1. Have a plan for your day – don’t wake up thinking “another day”, groan. Try to sit down every night and plan your next day on a piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be packed with activities but one or two things to give structure to your day and engender a sense of achievement. Write down what time you plan to rise.
  2. Do a short meditation on rising. Meditation is often thought of as difficult but it is a natural state we go into easily. A very simple meditation is to breathe deeply as possible into your lungs, through your nose, to the count of six and breathe out to the count of three. Do this twenty or thirty times while sitting in a quiet place with your eyes closed. Take some light exercise – such as a walk or some gentle stretching.
  3. Avoid stimulants like coffee in the morning. Depression and anxiety is often worse in the morning and starting your day with excessive coffee only makes it worse. If you must have that morning coffee stick to one cup and try to gradually make it weaker every week. Eat breakfast earlier. Look for alternatives to coffee.
  4. Eat three meals a day and two snacks. This can be difficult in our busy lives but can help enormously with anxiety in particular. Keeping your blood sugar stable is a great boost for your body and helps to regulate emotions. Often people wake at 3am petrified but that is coincidently a time when blood sugar often plummets and if they eat something they are often surprised that the anxiety lifts.
  5. Think about your relationships. Is there anyone you can think of that is positive or uplifting that perhaps you can meet with? Sometimes we don’t realise how negative others are or how habitual our relationships have become.
  6. Try not to talk about your depression and anxiety to everyone you know. Firstly, this just reminds you all the time that you are “depressed and anxious” and that makes it hard to do things. Secondly, excessive dwelling on the condition sets up an identity so everyone relates to you as depressed and anxious. This can make it more difficult to break free of the cycle. Try to just share with a few close people in your life, when you need to.
  7. Find a good naturopath, homeopath or nutritionist to assist you. Remember nothing happens in isolation – it is good to talk to someone about what is happening emotionally but adopting a diet and taking supplements that are specifically structured for anxiety and depression can help too.
  8. Try to set small and attainable goals and then move onto bigger ones. When we are depressed the last thing we feel like is “setting goals” but it can just be a walk to the park or to go out and have a cup of tea. These can grow as you feel stronger.
  9. Consult your GP – if you have been feeling depressed for a period of time it is always good to consult your GP and discuss. Medication is highly effective and safe but that doesn’t mean you should always take it. You can also ask your GP for a referral to a psychologist or counsellor or find out about support groups for specific issues such as grief. Go with what you and your doctor discuss and remember that sometimes we all do need a little extra help while we implement positive changes.
  10. Take some time out. Remember we are living in extraordinary times where the pace of our lives has picked up enormously. We often forget to take time out for ourselves. Many years ago the cure for depression and anxiety was sometimes a rest home and while that may not be feasible the principle behind it was the need to let the nervous system have a rest. Do something on your own that is just for you and make that time non-negotiable.