Depression is a natural part of life that doesn’t always need to be solved with a bottle, and in many cases it shouldn’t be. We all get down from time to time and it’s completely natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone can use a little “pick me up” every now and then and it doesn’t need to come from an RX drug! We’re going to share with you the best ways to fight depression and improve your mood on your own naturally!
Here are the top 10 natural ways to beat depression:
1. GET SLEEP. You need it. You can’t be happy, energetic, or feel great if you are exhausted and running on empty. You need sleep and lots of it! If you are feeling down, make sure you get at least 8-10 hours a night! Turn off your electronics, drink a hot cup of tea and snuggle into your nice warm bed for a solid night’s sleep.
2. GET A ROUTINE. Sometimes if you don’t know what direction to go in, you end up not going in any direction. Having a routine helps you to get up, moving and starting your day. You will feel accomplished after completing your routine and ready for the rest of the day. Depression can strip away at the organization of your life so building the structure back in can greatly improve your productivity and mood.
3. SET GOALS. When you feel depressed you may not feel like you can accomplish anything, let alone feel the urge to accomplish anything. Then you feel worse. Set a goal, small ones at first if you must, that will get you motivated and push you out of your rut. As you complete these small goals, make them bigger and more exciting and find more ways to challenge and push yourself out of your comfort zone until you are too busy reaching goals you forget why you were even sad in the first place!
4. EAT HEALTHY. It’s not just a weight issue, (although weight loss can boost self-esteem) because you can be skinny, and still have a poor diet. By eating healthy foods you provide your body with the essential nutrients, vitamins, antioxidents and minerals it needs to function properly, feel good, and fight depression.
5. EXERCISE. One word for you. Endorphins. These are the the happy-chemicals your body releases that make you happy and also cause addiction! Endorphins get released when you exercise and make you feel good. Not only that, you’ll get your blood circulating, your joints and muscles active, maybe even some fresh outdoor air, and you’ll be feeling wonderful! You don’t need to join a gym, a run around the block or a walk with your dogs on the beach will do, but do it often!
6. THINK POSITIVE. We couldn’t agree more. Many times depression is in the mind. It brews in a storm of negative mental thoughts and the more negativity you project the more negative you stay. You need to rewire the way your brain thinks and you need to always look on the bright side of things. By thinking positive, you can help improve your mood and quality of life.
7. TRY SOMETHING NEW. There may just be something missing from your life that is keeping you down. Try a new activity, visit a new restaurant, make new friends, and most definitely go outside of your comfort zone. New interests and activities help to motivate and build confidence. You never know, you may find something you really enjoy!
8. RESPONSIBILITIES. It’s good to feel needed. Sometimes accountability is all you need to get you out of a rut of depression. What I mean by this is when you have a responsibility that you absolutely must tend to, it gets your day going and it gets you moving. Having a job, volunteering, teaching a class, or scheduling responsibilities into your week will help to structure your life and allow things to fall back into place.
9. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. In a busy world of being a parent, having a full time job, social obligations, financial responsibilities, and everything else, it may be really hard to take time off for yourself to unwind and relax. But you definitely need it. Stress can lead to depression so even if it’s just 10 minutes a day to meditate, 15 minutes a day during your commute to work where you listen to an audio book you love, or 30 minutes a day in a yoga class, or an hour a day watching your favorite TV program or going for a hike… you need to make time in your day for the things you enjoy. Without them we would all become sad and depressed!
10. TALK ABOUT IT. Sometimes your depression is caused by holding too much inside. You need to get your feelings out, whether it’s to a friend, a loved one or a therapist, it’s important to talk about the things that are bothering you, get them off your chest and find ways to be at peace with them and to move forward. A therapist can help you understand and sort out your feelings, and push through them. Your friends can offer advice or simply support, but either way, knowing you’re not alone and that they are there to help you get through it is sometimes all it takes.
BONUS: Get your daily dose of sunlight! Vitamin D is a very important vitamin that we get directly from the sun! Lack of vitamin D can actually contribute to depression, especially in areas that don’t get a lot of sunlight. 15+ minutes a day outdoors to get your daily dose and help make a big impact in your mood!