Living with depression is not easy; and contrary to popular belief, it does not get any easier once you've battled through your first depressive episode. Once you have returned to your 'normal' life - back to work, back to socialising with family and friends - the next challenge is perhaps just as difficult as the last. However, learning how to keep your depression at bay is vital if you want to continue living your life to the fullest.
The first step is to take it easy - this is often easier said than done. Your mind and your body have just gone through a traumatic experience, so you need to give yourself the proper amount of healing time, even after you may feel you are back to your usual self. You might find that small events in your day-to-day life will provoke certain moods, so it's key to recognise this and to be prepared. Taking back your life one step at a time will be a lot more beneficial for you in the long run, rather than returning to it with a charging force.
Once you have regained control of your life, it is also important to remember that depression can strike at any time, even if you are seemingly happy. Should these low moods and other emotional changes begin to make an appearance, perhaps even years after you are well again, you must stay calm. It's often easy for us to ignore them, or worse, feel angry for slipping back into a depressive state. However, you have not failed. You are still strong. Depression relapses happen, especially in the winter time when SAD is common and they are not a sign of weakness or even stress. They are simply a blip on the radar and just as you dealt with much, much worse before, you can deal with this.
The most important advice one can give to keep depression at bay is to stay healthy not only in body, but in mind too. Do things you enjoy, take time out for yourself and learn to say no to those stressful situations. Stay vocal and talk about your mental health too and don't be afraid to ask others for help should you need it.