17 Self-Care Ideas for Women with Depression

Feeling like you've hit your limit? Here are the things you can do to cheer yourself.
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Last Updated
March 23, 2023
Editorial Staff

Depression is a common mental illness that can take a toll on one’s physical and mental health. Women are especially susceptible to depression, with 12 percent of women in the United States experiencing it at some point in their lives.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing depression, there are many self-care activities that can help alleviate symptoms and improve mood.

Here are 17 self-care ideas for women with depression:


1. Get regular exercise

If you're struggling with depression, self-care is essential. Exercise is a great way to boost your mood and improve your overall health. Regular exercise can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase energy levels. aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. If you don't have time for a lengthy workout, even 10 minutes of walking can make a difference.

In addition to the physical benefits, exercise can also help improve your mental state. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. It can also help you feel more confident and competent. When you're feeling good about yourself, it's easier to cope with difficult emotions.

If you're not used to exercising, start slowly and build up gradually. There's no need to push yourself too hard–the goal is to feel better, not worse.

2. Spend time outdoors

There are many benefits to spending time outdoors, especially for women with depression. Being in nature can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and increase energy levels. Additionally, fresh air and sunshine can help improve sleep quality and boost overall health.

There are a few things to keep in mind when spending time outdoors. First, it’s important to dress for the weather and protect yourself from the sun. Second, be aware of your surroundings and don’t go off into isolated areas alone. And finally, take breaks as needed – if you’re feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, it’s okay to head back inside.

Overall, spending time outdoors is a great way to improve your mental health. So get outside and enjoy the fresh air!

3. Make time for hobbies and activities that make you happy

When it comes to self-care, it’s important to make time for activities that make you happy. Whether it’s taking a yoga class, going for a walk in nature, or simply reading your favorite book, making time for things that bring you joy can help lift your mood and improve your overall well-being.

If you’re struggling with depression, it may feel like you don’t have the energy or motivation to do anything enjoyable. But even small changes can make a big difference. Start by adding one new activity to your weekly routine. You may find that as your mood starts to improve, you have more energy for other hobbies and activities.

Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find something that really works for you. And remember, there is no “right” way to do self-care.


4. Get a massage

There's nothing quite like a relaxing massage to help you forget your troubles and feel pampered. If you're feeling low, scheduling an appointment with a licensed massage therapist can help you feel better both physically and mentally.

Studies have shown that massage can be effective in reducing anxiety and depression. One small study found that a single session of Swedish massage therapy led to significant improvements in depressive symptoms among women with depression.

So if you're looking for a natural way to ease your depression symptoms, consider getting a massage. It may just be the stress-relieving, mood-boosting treatment you need.

5. Play dress-up at home

Dressing up at home can be a great self-care activity for women with depression. It can help them to feel more confident and stylish, and it can be a fun way to pass the time. Here are a few tips for dressing up at home:

  • Choose comfortable, stylish clothing that you feel good in.
  • Experiment with different hair and makeup styles.
  • Take some time to plan your outfit and accessorize it with jewelry or other accessories.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new – it’s all about having fun!
  • Take photos of yourself in your outfits so you can look back and feel good about yourself later.

6. Get enough sleep

Sleep is crucial for both physical and mental health, but it can be difficult to get enough sleep when you’re dealing with depression. Depression can cause insomnia, which can in turn make symptoms of depression worse. It’s important to find ways to get the rest you need.

There are a few things you can do to try and get better sleep: establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. You should also avoid working or using electronic devices in bed. If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something else until you feel tired again.

Getting enough sleep is essential for managing depression. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.


7. Eat healthy foods

Depression can have a negative impact on every aspect of your life, including your diet. When you’re depressed, you may lose interest in eating healthy foods or preparing meals. You may also turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking, drinking alcohol, or overeating.

But good nutrition is an important part of managing depression and taking care of yourself. Eating a balanced diet can help improve your mood and energy levels, and make it easier for you to stick to your treatment plan.

Here are some tips for eating healthy when you’re dealing with depression:

  • Make sure to eat three meals a day. Skipping meals can make depression symptoms worse.
  • Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet. These foods are rich in nutrients that can boost mood and energy levels.
  • Limit the number of unhealthy fats, sugar, and refined grains you eat. These foods can contribute to depression symptoms.
  • Eat breakfast every day. Breakfast is a good way to start your day off right, and it helps prevent overeating later in the day.

8. Go outside in the sunlight

In addition to medication and therapy, spending time in nature can be helpful for women with depression.

Taking a walk in the park or going for a hike in the woods can help you get some exercise, which is also beneficial for mental health. Just being in nature and taking in the fresh air can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Besides, sunlight exposure can also help improve mood and energy levels. Additionally, going outside can also help increase vitamin D levels, which are important for overall health.

You can start doing it by going outside for at least 20 minutes on a daily basis. This can be done in the morning or afternoon, whichever you prefer.

