Maybe you are feeling blue, down in the dumps, nothing seems to be going right and everything is an effort. Most of us at some time go through a period of feeling "depressed". This type of depression is often termed reactive and is generally brought on by difficult life circumstances - stress, bereavement, unemployment, over-work, physical illness, separation/divorce and even supposedly happy events such as the birth of a baby or a move to a new home.

On the other hand clinical depression is a serious often long-term condition for which you need to seek expert medical or psychiatric help. It is important to realise that it is not this condition which I am addressing here.

If you are feeling unusually low and tired it is wise to check out your symptoms with your GP to eliminate any treatable physical causes but there is a lot you can do to help yourself. And you will find it is the little things that make a difference.

Realise, if your life circumstances have changed dramatically, especially any sort of loss or bereavement, feeling depressed is a normal reaction. You need to give yourself time and space to recover. Don't feel guilty if you feel you can't cope. Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Talk about how you feel to close friends and family. And you may find it helpful to book a few sessions with a counsellor to talk things through and to help you understand and deal with your feelings and to get yourself back on track. Take good care of yourself. Try to establish a routine of eating (regular, nutritious, not too heavy meals), drinking plenty of water (about four pints a day), sleeping (not too late to bed as you may be waking early, and take short daytime naps if necessary) and regular exercise (if you are feeling tired in the day and putting off what you should be doing try a brisk five to ten minute walk). Try setting realistic goals to complete a small task each day. If you have let everything get on top of you don't attempt to put everything right at once or you will just feel overwhelmed and give up before you start. But completing a small task will give you a sense of achievement and motivation. Also, plan a regular time for relaxing even if you feel you have "done nothing" for days.

Set aside a regular few minutes each day, when you are not likely to be disturbed, to sit quietly and do this relaxation exercise.

Sit comfortably upright, spine erect, feet on the floor and hands in your lap. Take in a long deep breath and let it out slowly. Repeat these deep relaxing breaths twice more. Be aware of your feet, tense all the muscles in your feet and toes for a few seconds and then let go. Repeat this tensing and relaxing of muscles all the way up through your body. Tense and relax -legs, buttocks, abdomen, chest, shoulders, neck, arms and hands and finish with your head. Tighten and relax your jaw and lips, forehead and scalp. You will by now be feeling less tension all over your body. Stay with this feeling quietly for a few minutes (the time will get longer with practice). While you are sitting quietly relaxed acknowledge any intrusive thoughts that come into your head and let them go. They can be dealt with later. Keep concentrating on your regular normal breathing. - Imagine each breath entering your lungs, flowing through your body and bringing you peace and contentment.

You may like to try this exercise to some gentle relaxing music and. to extend your relaxation techniques try to find a local relaxation class or yoga group.

Remember it is the little things that make a difference and even the smallest step in the right direction is a positive one. Most importantly don't feel guilty or beat yourself up if you lapse from your efforts. You don't have to be perfect. You are just doing the best you can for what is best for you and you can always try again tomorrow.

Remember also you don't have to do it all yourself - don't be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, local support groups or your GP. You may also find some helpful books in your local library or bookshop.

Author's Bio: 

Jeanne is a regular contributor for and has her own column as ‘Agony Aunt’. Jeanne is an experienced teacher, personal and relationship counsellor, polarity therapist and healer. Through these four mediums and her wisdom, insight and life experience Jeanne has developed a unique style of healing, guidance and personal empowerment. She has counselled for Relate, the prison service and in a GP surgery. She has worked successfully with a wide range of people and problems and had her own counselling and polarity therapy practice in North Birmingham. She now lives in America, Florida but continues to write for SelfHelper.