For many, the battle with depression brings on a torturous cycle of hopeless thoughts and feelings of deep despair and isolation or disengaging from life.

The choices we make in the midst of this hardship can often reinforce the negative cycle or shift our experience to a pathway of healing and resilience.

Self-awareness; by recognizing the patterns that play out are the beginning steps towards change. Allowing for personal and professional support may also jumpstart your motivational internal engine in strategizing on how to conquer this dark cloud hovering over you.

By recognizing the patterns that play out are the beginning steps towards change.

These are some recommendations that may help.

1- Structure: plan out your routine with self care, meal times, sleep schedule and activities that can promote functioning. Inviting peers and family to participate in some of these activities may help you stay committed.

2- Balanced Sleep: for some sleeping away their sadness has been their way of coping, others have much difficulty getting and staying asleep due to ruminating thoughts.

Balanced sleep has a tremendous impact on our mood. Sticking to a sleep schedule, settling the mind before bed, keep room dark, taking natural-path remedies or pharmaceutical medications as recommended by a physician can help regulate your sleep cycle.

3- Food for mood: research tells us that omega- 3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, herring and sardines can alleviate depressive symptoms. B12 found in eggs, dairy products, animal meats and fish; help regulate the brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine which are responsible for our moods. Some of Foods that help fuel us with energy are found in bananas, brown rice, oranges and almonds. Being mindful to Reduce or restrain from alcohol consumption as it is a depressant and will worsen your symptoms.

4- Exercise: studies show that exercise can help treat mild to moderate depression as it helps release endorphins that help re energize your body and improve your mood. It also serves as a form of distraction from stressors in your life and helps build confidence.

5- Mindfulness: adopting a mindfulness practice helps anchor our mind to the here and the now.

Depressive thoughts trap us in tunnel vision, that is often over critical and irrational. Learning to observe your experience non-judgementally with acceptance helps lessen the intensity to our emotions and therefore facilitates your ability to cope more effectively.

6- Humour: research studies show that laughter helps improve our overall well being. It has great physical benefits by lowering our blood pressure and cortisol levels which helps relieve stress. Similar to exercise, it also releases endorphins which help us feel good. You can incorporate humour into your life through films, books, videos and surroundings yourself by light hearted people.

7 –Gratitude: making a conscious effort to do a daily journal of the positive aspects of your life can help balance your overall perspective on your life. Thoughts of gratitude bring contentment and a humble acceptance of the troubles in your life.