9. Take a bath

There's something about a hot bath that just soothes the soul. Whether you're struggling with depression, anxiety, or just feeling overwhelmed, taking a bath can be a great way to relax and de-stress.

Fill up your tub with hot water and add some soothing aromatherapy or add a few drops of lavender oil to help you relax. Light some candles, put on some soft music, and just enjoy soaking for a while. Let all your worries wash away and just focus on enjoying the moment.

If you don't have time for a long soak, even a quick shower can be beneficial. The important thing is to take some time for yourself to relax and rejuvenate.


10. Practice yoga

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing depression, but there are many things you can do to help ease your symptoms. One self-care activity that can be beneficial for women with depression is practicing yoga.

Yoga can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. It can also boost your mood and increase feelings of well-being. If you’re new to yoga, there are plenty of beginner-friendly classes available. Even just a few minutes of yoga each day can make a difference.

If you’re not sure where to start, there are many online resources and YouTube videos that can guide you through simple yoga flows. Once you get the hang of it, you may even want to try more advanced poses. Just be sure to listen to your body and go at your own pace.

11. Stop comparing yourself to others

Women with depression can sometimes find themselves comparing their lives to others. This can be a dangerous habit, as it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

It is important to remember that everyone's life is different and that there is no "perfect" life.

Comparisons are often unfair and can make you feel worse about yourself. If you find yourself comparing your life to others, try to focus on your own positive qualities and accomplishments. Remember that you are the only one who knows what is best for you.

12. Spend time with friends

Friends are one of the best things in life. They make you laugh, they listen to your problems, and they’re always there for you. Spending time with friends is a great way to improve your mood and mental health.

If you’re feeling down, call up a friend and go for a walk, have coffee, or just chat. You’ll feel better afterward, I promise. Spending time with friends is also a great way to distract yourself from negative thoughts and emotions. When you’re with friends, you’re not focused on your depression, which can help break the cycle of negative thinking.

So next time you’re feeling down, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends. They’ll be happy to see you and spending time together will do wonders for your mental health.


13. Keep a gratitude journal

A gratitude journal is a great way to keep track of the things you're grateful for in your life. It can help you see the positive things in your life, even when times are tough.

Here's how to start a gratitude journal:

  1. Get a notebook or create a document on your computer.
  2. Set aside some time each day to write in your journal. A good time to do this is first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
  3. Write down three things that you're grateful for each day. They can be big or small things. Examples might include: "I'm grateful for my bed, because it's so comfortable." "I'm grateful for my friend, because she always makes me laugh." "I'm grateful for my cat, because she's so cute."
  4. After you've written three things down, take a moment to really feel grateful for those things.
  5. If you have more than one journal, make sure to write in all of them regularly.
  6. Reward yourself with a small gift when you finish your gratitude journal for the month.

14. Practice mindfulness

We all know how important it is to take care of our physical health, but what about our mental health? Taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health, if not more so. One way to take care of our mental health is to practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can be a difficult task for someone who suffers from depression, as they are often bogged down by negative thoughts. However, mindfulness can help break the cycle of negative thinking and help us focus on the present moment.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness, such as meditation, yoga, or simply paying attention to your breathing. If you suffer from depression, give mindfulness a try.

15. Get a pet

A pet can provide companionship, love, and support when you’re feeling down. They can also offer a sense of responsibility and purpose. Caring for a pet can help to ease depression symptoms and give you a reason to get out of bed each day.

There are a few things to consider before getting a pet, such as whether or not you have the time and energy to care for them, as well as the financial resources.

If you think you’re ready for the commitment, consider adopting a dog, cat, bird, or other animals from your local shelter.


16. Practice deep breathing to relax your body

Deep breathing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to relax your body. When you breathe deeply, it sends a signal to your brain to release tension and stress. Deep breathing also helps to increase the supply of oxygen to your cells and improves circulation.

There are a few simple techniques you can use to start practicing deep breathing:

  1. First, sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  2. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose, allowing your stomach to rise as you fill your lungs with air.
  4. Then exhale slowly through your mouth, pushing all the air out of your lungs until your stomach falls back down.
  5. Repeat this process for 10-15 minutes, or until you feel yourself beginning to relax.

If you find yourself struggling with anxiety or depression, consider adding deep breathing to your daily routine.

17. Look at the past photos that make you happy

When it comes to self-care for women with depression, looking at happy photos from the past can be a great way to boost your mood. flipping through old photo albums or scrolling through old pictures on your phone can help you remember good times and happy moments. This can help break the cycle of negative thoughts that often accompany depression.

Looking at old photos can also help you see how far you’ve come. It can be easy to focus on all the ways in which things have not gone according to plan, but looking back at old photos can remind you of how much progress you’ve made. No matter how big or small, every accomplishment is worth celebrating when you’re dealing with depression.

So next time you’re feeling down, take a few minutes to look through some old photos that make you smile.




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