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I struggle with depression. It usually comes in on Tuesdays and stays until Thursdays. I became aware of it back in 2012 and at that time it was suggested I was clinically depressed and should consider medication. I decided instead to make some life changes. Now, it’s not so bad; my dark days are less frequent and not as severe.

Each person’s situation is different but there are some things we can do to fight back when depression comes knocking on our door. Here’s is what I’ve learned from my journey. (This is not a substitute for medical assistance if you need it!)

Get active: this can be hard to do at first but if you can get moving it’s easier to stay moving. I went back to the gym, started cycling, then swimming, and now running. Now my wife and I are doing triathlons. The bonus is, I dropped 40 pounds and I have much more energy. With that said, you don’t need to do anything extreme – start walking for 20-30 minutes each day.

Get a routine: depression makes our days mush together so it’s good to establish a routine. To that end, take a class, exercise at the same time and on the same days, arrange a regular and ongoing meet or call with a good friend. Another really important routine is gratitude. Daily reflecting and being mindful of what you are grateful for changes our focus off ourselves.

Get plants: you can go get a plant if you want but I mean get into a plant-based diet. This may require some gradual changes and some learning (take a vegetarian cooking class!) but the benefits are both mental and physical. There’s evidence that flax and chia seeds,  spinach, and avocado may help ease depression.

Get faith: having a consistent devotional and prayer life is very helpful but it also has to be lived out in community and put to use in service to others.

I hope this is helpful. I would be interested in hearing what you have done to fight back against depression.