Unfortunately, people who feel depressed also tend to feel quite helpless. However, they are not. Except for therapy and medications, there is a lot of things you can do to fight back depression. Read on to learn about 10 natural and healthy ways to get your life back.
1. Get in a routine
If you are depressed, a routine can go a long way, according to Ian Cook, MD, a psychiatrist, and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program, at UCLA. Depression works in such a way that it strips away the structure of a person’s life, as one day melts into the next, in a never-ending cycle. Therefore, a gentle daily schedule helps with getting back on track.
2. Set goals
Depressed often feel like they cannot accomplish anything, making them feel even worse about themselves. To fight this, try to set daily goals for yourself and accomplish them slowly, and then add more challenges. Dr. Cook says, “Start very small. Make your goal something that you can succeed at, like doing the dishes every other day.”
Working out and being active temporarily boosts the happy-hormones, endorphins, while they also have long-term benefits. Regular exercise can rewire the brain in positive ways, says Cook. What is more, you do not have to be a fitness freak, as even walking a few miles a day can help.
4. Eat healthy
Do not expect a magic diet that makes depression go away, but it is always a good idea to care about what you eat. If you overeat as a result of depression, gaining control of your it will make you feel much better. Dr. Cook adds that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and tuna, and folic acids like spinach and avocado may help with depression.
5. Get enough sleep
Worse for many, depression can make it hard to get enough sleep, while too little sleep makes depression worse, resulting in a vicious cycle of insufficient sleep.
Changes to the lifestyle is the place to start. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, and try your best to avoid naps. Remove all distractions from your bedroom, like computers and TVs. In time, your sleeping habits should improve.
6. Take on responsibilities
Depression tends to pull you back from life and make you give up responsibilities, both at home and work. You must try your hardest to stay involved, as daily responsibilities with maintaining a lifestyle that counters depression. The sense of accomplishment each day is a great cure. Even part-time responsibilities will do. If it seems too much, reduce it and try again.
7. Challenge negative thoughts
When battling depression, most of it is mental. Basically, it is the changing of how you think that is the most beneficial, and the hardest thing to achieve. Depressed people often leap to worst-case scenarios. When you feel terrible about yourself, try using logic as a natural depression treatment to help you. If you feel like nobody likes you, ask yourself if this is actually true and is there evidence to it. It takes practice and time, but it is well worth it.
8. Check with your doctor before using supplements
Dr. Cook says, “There’s promising evidence for certain supplements for depression,” Cook says. Fish oil and folic acid are some. However, more research is necessary before it is confirmed. Check with your doctor before taking a supplement, especially if you are on some medication already.
9. Do something new
When one is depressed, they do not feel like doing anything, even things that they usually love. Therefore, it is smart to try and push yourself to do something new. Push yourself to do something new different until you experience something pleasant. Cook adds, “When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in the brain. Trying something new alters the levels of [the brain chemical] dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning.” You could even try a different sort of therapy like the one offered at PulseTMS.
10. Try to have fun whenever you can
If you are depressed, try to make enough time for all the things you enjoy. If nothing seems fun, “that’s just a symptom of depression,” says Cook. The key is to keep trying regardless. It does sound strange, but you will have to work on having fun. Plan in advance, and do the like you must if you have to. “When you’re depressed, you can lose the knack for enjoying life. You have to relearn how to do it. In time, fun things really will feel fun again.”