I know that I have three days to get rid of a depression using "natural" methods before I need to take medication. So I do the following:
1. Work Outdoors. I spend as much time as possible being outdoors because for me, light is a key issue. I either begin a home improvement project like sanding or painting or I garden.
2. Eliminate the Triggers. I try to determine the triggers that are causing the depression and eliminate them. Sometimes, the triggers are situational; sometimes they're people. If it's situational, I try to identify the problem, figure out ways for eliminating it, and/or decide if I can walk away. If it's a person, I ask myself if I can forgive him/her, if we can calmly discuss the problem, and if all else fails, if I truly need this person in my life.
3. Play Music. I spend as much time as I can playing my harmonica, my ukulele, my accordion, and my autoharp. What I lack in skill, I make up for in enthusiasm.
4. Exercise. During a depression, I try to walk or swim every day. I should be doing this on an ongoing and regular basis and I'm working on becoming more disciplined. Still, when a depression is on the horizon, I immediately begin exercising in order to stimulate my endorphins.
5. Maintain a Positive Attitude.I give myself the following mini-lecture. "If these feelings continue, you will need to start taking your medication. Don't feel bad about it because it's not a sign that your "natural" depression antidotes aren't working. It's just that right now you need something faster-acting. Continue with your natural treatments as well. If you believe that the medication and your natural remedies will work, they will!"