosing a particularly scenic route, where there are lots of trees and maybe even flowers. Just focus on your breath, the fresh air, and look at what you see. It’s a great distraction from your problems.

habits that can help fight depressionPhoto: Monica Turlui / Pexels


RELATED: 13 Mental Health Experts Reveal Their #1 Time-Saving Habit (To Gain Hours Each Week)

9. Decrease harmful recreational habits

The temptation to overindulge in alcohol and other recreational activities is tempting, especially during the holidays and times of celebration, but depression and drugs and alcohol can often make for a dangerous mixture.

A drink here and there is okay, but if you are really going through a rough time, sticking to non-alcoholic beverages is an option, or just make sure you are monitoring your consumption.


Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that, when consumed, it slows down your body, your thinking, and your perception of things around you. You might not want to add to how you are already feeling by messing with outside substances.

10. Know that no matter the situation, you are destined to get through

This sounds extremely cliché and you have probably heard it over and over again. You might roll your eyes and say, “People have no idea what I deal with every day. They have no clue that, a few days ago, I wanted to die.”

But many people struggled or continue to struggle with depression, sometimes even wanting to end their own lives. Depression is real and, at its worst, it can get that bad.

There are other people who know exactly what you are feeling, what you are facing, and what you are going through. But you can survive it with treatment and the confidence that life may throw you curveballs every now and then, but as long as you are here, you will survive it.


Life wasn’t meant to be easy. You are a human being, of flesh and blood, encountering situations that have no handbook of how to prepare. But nevertheless, you will survive.

You are still here, aren’t you? You may not be able to beat this thing all at once, but you can little by little with a few useful habits that can help fight depression.

If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.

RELATED: 4 Heartbreaking Things People Battling Depression Won't Tell You

Bria Barrows is a freelance writer, mental health advocate, and YouTuber based in Toronto, Canada. Her bylines have appeared on Thought Catalog, Unwritten, HerCampus, The Mighty, and Elite Daily, among others.