In the United States, approximately 17.3 million adults have experienced a depressive episode. For many people, depression can be long-lasting.
There are medications that can be beneficial. However, they do not work for all people, and they can cause undesirable side effects. Because of this, many people turn to non-medication methods to help with their depression.
Depression is a condition that can affect all people from all walks of life. Even rich and famous celebrities develop depression.
Finding What Motivates You
Having something to look forward to may help with your depression. This could be a job that you enjoy, a regular outing with a friend or even a hobby you like to pursue. Remember that no one is successful immediately, and this includes the wealthy stars that were not born rich and famous.
When you are experiencing a depressive episode, it may be difficult to do what makes you happy. Take baby steps. Spend a few minutes a day doing things that you enjoy until you find at least one thing that sparks joy and give you motivation.
Keep a Journal
Getting your frustrations and feelings out can help you to deal with them. When people get counseling for depression, it is often recommended that they spend time journaling.
When you write down what is bothering you, it makes it easier to identify your stressors. Once you determine what is contributing to your depression, you can start to formulate a game plan to face it head on.
You only need to spend about 10 minutes a day writing in your journal. There is no wrong or right way to do it. The key is to be consistent and to review it about once a week to find the issues that keep occurring so that you can tackle them.
Use a Planner
When you are depressed, completing all of your daily responsibilities can be challenging. A planner can help you to break everything down into more manageable goals.
For example, if cleaning your house is difficult due to depression, focus on one thing at a time. Plan one time period for the dishes and wiping the kitchen countertops, plan another time period to vacuum your living room and then plan another short block of time to make your bed.
When you break things down into small bits, it feels far less overwhelming than just putting “clean the house” or something similar in your planner. Take breaks in between each task to do something relaxing so that you do not mentally or physically exhaust yourself.
As you keep using your planner and breaking down your tasks, you will eventually just do things according to a schedule. As you get into the swing of your schedule, this can help to motivate you to tackle your responsibilities without having to even think about it or find the energy.
Exercise is a type of natural antidepressant. You have probably heard the term “runner’s high.” This occurs due to a release of endorphins that elevate your mood naturally.
Getting into an exercise routine takes time, so do not rush it. Start with short walks once a day and build from here. What is important is that you find the types of physical activity that you enjoy. If you have to force yourself to exercise, you are not likely to stick to a routine.
Once you start adopting a routine, you should perform it most days of the week. Not only does the endorphin release help but exercise also aids you in reducing stress. When you find exercise types that you enjoy, it also gives you something to look forward to.
All of the benefits help with depression. Just remember that it can take time and you need to exercise regularly to reap the full benefits.
Check Your Diet
People can experience mood swings when their blood sugar gets low. To prevent this, you should eat regularly. Keep some healthy snacks with you, such as fruit or nuts, so you can eat in between meals when you are running errands, attending classes or at work.
The brain’s serotonin receptors are what many antidepressants act on to reduce the symptoms of depression. There are certain foods that can help to boost the levels of serotonin in your body so that you get the mood lift without the medications.
Add the following to your diet to enhance serotonin levels:
• Coconut oil and other healthy fats
• Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial, says Harvard.edu. You can get this nutrient from a variety of fish, such as sardines, mackerel, wild salmon, herring and anchovies
• Increase your protein intake, especially proteins that also contain tryptophan, such as turkey
You should also reduce your caffeine intake. When you consume a lot of caffeine, this can decrease serotonin levels, contributing to depression symptoms.
Use Stress-Relieving Methods
When people experience depression, stress can be more difficult to handle, according to Healthline. Even events that only cause a little stress can seem overwhelming. Having some methods to cope with the stress can help you.
Deep breathing is often recommended because it is easy and you can do it anywhere. This may also be beneficial for the panic attacks that can sometimes accompany stress and depression.
To start with deep breathing, inhale deeply for five seconds, hold it for three seconds and then release your breath over five seconds. You can repeat this until you feel calmer and more relaxed.
Other things that can help to reduce stress include reflexology, yoga or gentle stretching and doodling. If you enjoy doodling, you can add it to your planner or journaling habits to further the benefits of these techniques. Experiment with different stress-relieving techniques to see which ones work the best for you.
If you are currently taking a medication for depression, it is important to not stop cold turkey. Withdrawal symptoms are possible with many medications. Work with your doctor to wean yourself from the medication while using non-medication methods for your depression.