We’re finally beginning to understand that depression is a complex condition. Far from the down days everyone experiences, depression symptoms are severe, and can include -
Commonly, treatment for depression has centered around medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). While going down this route can certainly work for some patients, there are definite downsides to addressing depression with heavy medication. In rare cases, medications like these can even worsen symptoms, as well as bringing a host of adverse side effects.
While seeking proper medical advice is vital, then, many patients who struggle with depression prefer to find natural treatments to help them through. For proof of how effective these can be under medical supervision, we’re going to look at the top 12 options here.
Exercise is a useful course of action for any health condition, and depression is no different. Doing at least 30-minutes of exercise five days a week can go a long way towards improving mood. This happens for a few reasons, including a boost in adrenaline and improved feelings of self-worth. Exercise can also prove a fantastic distraction from stress, worry, and the other general unpleasant feelings associated with depression. It might be that you want to sign up to your local gym so you can enjoy the benefits of working out and socializing. Or you might prefer to exercise at home. It might even be that you want to head out for jogging sessions in your local area. It doesn’t matter how you exercise, as long as you do it!
They say that you are what you eat, and it seems that food can impact mood, too. Of course, no set diet can help with depression, but healthy eating can go a long way towards reducing feelings of lethargy and self-doubt. Not to mention that focusing on a positive diet can help to overcome the sometimes out of control eating habits that often go hand-in-hand with depression. Many patients find that cutting saturated fats and preserved sugars from their diets can go a long way towards eliminating brain fog and general mood swings. Instead, eating a whole-food and informed diet could see depression doing a runner, at least temporarily.
A lack of routine can lead to feelings of restlessness and depression, while depression can also lead to a lack of routine. That’s a vicious cycle, and it’s one you can do away with by focusing your efforts here. Depression can leave sufferers lacking energy or passion for anything, but developing a routine regardless can help to lift you out of that fog. It might be that going to work is all the routine you need, or perhaps it helps to go to bed and wake up at the same time. Either way; bringing some structure to your days can provide a much-needed and often-lacking drive during even depressive periods. Simply get into the habit of writing little to-do lists or making set plans for each day. Then, you’ll find it a lot harder to waste entire days in bed.
Depression can leave you sleeping either too much or not enough, both of which can worsen symptoms and leave you feeling groggy. As such, the right sleep is another natural treatment must. Admittedly this can be easier said than done, but simple steps like setting a bedtime (again, routine) or even just removing distractions from your bedroom can help. Equally, setting the alarm at an appropriate time can ensure that you avoid the emotional strain that can come from oversleeping. As soon as you begin managing to sleep for around 8 hours a night, you should find that you start to feel more energized and less sluggish.
Just as a lack of routine can worsen depression, lacking purpose can also take its toll. When feelings of worthlessness set in, not having any set goal or focus to your days can do real damage to mood. As such, many find that incorporating purpose wherever possible helps to fight those negative feelings. It may be that you take on a volunteer role, or even just commit to an evening club. Even incorporating new responsibilities into your days can help to fight those lackluster feelings and boost your mood moving forward.
Speaking of joining a new club, having things to look forward to can also be a huge help. If there’s nothing exciting on your horizon, feelings of depression are bound to worsen. By comparison, always having something coming up can help to put a spring in your step again. Vacations are always good for this, as are plans with friends or new social efforts like clubs and classes. Suddenly, these things may bring light into your otherwise dark tunnel.
There’s a temptation not to leave the house when depression is extreme, but giving in to this urge is one of the worst things you can do. By forcing yourself to spend time outside, you could enjoy notable increases in mood. Nature has a calming effect in general, but fresh air and the exercise benefits of walking are also guaranteed to sweep away the cobwebs. While effects can be admittedly short-lived, making this a part of your routine could have a significant ongoing impact.
Most of us have a habit of withdrawing or avoiding negative emotions, but sometimes, it can pay to accept these feelings as they come. You aren’t always going to want to look on the bright side, and that’s okay. Noticing this and treating yourself accordingly can help you through. That said, it’s vital to note that acceptance doesn’t mean wallowing. We all need to take it easy and accept that we’re having a bad day sometimes, but make sure that you also work to understand this emotion so you can get past it without wasting too much time. Journaling can be a huge help here as it provides you with a record for future reference. Equally, it’s worth noting what makes you feel better so that you return to it next time.
Everyone knows that unhealthy relationships can worsen or even lead to depression. That said, healthy relationships can also go a significant way towards keeping issues at bay. Time alone can, of course, be beneficial for helping you deal with depression, but complete isolation can make symptoms a whole lot worse. Instead, then, work on building a support network you can trust. Spend time with friends who understand what you’re going through, or even those who have been there themselves. In terms of romance, make sure that your partner gives you the support and encouragement that you need, and do whatever you can to avoid shutting them out when things get tough.
Sometimes, depression can come out of feeling stuck in a rut. Those who feel they can’t change their career or that their days blur into one are far more liable to slip into a dark place. Luckily, they don’t lie when they say that a change is as good as a holiday. While changing career or moving home might not eliminate depression, it can help to remove you from a bad situation. That’s invaluable. Change also has the benefit of helping you to look forward and provide that all-important focus that we’ve already discussed. Whether it's marital issues or troubles with children or step children, these are problems that can improved and honed, especially with therapy. And, while you’re busy planning your new life, you might find that depression starts to take a back seat.
All these medication-free methods take a lot of hard work and dedication, so it’s also vital that you reward yourself in the end. Regardless of age, everyone feels better with a treat or two, so take plenty of time to treat yourself. It may be that you buy yourself flowers every time you manage to exercise for a whole week. Perhaps a treat to you is merely enjoying a new bath bomb after a long day dedicated to the efforts mentioned on this list. These are small things, but they can each have a significant impact on how you cope naturally with depression moving forward.
Sometimes, it helps to have another mind's perspective. Therapy is also extremely beneficial for helping you to talk through and deal with these negative emotions, and that’s something that Dan Johnson here at REID Counseling Group in Katy, Texas, are always on-hand to offer you. With our biblically-based counseling services, we can provide a professional touch that could be the missing piece you need to live a more fufilling life journey. We can also assist you in successfully implementing natural, medication-free remedies & strategies for anxiety & depression, like those mentioned in this post. All you need to do is book an appointment with Dan at (281) 968-9119 today.