Depression has a knack for making you feel helpless and hopeless.
Therapy and sometimes medication are great methods to treat this illness, but there are so many other things that you can do — and should do — on your own to fight back.
By changing your behaviors, adding physical activity, or making lifestyle adjustments, you’ll find that there are plenty of natural depression treatments that can help you feel better.
Have a Routine
Ever felt like one day just melts into the next? Depression has a habit of stripping away the structure from your life. It’s like being in a freefall.
Having the structure of a routine can help get you back on track. Just make sure it’s a gentle daily schedule that you can actually adhere to on a regular basis. Include even the smallest basics, like brushing your teeth and eating meals.
Set Attainable Goals
Depression might make you feel like you can’t accomplish anything, which in turn makes you feel even worse about yourself. Try setting daily goals for yourself. If you’re a list person, write them down so you get the pleasure of marking them off.
However, you should start small with things you can succeed at. If your goals are too lofty and unachievable, it’ll backfire and make you feel worse.
Get Up and Move
Exercise has been proven to make us feel better. It actually boosts endorphins, the feel-good chemicals our brains. In fact, some studies suggest that it might even have long-term benefits, as it seems to encourage the brain to rewire itself in positive ways.
The good news? You don’t have to hit the gym if that’s not your thing. Just a walk around the neighborhood a few times a week can do the trick.
Of course, there’s no magic diet that fixes depression. But it’s well-known that how we eat affects many other aspects of our well-being, and that’s no different when you’re dealing with depression.
Stick with a healthy diet. Eating foods that are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, protein, and fatty acids is key to keeping your brain in working order. Plus, taking care of your body and becoming healthier can give you an extra boost.
Get Enough Sleep
Depression often affects sleep. It may make you sleep more, or it might make you sleep less. If it’s making it hard to get enough shut-eye, that lack of sleep could be making your depression worse.
This one’s difficult to battle, but start by making a few lifestyle changes. Try not to nap too late in the day, stick to a routine of going to bed at the same time each night, and get rid of any screens — no phones, TVs, or computers — in your room.
Do Something New
Sometimes, breaking out from the usual can help you get out of a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Visit a new museum, have a picnic lunch at the park, or volunteer at a local soup kitchen.
When you challenge yourself with something new, it causes chemical changes in the brain. It alters the levels of dopamine, the brain chemical associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning.