We all feel low at one time or another in our lives, but depression is setting in when the black moods last longer and climbing out of them seems harder. It is, of course, advisable to get professional medical help but these self-help remedies may help put you in control too.

  1. Get into a routine. We all need a routine, and more so if we’re feeling depressed. Routine sets our life on track, says Dr. Ian Cook, director of Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA. When everything seems to be in a tangle, routine will give structure to your life.

2. Set goals every day. Ticking off one task at a time, you’ll be able to move ahead with a sense of positive achievement. The most basic chores must be listed and marked as done to boost your willpower.

3. Build in time for exercise. A brisk walk can do wonders, as can short breathing exercises or stretches, instantly refreshing and energizing you. Mindful meditation – focusing on the immediate environment, is a stress-reliever. Exercise releases endorphins – the ‘feel good’ chemicals – into your bloodstream.

4. Eat healthier. Bingeing on junk food is one of the manifestations of depression. Foods with Omega 3 fatty acids, as well as those with folic acid like spinach and avocado, are reputed to beat anxiety.

5. Get the Zzzz’s. Sleep deprivation, especially if it builds up, is one of the main causes of stress and anxiety. Set a time to sleep every night and banish all distractions like the TV, your iPad and your smartphone from your bedroom.

6. Reach out. Family and friends are your lifeline. They can provide the support you need when feeling low. You’ll feel inclined to recede into your shell if you’re depressed, but make the effort to confide in those closest to you so that they’re aware of your problem. Don’t hesitate to seek medical help. Depression is a very common illness and there are so many medications and therapies available now that there’s absolutely no reason to dwell in your misery.