5 Natural Ways To Combat Depression

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Depression sucks. It zaps the color out of you, leaving you feeling lost, empty, and wondering if you’ll ever see the sun shining again.

We can’t ignore the presence of mental health issues like depression. During pandemic times or economic recession, rates of anxiety and depression usually surge to new heights, and it’s likely either you or someone you know is affected by this challenging condition.

Depression can be truly awful, with its symptoms of worthlessness, sadness, and a loss of interest, even in the activities we once loved. If you’ve tried all you can to cope but still can’t get that weight off your shoulder, you might need to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for guidance. However, alongside professional help, it’s worth exploring all- natural ways to combat depression.

While therapy and medication are important treatment options, it’s worth knowing that there are also natural ways to combat depression. This article aims to focus on some of these natural methods that have been scientifically proven to reduce depression symptoms.

 

01

Prioritize Your Gut Health

You’ve probably come across the buzz about gut health on influencers Instagram stories, and guess what? It’s something worth exploring for everyone.

According to this study, a whopping 90 percent of the body’s serotonin, a key player in mood, sleep, digestion, and many other bodily functions, is produced in the digestive tract. So, if you care about your mental health, it’s essential to pay attention to your serotonin levels, and that starts with taking care of your gut.

Havard highlights the fascinating gut-brain connection that reveals the numerous mental health benefits of investing in your gut health. And the good news is, you can begin this journey by simply looking out for signs of an unhealthy gut and discussing them with your doctor. There are also some straightforward ways to improve or maintain your gut health that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

Consider taking a probiotic, which helps promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Additionally, regularly consuming fermented foods like sauerkraut or kombucha can work wonders for your gut, thanks to their natural probiotic content. Don’t forget about yogurt, another gut-friendly food you can enjoy. And of course, hydration is key, so make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your gut happy. 

 

02

Exercise

Want lots of energy, feel good, and even add years to your life? Simple. Just exercise.

Everyone knows that excercises such as going for a walk or run on a sunny day can lift our spirits? But do you know how good regular exercise is to your overall health?

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A study conducted in 2018 looked at the results of 33 clinical trials involving over 1,800 people. The researchers found that individuals with mild to moderate depression who engaged in resistance training two or more days a week experienced significant reductions in their symptoms compared to those who didn’t exercise. What’s even more interesting is that the study suggested that resistance exercises may be particularly helpful for people with more severe depressive symptoms.

But it doesn’t stop there. Other studies have shown that strength training can also reduce anxiety. So, incorporating this form of exercise into your routine is definitely a good idea. Just ask fitness influencer Mari Llewellyn, who completely transformed her life by losing 90 pounds. She swears by strength training as her favorite form of exercise. According to Mari, it not only improves her physical health but also has a positive impact on her mental well-being.

 

03

Journaling

Say, you’re sitting on your couch, feeling down in the dumps, and your mind is a swirling tornado of raging thoughts. And you can’t pinpoint your feelings? Well, guess what? Journaling is a great place to start.

One of the first steps on this quest is self-reflection. Take a moment to peer into the depths of your soul and understand your own unique battle with depression. What are the triggers? How does it manifest in your life? That’s where journaling comes in.

Journaling is an activity where you write about your thoughts and feelings. And there is some evidence that journaling may be helpful for a range of mental health conditions, including depression. 

When you’re depressed, your thoughts are tangled, but jotting down your feelings and experiences is  like unraveling a yarn ball one strand at a time. It helps you make sense of the chaos and gain some clarity amidst the emotional fog.

As you write, you are more likely to stumble upon patterns, triggers, or hidden gems of insight that you never knew existed, that’s why it’s a magical tool that can help you dump all those thoughts and emotions onto the pages, giving your mind a much-needed breather. You can either begin a journaling practice by freely writing about your thoughts or by following a journaling book or prompt.

04

The power of Vitamin D and Its Impact on Our Mental Health

We tend to feel better when we soak up some sunshine, and that’s because sunlight helps our bodies produce vitamin D naturally. But sometimes, especially during certain seasons or if we spend a lot of time indoors, our vitamin D levels can dip.

