Call it the “winter blues” or “that time of the month,” but from time to time some of us get depressed. All too often these feelings can lead to a doctor’s visit, which can then lead to a medication and the side effects that come with it.
According to data in a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, antidepressant use in the United States is up 400% with roughly 20 million Americans diagnosed with depression every year. These are drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa and many more, each with their own set of side effects that include nausea, upset stomach, weight gain, sexual side effects, tiredness, insomnia and, more seriously, suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
If you’re looking to try non-drug remedies to alleviate feelings of depression, these lifestyle tips may be right for you.
Natural Ways to Deal With Depression
1. Take a Walk
When you’re feeling blue, try to take even a 5-10 minute walk; preferably outside. The scenery, fresh air and exercise will do wonders and is therapeutic for both the mind and body.
2. De-Stress Your Life
A number of medical doctors have pinned depression on one main thing – stress. So, what is stress? It’s when one or more areas of life are under constant strain. Some common examples of stress are things like financial problems, divorce or relationship troubles, workplace woes and even trouble in the home. Having too much stress can cause illness, and even moderate to severe feelings of depression.
As a first step for anyone under stress, it can be helpful to make a list of what issues are causing these feelings and work out, one by one, solutions to minimize the pressure coming from them. This can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by these problems and, in turn, help to lessen feelings of depression.
3. Change Your Diet
Certain processed foods and a regular diet that is low in nutrients or high in caffeine and sugar can actually cause feelings of depression. The Mayo Clinic even has a suggested diet of nutrient-rich foods to help boost your mood and combat stress.
4. Take B Vitamins
According to experts, a deficiency in B-12 and other essential B Vitamins can play a major role in the overall picture of depression. Taking B Vitamin supplements can help target alleviation of depression, improve mental clarity, relieve PMS symptoms and even lessen your anxiety.
5. Hit the Gym
Whether you’re feeling sad, angry or aggressive – it’s nothing that can’t be worked out at the gym. After a 20-minute run or some weight lifting, I usually feel 100% better about any problem I have. And, there’s the added serotonin boost from exercise that aids in easing depression symptoms.
6. Get More Sleep
Feeling tired or unmotivated? Part of the issue could be lack of sleep. If this is the case try getting 8 hours of sleep for a few nights in a row and see if you notice a difference in physical and mental energy.
7. Increase Your Daily Activity
Simply put, get busy. When we don’t have enough to do, we tend to spend time focusing on the negative and reflecting on feelings of loss and sadness. The trick is to not give yourself time to do so. Take that negative energy from feelings of sadness and utilize it on other things. Pack your schedule with things you enjoy doing or things which are mentally stimulating or challenging in some way. Not only will this help take your mind off of depression, but you’ll get a boost in your morale at the same time.
8. Re-Organize Your Life
A messy home or generally disorganized life can be overwhelming. If you’re feeling buried under a pile of work or you can’t even believe you still have that pair of jeans in your closet from high school, it’s time to clean things up and get organized. Buy a planner and create daily task lists for yourself. Enlist the help of an affordable cleaning lady to help get your messy home under control. These simple things can do wonders for your efficiency and your mood.
9. Change Your Environment
Environmental factors can be a major contributor to someone’s general mood and outlook on life. A change of environment could mean simply taking a vacation or a short trip somewhere. More seriously, if you feel your home has become an unsafe or aggressive environment, or the workplace is a generally negative space to be in, take steps to change this for the long term. These things may be affecting your mood more than you realize.
10. Do Something Nice For Someone Else
One of the most effective ways to feel good about yourself and happy in general is to do something nice for someone else. Hold the door open for a stranger when walking into a store, or help out a friend or family member with errands. Even sending a card or making a thoughtful phone call can boost your mood.
Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. This blog is intended to provide general information and discussion about health, wellness and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice.
If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials.