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Situational Depression: What is it and how can you overcome it?

Situational depression hits us during some of the more difficult times in life. Read on to uncover more about it and learn how to overcome these hard times.

Keyword(s): situational depression

If you feel depressed from time to time, you're not alone in your struggles. In fact, research shows that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression at some point in their lives.

When situational depression impacts you, it can feel frustrating, devastating, or totally debilitating.

Fortunately, help and relief are both available! Learn how you can overcome these hard times with grace and dignity.

What is Situational Depression?

Unlike chronic, major depression, situational depression is often short-term and strongly associated with external life circumstances.

These external life circumstances can often be emotionally-charged, life-changing, or even traumatic. Such events include:

  • Divorce

  • Retirement

  • Loss of a job

  • Death of relative or close friend

  • Medical sickness

  • Natural disasters

Most people with situational depression develop symptoms within about 3 months following the precipitating event triggering the condition. These symptoms can last for a short while (about a week) or for several months, depending on the severity.

Symptoms are similar to those exhibited in individuals with major depression. They can include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

  • Increased irritability and agitation

  • Increased fatigue and feelings of listlessness throughout the day

  • Sleeping difficulties (sleeping too much or too little)

  • Severe changes in appetite and/or weight

  • Disinterest in work or leisure activities

  • Suicidal thoughts

Symptoms will vary from person to person, and they typically fall on a spectrum ranging from mild, moderate, to severe.

What Can You Do to Feel Better?

There are many natural steps you can take to feel better and improve your situational depression symptoms. It may take some trial-and-error to figure out what works best for you.

Keep an open mind and a positive attitude. Be sure to reach out to a trusted loved one if you need help staying accountable.

Eat a Healthy Diet

It's easy to feel disinterested in your nutrition when you feel depress, but it's very important to eat a well-balanced diet to preserve both your mental and physical health.

This includes incorporating vegetables, fruits, nets and seeds, and lean meats. It also includes drinking plenty of water and limiting processed, sugary foods.

Exercise Regularly

Not only is exercise good for the physical body, but it also has many positive effects on your mental health as well. Exercise can relieve depression and anxiety symptoms and improve your self-worth and self-esteem.

You don't have to train for a triathlon to reap impressive benefits. Exercise can be as simple as taking the dog for a long walk, signing up for a new fitness class, or exploring a new trail to hike.

Develop an Appropriate Sleep Schedule

Sleep can often be impacted when someone struggles with situational depression. While you cannot always control symptoms of insomnia or hypersomnia, you can establish getting yourself into a predictable routine. This means aiming to go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday.

It also means eliminating things that can aggravate your sleep before bedtime. This includes technology and consume caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.

Make your bedroom a sanctuary! Invest in a comfortable mattress, set of pillows and bed sheets, and try to keep clutter out.

Get Involved with a Hobby

It's important to stay motivated and passionate, even if you struggle with depression. Engaging in a hobby or extracurricular activity can make it easier to keep up with your commitment to self-care.

It doesn't matter what hobbies you pursue. If you don't know what you like, get curious! Take a new class, read a new book, or think about a new skill you'd like to learn.

Relax and Meditate

Research continues to emphasize the importance of meditation and mindfulness for mental health. Learning to relax is an important element of self-care and an important part of situational depression management.

Practice staying mindful in daily situations. Eat slowly and intentionally and without distractions. Take a walk and feel the weather on your back - look at all the scenery around you and practice gratitude for the experience.

Meditating is like exercising - the more you do it, the easier it become and the stronger you get!

What are Treatment Options?

Sometimes, it's not enough to just practice self-care methods and feel better. Some cases of situational depression will require professional treatment.

That's okay, and it's normal. Asking for help is one of the best gifts you can give yourself to achieve recovery.


Depression therapy can help you better understand the origin of your depression. It can also help you develop the appropriate knowledge and coping skills for managing your symptoms.

Your therapist can provide you with a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment to explore your fears and concerns.

While every therapist is different, you can expect to be both supported and challenged in your treatment. You can also expect to learn new things about yourself, others, and the world.


Some people take antidepressant medication to feel relief. A psychiatrist or physician can prescribe you with the appropriate pharmacology treatment.

Sometimes, medication requires a trial-and-error process. This is due to different side effects and individual differences each person experiences.

Oftentimes, the combination of both psychotherapy and antidepressant medication can yield very positive results for situational depression.

Final Thoughts on Overcoming your Struggles

Situational depression is frustrating and scary, but it's not your fault. Life can be incredibly stressful, and it's okay to struggle at times.

You are always worth reaching out for help and support. Ready to reach out for confidential treatment? Schedule a session with our counselling services today.

We are absolutely here for you every step of the way.


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