Genesis Counseling Center
Dr. Amaya Rucker, Psy.D. LCP

Susan is a young mother of two children. She often finds herself feeling as if she is no longer happy in her life. She has trouble making decisions and has noticed an increase in her weight over the last couple of months. Susan has found herself very agitated and irritable with her husband and children. She is constantly tired and has to pull herself out of bed each morning.

Susan is experiencing very common signs of depression.  Although it is common for everyone to feel down from time to time, most people experience only mild feelings of sadness. People experiencing depression often have persistent feelings of sadness, even when good things happen to them. They may have trouble with everyday tasks such as focusing on work and making simple decisions. 

Symptoms of depression include: feelings of hopelessness and loss of interest, a decrease in pleasurable or joyful feelings, trouble concentrating and making decisions, fatigue, disruptions in normal sleep, such as an increase or decrease in the amount of sleep, and either a decrease OR increase in appetite.  If these symptoms sound familiar, click here to take our depression quiz.

What to do?

If you feel you or someone you know is experiencing depression, do not ignore the symptoms. Depression is treatable. Often individuals who are experiencing depression can begin to feel much better by following these simple steps:

  1. Tell someone! Although it may be hard to reach for that phone, support from others can help people who are experiencing depression symptoms. Tell a friend, and call a counselor, therapist or psychologist. This support system can provide you with encouragement and help to sort out solutions. Research shows talk therapies are very effective in treating depression.  There are many trained therapists at Genesis Counseling Center that can help.  Just call 757-827-7707 in Hampton or 757- 564-3100 in Williamsburg. 
  2. Get moving! With depression comes a decrease in the pleasurable chemicals in the brain. Exercise is known to cause an increase in these chemicals. A simple increase in activity, such as going for a walk can help.
  3. If your symptoms are severely negatively impacting your life, you may also want to talk to your physician. It is always very important to notify your doctor of changes in your physical and mental health. Depression can sometimes be related to other physical conditions (for example: thyroid issues, diabetes, cancer treatment, post-surgery recovery from anesthesia, and more).  Additionally, there are medications which can help to improve mood in severe cases.  Research shows that some people experiencing moderate to severe depression need both the support and help of counseling as well as medication. 

List of Pleasurable Activities:

  • Talk on the phone
  • Go out with a friend
  • Invite friends over
  • Text friends/family
  • Organize a party
  • Exercise
  • Take a yoga class
  • Go for a long scenic walk
  • Watch the clouds
  • Star gaze
  • Go jog
  • Ride a bike
  • Go hiking
  • Roller/ice skating
  • Try a new adventure sport like surfing, sky-diving, kayaking, etc.
  • Go to a playground and join or watch a game
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Putt-putt golf
  • Billiards
  • Tennis
  • Get a massage
  • Go sit outside
  • Go for a drive
  • Ride the bus somewhere new
  • Plan a trip somewhere new, maybe even nearby
  • Take a nap
  • Eat a treat
  • Cook your favorite dish
  • Try a new recipe
  • Take a cooking class
  • Go out to a restaurant you haven’t been to yet
  • Babysit a friends dog
  • Bird watch
  • Wildlife watch
  • Read the Sunday comics
  • Go to the movies
  • Watch TV
  • Listen to the radio
  • Go to a sporting event
  • Play a board or card game with a friend
  • Play solitaire
  • Play video games
  • Chat online
  • Surf the internet
  • Create your own website
  • Create your own blog
  • Join a Christian meetup site
  • Sell unwanted items on the internet
  • Buy something on the internet
  • Do a puzzle
  • Go shopping
  • Get a haircut and/or get a mani pedi
  • Go to the Library
  • Go to church
  • Go to (or join) a small group church meeting
  • Go to the book store
  • Read your bible
  • Pray
  • Do something nice for others
  • Go out for coffee/tea
  • Go to a museum or art gallery
  • Write a letter to God
  • Play an instrument or learn how to
  • Write a song or poem
  • Listen to upbeat music
  • Dance
  • Make a movie
  • Take pictures
  • Join a theater group
  • Plant a garden
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Sign up for a new class
  • Read a novel
  • Write letters to friends/family
  • Journal
  • Write a letter to yourself only speaking of your strengths
  • Draw/paint/sculpt
  • Make a list of positive role models/people you look up to
  • Write about the funniest or craziest thing that has ever happened to you
  • Write a letter to someone who has improved your life
  • Make a list of ways to improve other people’s lives
  • Call a friend or family member
  • Create your own list of fun activities
  • Go to the mall or park to people watch
  • Learn a new language
  • Sing/learn a new song



Additional Resources:

Depression in Adolescents and Children: Dysthymic Disorder