Depression: when you're more than sad

Depression iconEveryone feels sad, sometimes for no apparent reason. But this usually passes within a few days. Depression is "a persistent low mood often characterized by a sense of heaviness, weariness, the inability to enjoy life, irritability, hopelessness, or other features."

With that said, depression can look different for everyone. Left untended, it worsens, leading to severe problems, including self-harm or suicide. Fortunately, there are things you can do before it becomes a crisis. Check out these tips for dealing with depression:

Eat well

When we eat a balanced diet, we nourish our whole body—including our brains. We get the mix of nutrients and vitamins, fats and proteins, etc., and calories to fuel proper functioning. This allows you to cope with daily stresses and find creative solutions to problems.

Sleep regularly

It can be hard to say which comes first. Sleeping can get jacked up by depression. And we can show some of the symptoms of depression when we're not sleeping regularly. Most people perform best with 7-8 hours of sleep per 24 hours. This gives our bodies time to repair and replenish themselves and our brains time to process the day's events. Fully rested, we have greater bandwidth to tackle whatever comes our way.


It's easy (and very common) to want to withdraw and isolate when you don't feel well. Our minds make up stories that no one cares about us or everyone is too busy with their own lives. It's also easy to look around and imagine everyone else is happy and successful without even trying (this is not accurate, either). Most importantly, be honest when you reach out to a friend, family member, counselor, instructor, or whomever. Try sharing a little about how you're feeling. You might discover that they can relate.

Get outside

Most of the history of our species has been spent outside. We aren't designed to be inside, sedentary in artificial light nearly as much as our modern lifestyles encourage us to be. We need sunlight, fresh air, and movement. Our bodies need it, and our mood needs it.

Join Outdoor Pursuits


Exercising can have short- and long-term benefits for your mood. In the short term, it'll release endorphins which, put simply, feel good. Sometimes, this can be enough to jolt us out of a funk. Research also indicates that those who exercise are less likely to be depressed than those who don't and that people who stop exercising tend to start feeling depressed.

Check out Outdoor Pursuits

Get involved

Join a group. Or start a group. There are almost sixty student-run groups on campus and many more opportunities to get involved. Involvement lends structure to your day, gets you out of your room or house, connects you with your peers and friends, and hopefully connects you with something you enjoy.

Find your club or organization

A technological assist

What's Up mental health app

Track your habits and thoughts with this free app to support managing depression.

The Fabulous App

Track your mood, cultivate motivation and self-confidence, and work toward your personal goals with this free app.

Student Connect

Sometimes it's hard to know where to look to find people with similar interests. Fill out FLC's brief student connection questionnaire to connect with others on campus.

Get connected