Depression is a difficult and debilitating disorder. It’s not uncommon for symptoms to sneak up on a person, starting with crankiness, weight gain, body aches, a lack of energy, or a feeling of numbness as you walk through your daily routine. The sooner you recognize the warning symptoms, the sooner you can take action.
Check out these eight natural ways to deal with the onset of depression
Exercise bathes your brain in endorphins, happy hormones that can help offset the chemical imbalance that may be associated with your sinking mood. The adrenaline burst of regular exercise also helps you feel more energetic and connected to the world.
About ten million people in the U.S. suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder, a mood disorder related to the amount of natural light available in certain seasons.
Yet even those who don’t get the winter blues can feel a boost in mood by spending some time in the sunshine. Sunshine aids in the production of vitamin D and regulates circadian rhythms to help you sleep at night.
Getting a good night of deep, restful sleep is vital for physical and mental health. Without it, you’ll be cranky and chronically fatigued, which can worsen depression symptoms. Set up good sleep habits by adhering to a routine bedtime and wake-time and removing all screens from your bedroom.
While theories on nutritional supplements for depression vary, maintaining a healthy diet, low in refined sugars and “junk food”, helps regulate weight gain and smooth out the blood sugar swings that can lead to moodiness and irritability. Take a multivitamin supplement to ensure that you’re getting the vitamins and minerals your brain needs.
Depression often leads to isolation, so make a point to socialize with good friends. Social interaction with caring loved ones can turn your thoughts to happy interests as well as draw you out of yourself.
Involving yourself in new activities and adventures helps push back on the urge to burrow under the covers. If you’ve ever wanted to take a Zumba class or visit that new museum exhibit, now’s the time to indulge. New experiences cause chemical changes in the brain and release dopamine which positively affects cognition and emotion.
Keeping a journal of the symptoms you’re experiencing and the negative thoughts you may be having can help give perspective. Seeing those thoughts on paper will help you question their logic and thus challenge them. A journal may also be helpful in recognizing when your symptoms aren’t abating and you may need more help.
Get Professional Help
Natural methods of dealing with depression may only go so far. If you feel your symptoms persist despite your efforts, or they’re getting worse, never hesitate to seek professional help. Depression is a mood disorder that can be treated both in therapy as well as medically to give you real relief.