If you struggle mentally every day, barely getting out of bed in the morning, feeling unmotivated and sad at work and with friends and family, and coming home just to slump into bed again, there’s a great possibility that you’re suffering from depression.
While being sad from time to time is completely normal, the feeling of constant despair and hopelessness isn’t sadness—it’s something more. Luckily, depression is not only durable but also preventable! With a few lifestyle changes, you can become a healthier and happier human.
One of the best self-prescribed depression prevention tools definitely exercises. According to experts and patients, just 30 minutes a day of exercise, three to five days a week, can help you battle depression, reduce stress, boost mood and self-esteem and improve sleep. One of the side-effects of exercise is also losing weight and gaining muscle without starving yourself. Regular exercise will allow you to burn a lot of calories and help you keep your weight off. Being happy and proud of the way you look is a huge self-esteem booster that can help with depression.
Eating well is very important for every part of the human body, but it can also help regular your mood. Probably the easiest way to start pushing your diet in the right direction is to ditch junk food. Even though tasty, foods packed with saturated fat and refined sugar are very bad for your overall health and weight. Instead of reaching for junk food, try incorporating more omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids into your diet. These healthy fats can be found in fish, nuts, fresh fruits and veggies, and olive oil.
You might also boost your intake of amino acids. All the neurotransmitters in the brain are made of amino acids, so they play a huge role in keeping your brain healthy. So, keep some lean meat or dairy on your plate during every meal. Some carbs can also be beneficial (the complex kind). So, think more whole grains, legumes, veggies like spinach and broccoli and fruits like pears and oranges.
Ditching alcohol and drugs
Depression and substance abuse is often connected. It’s estimated that around 20 percent of people who suffer from depression also have issues with alcohol and drug abuse. While a moderate intake of alcohol for most people isn’t detrimental to their health, in people who suffer from depression, alcohol can cause their symptoms to get worse when under the influence.
Even though it might seem like drugs and alcohol help with depression, the relief is only temporary. Luckily, there are natural remedies that can help with depression and anxiety and not harm health or cause addiction. For instance, you can try hemp oil for anxiety and see how it affects you. This oil can help with stress and anxiety as well as with inflammations, digestive health, cardiovascular health, and sleep. So, if you’re looking for a natural way to relieve your condition, feel free to try hemp.
You can also include cognitive behavioral therapy into your lifestyle. This type of treatment is trying to change your patterns of thinking which can be very beneficial in people suffering from depression (oftentimes more effective than medication). Find a good doctor and you will figure out together what kind of therapy fits you the best, but talking therapy often helps. It’s usually easier to talk to counselors and therapists about your problems than to turn to family and friends out of fear of judgment. Talking to strangers allows people to address their symptoms freely, identify triggers and find ways to deal with symptoms. While therapy is usually one-on-one, there are also support groups some people might find effective.
Once you identify your triggers, you can start working on their avoidance. While it’s much better to deal with triggers and stop them from triggering your depression, that’s not always possible, so avoiding them is a good strategy to relieve your symptoms. For instance, if a particular person or a group of people trigger your negative feelings, you might want to stop seeing them and try to avoid their presence. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible or easy, but you simply need to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of having them in your life and make a hard decision. While avoiding triggers is definitely important, the biggest success is their identification first!
Meditation is an ancient practice of breathing exercises and repetition of mantras in the hope of achieving certain positive outcomes. In Buddhism, the goal of meditation is finding enlightenment, while western practitioners focus more on stress and anxiety relief and relaxation. It does take a lot of practice, but if you keep at it, meditation can help with sleep regulation and deep-breathing techniques can help relieve stress and calm your mind.
Stress is a key part of life, especially in today’s hectic world. However, chronic stress can be truly unbearable, especially for someone struggling with depression. It’s best to battle stress with experiences that are soothing yet fun. While stress management is different and unique for every person, some common ideas that people use to relieve stress are reading a good book or watching comedies. You can also find a new hobby and dedicating time to it. Listening to relaxing music, exercising, running alone and writing in your journal are also great solutions.
Losing sleep is a common side-effect and complication of depression. Not being able to fall asleep with a brain that’s racing and bombarding you with all sorts of negative thoughts or waking up in the middle of the night not being able to go back to sleep is very common with depression patients. Also, the fatigue from the lack of sleep can worsen the symptoms, so it’s a vicious circle! In order to improve your sleep, try meditation and introduce a good bedtime routine. Following a consistent sleep schedule is also important and helpful.
Depression is a hard opponent, but if you follow these above-mentioned tips, you will come out a victor in your duel. Life will be happy and fun again!