Monday, March 17, 2014

10 Tips for Dealing with Depression Naturally

exercise, healthy, outdoors, family, depression, diet, life, walking, bicycling, holistic, natural

Passing along some helpful tips from an article by Andrea at Frugally Sustainable.

10 Tips for Dealing with Depression Naturally:
Instead of pharaceutical drug therapy, perhaps it would be beneficial to begin looking toward natural remedies for depression.
  1. Prevention is key. If you know your depressive triggers, do all that you can to avoid them. Reduce anxiety, maintain a healthy diet, and participate in an exercise program, all easier said than done I know, yet they are the most effective preventative measures. 
  2. Exercise. If you aren’t exercising on a regular basis I highly recommend it. There are so many different forms of exercise (i.e. yoga, aerobics, weight lifting, running, etc.) Begin slowly building up to at least ½ hour a day – it can be even more beneficial for treating/preventing depression if you can do it outside — this alone will help the blood start flowing to all parts of your body and you’ll begin to feel better almost instantly. The most important element to any exercise program is to find one that is the most suitable for you. 
  3. Diet. Your diet should be high in calcium and B vitamins, cut out the refined carbs, and avoid sugar like the plague. Coincidence that the rate of refined carbohydrates and sugar in our American diet is increasing at an alarming rate and so is the rate of depression? I don’t think so. Eat local, fresh, and sustainable, and use supplements when necessary. 
  4. Herbal supplements. Herbs contain many medicinal powers and can heal a variety of ailments. St. John’s wort is one of the most promising herbs for the treatment of depression. It has been used for centuries by people and cultures all over the world. A few of the other beneficial herbs include passionflower, lavender, lemon balm, Valerian, oat leafy tops, and nettles. Begin researching the benefits of herbs on depression and anxiety while you seek out the council of a certified herbalist, naturopath, or other holistic health care practitioner.  
  5. Get enough sleep. Once in a depressed state, one of two things can happen…you sleep to much or you can’t sleep at all. An excellent way to ward off sleep irregularities is to create a bedtime routine and stick to it every single day. Take a soothing bath (using Epsom salts), drink an herbal tea to help naturally induce restful sleep, reduce stimulants…do whatever works into your lifestyle, but guard your sleep!
  6. Pay nature a visit. Prioritize your time in nature by spending at least 30 minutes a day outdoors. It is essential for us to connect with nature, especially during times of depression. Chop wood, mess around in the garden, walk the dog, take a hike, ride a bike, go canoeing, go skiing…whatever you choose to do, do it outside for at least ½ hour — longer if you can. The exposure to sunlight alone can do wonders.
  7. Use your hands to create something. Revive your God-given gifts — ’cause we all got ‘em — and use them to make something beautiful. I have discovered that the times in which I’ve been the most depressed I have not listened to a longing deep inside of myself…you know, the one that calls me to do something outside of myself. Whether it be making your home, cooking meals for your family, working on your car, leaning to crochet, baking, writing, taking pictures, painting  pictures…stop resisting, follow your heart, and do what you love.
  8. Do something for someone else. When depressed, our thoughts tend to turn inward. We often begin re-living our hurts and sometimes helping other people who are hurting, helps us. It’s theraputic to be able to find meaning in doing good.
  9. Talk it out intellectually. Depression is not the cause of hopelessness and extreme sadness — it is a symptom. If there is a specific problem you are having that is causing these feeling…hit it head on. Research solutions, meet with a therapist or counselor, set goals, and come up with a plan. Do not allow your problems to go unanswered. Hope can be found in moving, step by step toward addressing our issues. 
  10. Call a friend. It could be that we are afraid of becoming a burden to those that love us, but we must remember we are relational beings — specially designed to live in community with others. Resist the temptation to isolate yourself and call a friend!
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