The Importance of Structure, Routine and Meaningful Activity in Depression and Anxiety

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For many people with depression and anxiety, having a structure and routine can really help. Coping with these conditions can lead to great discomfort. What you need is a plan, a way of coping. Not only will you be dealing with the depression and anxiety using techniques and coping strategies, but you will also be dealing the vast expanse of time, that without structure can seem like an endless ocean of distress. When depressed and anxious life can seem a lonely place where you are at the mercy of your thoughts and negative ruminations. You also need to factor in meaningful activity.

Creating a routine has many benefits. Begin by dividing the week into days, dividing the days into halves, quarters even hourly segments. Look to building up four categories of support:

Addressing your physical needs.
Addressing your mental and emotional needs.
Addressing your spiritual needs.
Addressing the need for human contact.

Here are forty tips that you also may find helpful:

Learn a relaxation method.
Organise your day to include work (or meaningful activity), rest and leisure.
Plan your day to avoid worrying over uncertainties.
Eat small regular healthy meals, ovoid caffeine, sugary and junk foods.
Don’t go too long between meals.
Keep alcohol and smoking to a minimum
Avoid boredom or getting into a rut, this can increase stress and anxiety.
If you do not work, it is very important to find interest and purpose elsewhere.
Find out if there are any organisations, centres or clubs that need volunteers.
If you do work, it is important to have some “you” time.
Make sure that time for you is quality time.
Exercise daily – it will reduce anxiety and raise your mood.
Get some fresh air, even if you cannot get out, open windows.
Spoil yourself while you are not well.
Don’t accept put downs, try to be more assertive.
Learn to say “NO” when you need to. We can’t give all the time.
Let others help, but don’t lean on them.
Find friends you can relax with, rather than wind you up.
Set yourself small goals that you can succeed in, no matter how small.
Be positive!! Positive things happen to positive people.
Be yourself, remember your unique.
If your appetite is down, think nutrient dense.
Try to get plenty of sleep, avoid naps if sleep is difficult.
Sunshine is very good for depression and anxiety.
Humans are the only animals that don’t make their own vitamin C, eat an orange!
Make friends with nature, put out a bird feeder.
Do something creative, cut out pictures from magazines and make a collage.
If you anxious lower external stimuli, dim lights, turn down television volume.
Have a bath with soothing oils.
Cuddle a hot water bottle if your cold.
Keep a journal or diary of your thoughts and feelings.
Get yourself some flowers and put them where you will see them.
Break large tasks into many smaller ones.
Don’t expect too much from yourself.
Stop being a perfectionist.
Do not make major life decisions while you are depressed.
Make lists, they can really help.
Stop blaming yourself, stop saying, “it’s all my fault.”
Every morning, relax, breathe and chant an affirmation for 10 minutes
Keep a positive book and write down two positive things each day, however small.

For more tips check out my book, “50 Tips to beat depression,” available on Amazon.

Until next time, Steve.

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Steve Clifford                                                                                                                             Senior Accredited Integrative Psychotherapist.                                                                 Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.



“How to Help Yourself get through Depression on a day-to-day basis” htm [Accessed 29/05/13].

“Eight Ways to become an Optimist” by Vera Peiffer, Options, Feb 1993.

“20 Tips on Fighting Anxiety, Depression, and Fatigue Naturally.” [Accessed 28/02/2014].

“Daily Survival Plan for Living in Hell,” Douglas Bloch. [Accessed 06/06/15].

Cooking to Cure; A Nutritional Approach to Anxiety and Depression


Book Review

Cooking to Cure; A nutritional approach to anxiety and depression, is an inspiring, practical guide to nutrition and how a nutritional approach may help you eat your way towards better mental health. It represents an exciting cutting edge approach to health and is something researchers all over the world are looking into.

Could changes to our diet be as effective as pills? Could you take control of your dietary intake to improve your mental health? With depression and anxiety as one of the most common mental ailments in the western world, it is high time we sat up and looked at dietary factors.

This wonderful book explains in a very clear and understandable way how nutrients affect the brain and our moods. It details the nutritional contents of foods that are known to play a part in depression and anxiety, how much you need every day and even has a recipe section full of mouth watering meals.

As someone who has for many years appreciated the “truth” and power of nutrition as prevention and cure, Angela reflects on changes to eating habits over the years. She draws on scientific research to support the hypothesis that as our diets have become more and more depleted of essential nutrients, so too the incidence of depression and anxiety has rocketed. She tells us how replacing commercially processed food with “real” food (not faddy diets!) we can reclaim our health and well-being.

It is empowering and a must-read for all sufferers of depression and anxiety.

Available from:

Until next time, Steve.

We would be delighted if you visit our facebook sites:

Steve Clifford                                                                                                                             Senior Accredited Integrative Psychotherapist.                                                                 Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.