Dad Depression and How To Get Out of It

lifestyle Feb 20, 2020
Dad Depression and How To Get Out of It

Being a dad comes with many emotional ups and downs. Of the many downs, none can be as debilitating as dad depression.

Depression for dads is more common than you think — the condition affects one in ten dads, especially after the birth of a new child.

If you’re dealing with depression while reading this, we at Dad University are here for you. We’re going to share our tried and tested tips for dealing with depression for dads.

Stick around and by the end of this article, you’ll be empowered with the information here and learn that there’s indeed light at the end of the tunnel.


Our tips (though helpful) aren’t a substitute for professional help. If you’re struggling with depression or are dealing with suicidal thoughts, help is within reach.

Contact any of the following immediately if you’re contemplating suicide or have been depressed for more than six months:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Samaritans: 1-877-870-4673
  • National Hopeline Network: 1-800-442-4673

1. Own It

As dads, we sometimes attach our worth to our ability to remain stoic in the face of depression. While there’s a place for keeping our composure amidst depressive thoughts, it’s important to recognize that depression isn’t a sign of weakness. For this reason, the road to recovery begins with owning the feelings that come with depression and recognizing them.

By taking responsibility for your depression, you’re acknowledging that you have a problem. This awareness becomes the starting point from which you identify problem areas or seek help like counseling or therapy.

2. Stop Complaining

Have you ever noticed that those who are depressed seem to complain more?

The reason for this is that complaining seems to provide some temporary cathartic relief from the feeling of hopelessness and sadness. However, the keyword here is “temporary.” It does little to help you make lasting changes to your mental and emotional health.

This is why a big part of owning your depression is to stop complaining. Instead, take ownership of your situation and recognize that it’s temporary even if it doesn’t seem that way.

By complaining less, you’ll be in the right headspace to move on and move forward in your life. This is especially important for the next tip.

3. Don’t Be a Victim

A surefire way to stay depressed is to be a victim of things that you can’t control. By letting external uncontrollable factors get to you, you’re taking away your power to distance yourself from negative feelings.

Now, we’re not saying that you assume that everything is your fault. Rather, we are encouraging you to acknowledge that there are just some things that are out of your hands. Knowing this, you should focus more on what you can control — things like your actions and reactions.

This way, you’ll no longer be a victim of the things that make you feel inadequate or hopeless. You now get to decide how things will affect you and how you’ll move on.

4. Consume Positive Content

Positive content places uplifting and encouraging messages into your mind. With your mind filled with messages that encourage you, you’ll be in a much more positive headspace, slowly chipping away at the things that depress you.

Positive content can be anything, from music to books to podcasts. You can choose any piece of content. Just make sure that it gives you the lift you need during your darkest moments.

5. Eat Better

Proper nutrition creates the ideal metabolic environment for you to feel your best. By consuming a healthy diet, you’ll also improve the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are the neurotransmitters responsible for mood and motivation.

So, you might be wondering what exactly constitutes “proper” nutrition. Without getting in the weeds, here are some simple tips to dial in your food intake:

  • Avoid or minimize refined sugars
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat more protein (fatty fish like salmon is a game-changer)
  • Stick to natural carbohydrate sources like whole grains

6. Consume Less Alcohol (or Don’t Consume It At All)

It’s easy to reach for a beer or a glass of bourbon when you’re depressed just to “take the edge off.” However, be warned. Alcohol is a potent CNS depressant that can take your negative feelings and crank them up to ten.

Besides the depressant effects, alcohol can also lead to numerous diseases like liver damage. We can go on and on, but the message is simple: There’s no benefit to consuming alcohol, so you’re better off without it when you’re recovering from dad depression.

7. Exercise

Instead of reaching for a drink, reach for a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells and get moving. Exercise has been shown to produce numerous health benefits, including improvements in mood.

Exercise causes the body to release endorphins. These are the body’s “feel good” hormones. With endorphins flooding your system, your mood improves and so does your strength, endurance, and appearance.

8. Practice Gratitude

If there’s one tip you can take away on its own from this post, let it be this — practice gratitude.

Being thankful has a powerful effect on how you perceive the world and yourself. By being appreciative of who you are and what you have, you’ll leave no space for negative thoughts to creep up and ruin your day.

Practicing gratitude isn’t just powerful but also accessible. All you need is a moment in your day to write down several things you’re lucky to have.

Trust us. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your mood elevates after counting your blessings.

9. Get Help

There’s no shame in getting professional help. In fact, it’s actually a sign of strength, humility, and self-awareness.

Getting professional help enables you to develop healthy coping mechanisms and helps you identify the root causes of your depression. With better ways to cope and knowing your triggers, you’ll make lasting changes to your emotional and mental health.

By speaking with a licensed therapist or counselor, you’ll also be dealing with a professional who’s there to support you during your darkest moments.

You Deserve To Be Happy, Fellow Dad

The tips we’ve shared here will help you move forward as you recover from dad depression. However, if you need the support of like-minded dads, we’ve got your back.

Our Dad University Membership includes a supportive online forum where you can talk about depression for dads or anything dad-related.

Watch the "Dad Depression and How To Get Out of It" video here:

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