Depression is an illness that affects people in many different ways. It can be characterized by changes in brain chemistry, which leads to physical symptoms like weight gain, trouble sleeping, fatigue, and more. There are many different treatments for depression without medication that can help you manage your symptoms and get back to being yourself again. These treatments are all focused on physical activity, food choices, sleep habits, mindfulness practices, and socialization. In this article, we will discuss 7 of these different treatments that not only help you manage your symptoms, but they help to prevent new ones from developing.
1. Change your diet
This is certainly an important factor in treating depression. A healthy diet not only helps with your physical health but can also affect your mental health. A healthy diet consists of plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid foods high in refined sugars, sodium, saturated fats, or cholesterol-such as carbonated drinks/soda, french fries/potatoes prepared with oils high in omega-6 fatty acids (i.e., sunflower oil), high-fat dairy products like cheese, and fatty cuts of meat like ribs and other red meats.
2. Get plenty of sleep
Be sure to get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night, as insufficient or too much sleep can worsen symptoms of depression. The effects of not getting enough sleep can be felt in many ways: fatigue, weight gain, irritability, lack of motivation, slow cognitive function, and more. Studies have shown that getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night can also help relieve symptoms of depression.
3. Make a commitment to physical activity
In addition to physical activity improving your health overall, it can directly benefit your mental health as well! Exercise has been shown to release chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, which help with symptoms of depression. Exercise also boosts your self-esteem and confidence, helps with stress management, reduces anxiety symptoms, improves sleep patterns, and increases energy levels.
4. Practice mindfulness and meditation
Both mindfulness practices and meditation have been shown to decrease symptoms of depression by helping you live in the present moment. When you’re in the present moment, your mind is not focused on negative thoughts that lead to rumination or worry. Mindfulness practices can be as simple as breathing exercises, taking walks without music/distractions, yoga, mindfulness videos online, etc.
Meditation comes in many different forms-some more formal than others. You can practice at home or you can go to a class. Doing this for just 15-30 minutes each day will help you lead more mindful, less stressful, and happier lives!
5. Spend time with friends and family
People are social creatures. There’s no doubt about it! That’s why cultivating strong ties with family and friends is so important when recovering from depression. Having a solid social network has been linked to less stress, better health behaviors, and improved mental health in general. Even something as simple as sending a text or making a phone call each day can make a difference. They can help you feel more connected and loved, as well as recommend therapies for depression that you may not be aware of, such as many instructional novels, self-help articles, and websites related to depression.
6. Limit alcohol and drug consumption
This one is probably easier said than done, but it’s still worth mentioning! Drinking alcohol and using drugs (illicit or prescription) can worsen symptoms of depression, making it harder to get yourself out of the ruts that come with depression. As we mentioned earlier, there are many different treatments for depression without medication-so limit your usage of mood-altering substances!
7. Limit your caffeine consumption
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can keep you awake and give you “wings” for a little while, but it’s still not as great as it seems. Caffeine can cause sleep problems like insomnia or restlessness, so limit caffeine intake to 1-2 times per day (after 12 pm) if possible. Also, avoid caffeine near bedtime as it can lead to less-than-restful sleep. They also cause dehydration, which can worsen physical symptoms of depression.
Medication isn’t always the answer to depression. Overconsumption and reliance on medication can lead to even more problems in the future. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take action and learn about depression, its causes, and how you can treat it without antidepressant medication. Exercising more or eating a balanced diet may help you cope with the physical aspects of sadness. You may also attempt to socialize with friends, family members, or a counselor who can encourage you.
When dealing with depression, sleep is the last thing you should ignore. It’s critical to obtain at least seven hours of sleep every night to reduce your symptoms. Staying up late and thinking about the future may only make it harder for you to manage depression daily. It is also important to reduce your caffeine consumption and limit your alcohol intake. By following these 7 treatment options for depression without medication, you can be on your way to a more fulfilling life!
Jamie Mervin is a writer and blogger who focuses on depression and its natural cure. Jamie urges individuals to do their research before turning to medication as a method of therapy, rather than rushing into it. In addition, the blogger enjoys providing information regarding depression, anxiety, health & fitness, and more. Jamie has been working for actnowhelpteens, a website that informs individuals in making wise choices about their mental health, anxiety, and depression as well as health and fitness.