Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Coping with dysthymia can be challenging since it can have such a strong hold on your life. Dysthymia makes it hard to engage in behavior and activities that can help you feel better. In addition to the treatments recommended by your doctor or therapist, consider these tips:

  • Focus on your goals. Dealing with dysthymia is an ongoing process. Stay motivated by keeping your goals in mind.
  • Simplify your life. Cut back on obligations when possible, and set reasonable schedules for goals.
  • Keep a journal. Use it to express your pain, anger, fear or other emotions.
  • Read reputable self-help books recommended by your doctor or therapist. Use them as a discussion tool during therapy.
  • Don't become isolated. Try to participate in activities and get together with family or friends regularly.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, get physical activity and get sufficient sleep.
  • Join a support group. Many organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), offer education, support groups, counseling and other resources to help with depression. Employee assistance programs and religious organizations may also offer help.
  • Learn relaxation and stress management. Try such stress-reduction techniques as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga or tai chi.
  • Structure your time. Plan your day and activities. Try to stay organized. You may find it helpful to make a list of daily tasks.
  • Don't make important decisions when you're down. Avoid decision making when you feel depressed or have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly.
Dec. 20, 2012