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That’s where a vitamin D supplement can come in handy. Studies have shown that vitamin D is beneficial for our mental well-being. However, before you start popping those supplements, it’s important to consult with your doctor. They can run a blood test to determine if you’re deficient in vitamin D and advise you on the appropriate dosage.

Even better, combining vitamin D with vitamin K can enhance absorption and provide even greater benefits for both your mental and physical health. (Just don’t forget to consult your doctor about the appropriate dosage for vitamin K as well).

If you prefer alternative methods, spending more time outside in the sun can naturally increase your vitamin D levels. Don’t forget to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. 

What About St. John’s Wort tea?

It’s been known to help, but it’s crucial to check with your doctor first, as it may interact negatively with other medications or supplements.

It’s all about finding the right balance and consulting with your doctor to ensure you’re taking the best approach for your individual needs.

Lastly, you can also boost your vitamin D intake by consuming foods that are rich in this essential nutrient. Consider incorporating salmon and eggs into your diet for a delicious and nutritious way to support your mental health.

05

Get Enough Sleep

Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep in supporting your overall gut health.

Turns out, a good night’s sleep is not just a luxury, it’s a vital ingredient in your mental well-being recipe. Nearly 75% of people dealing with depression struggle with insomnia. But it’s not just that depression messes with your sleep, a lack of quality rest can actually increase your risk of developing chronic depression

Want to conquer those sleepless nights and give depression a run for its money? Don’t worry I come bearing tips, they might not be the answer to all your problems, but they’re a handful of tips to help you sleep better.

Cut Your Caffeine Intake

First things first, caffeine might be the magical elixir that gives us a jumpstart in the morning. While a little dose of caffeine can be a game-changer, it’s best to limit it to the morning hours.  It’s best to stay off coffee or energizing soda in the afternoon and evening. And remember, caffeine lurks in all sorts of treats like tea, chocolate, and even some ice creams.

Avoid Alcohol at Night Times

Alcohol and stimulants like nicotine are no friends of quality sleep. It’s wise to steer clear of them before bed.

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Electronic Devices

Yes, they’re culprits too. The blue light they emit messes with our sleep hormones, making it harder for us to catch those much-needed sleep. Consider unplugging and letting your mind unwind before hitting the hay.

As mentioned earlier, exercise is your friend. Engaging in regular physical activity can work wonders for your sleep patterns. Just be mindful of the timing. While exercise is fantastic, it’s best to avoid vigorous workouts in the evening hours, as they can rev up your system and make it trickier to wind down.

Create a Bedtime Routine

Think of it as your personal sleep ritual. It could involve a relaxing activity like reading, followed by the usual brushing of teeth and getting cozy for bed. By establishing a routine, you’re signaling to your body and mind that it’s time to wind down and prepare for a peaceful slumber.

Organize Your Sleep Environment

Last but not least, Your sleep environment equates comfort which is key for your health. Some people find that a cool, dark room with a hint of soothing white noise sets the stage for a restful night. Experiment and find what works best for you. Your sleep sanctuary should be a haven, a place where you can escape the troubles of the day and drift off into dreamland.

If these tips don’t quite do the trick and your sleep problems persist or worsen, it’s time to reach out for some extra support. Consider talking to a healthcare professional or therapist who can guide you further on your quest for restful nights. They’re the experts who can provide personalized advice and help you navigate the sleep-depression connection.

Closing Thoughts

Beating depression isn’t a quick fix, like slapping a Band-Aid on a paper cut. It’s a journey, a rollercoaster ride through the peaks and valleys of your emotions. There will be days when you feel like you’re on top of the world, ready to conquer anything that comes your way. And then, there will be days when even getting out of bed feels like an Olympic feat. That’s okay.

Be patient with yourself. Beating depression takes time, and there will be setbacks along the way. But remember, each step forward, no matter how small, is a victory. 

These natural methods might not miraculously transform you into a beacon of sunshine and make you feel 100% better, so it’s still crucial to seek guidance from a mental health professional. Incorporating these natural remedies into your daily self-care routine will help relieve your symptoms.

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