How to Create a Depression Self-Care Action Plan

How to Create a Depression Self-Care Action Plan

Depression often causes excessive worry, anxiety, and self-doubt, making it difficult to set and achieve goals. By developing a depression self-care action plan, such as this example from the American Academy of Family Physicians, you can begin accomplishing small, attainable goals. This creates valuable momentum that can help treat depression.

Individuals who receive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) at Mid City TMS are able to establish goals for themselves throughout treatment. Over time, patients build a rhythm that enhances their goal-setting abilities. With our comprehensive approach, patients experience schedule consistency, task development, and improving confidence levels, which help them in their recovery from depression.


Identifying Goals for Your Depression Self-Care Action Plan

It may sound simple, but identifying clear goals is an essential part of creating a depression self-care action plan. Although these goals will differ from patient to patient, there are some that appear more frequently than others. Patients at Mid City TMS have benefitted from setting and completing the following goals:

  • Engage in more cultural activities, such as visiting museums or attending movies or plays
  • Start a regular exercise routine
  • Complete more projects at work
  • Spend more quality time with family and friends
  • Help others by volunteering
  • Clean and organize your home
  • Look for a new job

In the beginning, it’s important to make small, attainable goals. Executing big, audacious goals is especially difficult for those suffering from depression. You’re more likely to be successful if you break those larger goals into more manageable pieces. By starting small, you can see yourself make progress, allowing you to regain control over your life more easily.

A helpful strategy for identifying appropriate goals is using the acronym “SMART”:

  • Specific: Your goals should be clear, so it’s easy to tell when you have completed them. For example, “get more exercise” is too vague. “Go to the gym for at least 30 minutes three days each week” is more specific.
  • Measurable: Choose tasks that allow you to track your progress over time. Think in terms of days, weeks, or months when possible.
  • Achievable: Choose goals that are realistic and can actually be attained. Set yourself up for success to increase your motivation and confidence.
  • Relevant: Make sure your goals align with the issues you’re trying to address. Try thinking of the issues first and create goals to help solve them.
  • Time-Specific: Figure out when you are going to carry out a goal. What are you behind on? Are any deadlines approaching? Keep it simple, but if you’re able to put a little pressure on yourself to meet a deadline, the accomplishment will increase your satisfaction.



Accomplishing Your Depression Self-Care Action Plan Goals

Once you’ve set the goals for your depression self-care action plan, the next step is to work on accomplishing them. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re feeling stuck, use these strategies to complete your goals.

1. Use Emotions

We act because we feel. David DeSteno, a psychology professor and the author of Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride, emphasizes that these “prosocial” emotions are more effective than willpower when trying to cultivate self-control and make progress on goals. When you feel compassion, for example, you’re more willing to make sacrifices and help other people, including your future self.

In her book, Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work, Harvard psychologist Susan David writes about how we can use emotions to achieve change as well. Her advice is to face unpleasant emotions, such as sadness or disappointment, rather than avoid them. Process these emotions with agility and let them inform the decisions you make going forward.

2. Ask for Help

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or failure. In fact, reaching out to others for assistance with goals has several powerful benefits. It allows you to become aware of new thoughts, approaches, and solutions you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Asking for help can also make you feel less alone, and it can build new or existing relationships.

3. Contact Mid City TMS

If you need help with depression, contact Mid City TMS today. We are conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan and accept most insurance plans. Here at Mid City TMS, we work hard to provide you with quality treatment, and we are always happy to assist you with setting and achieving your goals.

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