How to Bounce Back After a Depressive Episode

Apr 11, 2024 | Depression, Mental Health

Experiencing depression, to any degree, can take a toll on your body and mind. For those that suffer from depressive episodes – ones that come in waves, rather than a constant state – it can be especially taxing. If you find yourself struggling to cope with these episodes, know that you are not alone. Roughly 5% of adults deal with this worldwide, with numbers climbing each year. Fortunately, there are some helpful strategies that can guide you through as you attempt to bounce back from a depressive episode. 

Understanding What Depressive Episodes Are

Depressive episodes are periods of time in which depression symptoms become unmanageable. They vary in intensity and duration but tend to be shorter than 6 months. If you’ve recently experienced one, acknowledging it as a temporary phase and seeking help, if needed, is the first step towards recovery.

Find a Therapist

One of the most critical steps in overcoming a depressive episode is seeking professional help. Therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists are trained to guide people through their struggles. Therapy provides a safe space to express emotions, learn coping mechanisms, and gain insights into the root causes of depressive episodes. When you can identify a source, or sources, you are better equipped to begin healing.

Lean on Your Support System

Surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family can help you bounce back far quicker than you might without any support. Share your feelings with those you trust and let them be a source of encouragement. Having people who understand and validate your experiences can make a big difference in your healing process.

Focus on Physical Health
  • Sleep: Depressive episodes tend to disrupt sleep patterns and can result in insomnia. Though it might be hard, try to create a consistent sleep routine as it will positively impact your mood and energy levels. Aim to get anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night. During this time, your body and mind will work to recover from the day and will set you up for success the following day.
  • Exercise: Exercise has proven benefits for mental health, as well as the obvious physical benefits. Start with small, manageable activities like short walks or gentle yoga sessions. Gradually increase the intensity as you regain strength and motivation. Exercise releases endorphins, which will uplift your mood and help you feel better mentally.
  • Diet: Nourish your body with a healthy, clean diet whenever possible. Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. Be sure to avoid excessive caffeine, sugary foods, and processed snacks, as they can cause mood swings and energy crashes.
Emotional Health
  • Express Yourself Through Creativity: Whether it’s writing, painting, music, or any other form of self-expression, find an outlet for your emotions. This can be a powerful way to process feelings and gain a sense of accomplishment.
  • Start Setting Goals: Depression is often coupled with a lack of motivation or interest in things that once made you excited. As you emerge from a depressive episode, slowly begin integrating these things back in. You can do this by setting small, manageable goals that don’t require too much energy. As you begin to feel better, you can build on them.
Mental Health
  • Challenge Negative Thoughts: Depressive episodes often bring a barrage of negative thoughts. Practice cognitive-behavioral techniques to identify and challenge these thoughts. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations and realistic perspectives.
  • Establish Routine and Structure: Structure provides a sense of stability, which is crucial for mental well-being. Create a daily routine that includes regular meals, exercise, work or study time, and relaxation. Having a structured day can help combat feelings of chaos and uncertainty.
  • Celebrate Progress, Not Perfection: Recovery can be a long road, not an overnight success. Acknowledge your progress, no matter how small it may seem. Be kind to yourself and give yourself some grace.
Final Thoughts

Getting back on track after a depressive episode is a challenging but achievable endeavor. Though depression might come in waves, try to enjoy and take advantage of the days that you feel good, mentally and physically. Be gentle in the way that you speak to yourself and know that you are doing your best. The rest will fall into place as you continue to take care of yourself.

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you find you are struggling with depression and unable to bounce back on your own, New Dimensions can help.  We provide treatment for adolescents and adults to address mental health and substance abuse issues. We offer Partial Day Hospitalization Treatment and Intensive Outpatient Programs to improve mental and emotional health, address negative thinking and develop new coping skills to overcome depression. To learn more about our treatment programs, visit our website at or contact us at 800-685-9796.  To learn more about individual, family, and couples counseling, visit  

Keywords: Depressive episode; Depression; Self-care; Emotional health; Mental health


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