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10 Natural Ways to Ease Depression

Treatment for depression can be cost prohibitive. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. While severe depression may not be cured completely by these methods, they can help to ease the symptoms of depression—like irritability, sleeplessness, appetite fluctuations, and lapses in concentration.

Full Spectrum Lamp Full spectrum lamps mimic sunlight. Sunlight is a natural way to prevent depressive symptoms, both in people who experience seasonal depressive disorder and people with year-round depression. If you work in a windowless office, purchase one for work. It will lighten your mood, give you energy, and help you stay awake.

Exercise This may be one of the most common and effective ways to ease the symptoms of depression. Exercise not only makes us feel better physically, it improves our mood, focus, energy, and self-image. Not only that, but it can reduce the need for too much sleep or inhibit insomnia. In addition, exercise is good for regulating diet.

Cardiovascular exercise should be included in a daily workout schedule. The endorphins produced will give you a temporary lift—and over time you will see a difference in your overall perspective.

If possible, walk or run outside. This way, natural daylight will also be a part of your exercise regimen.

Yoga or Meditation Relaxation—real relaxation—is essential in people with depressive symptoms. Yoga, which focuses on breath and body movements, centers concentration on the body rather than the problems of the outside world. Meditation can give your mind the break it needs and prepare you to take on daily tasks.

Vitamins and Supplements B vitamins have been shown to reduce not only premenstrual depressive symptoms but overall depression as well, especially for women. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish, can be purchased in capsule form. Taken in regular doses over several weeks, they can improve mood and therefore ease depression.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Caffeine and alcohol both affect mood. Caffeine can give you a temporary buzz, but your body may not adjust so well to coming off this high. Alcohol is a depressant and should be avoided—it can only make you feel worse.

Get a Pet People who have pets have less stress overall. Get a pet and enjoy the affection they give while giving it in return. A fluffy, funny animal always warms the heart—and a cat or dog is good company when you’re feeling your loneliest.

Avoid Naps Napping interrupts your natural sleep schedule, so if you nap, it may be more difficult to sleep at night when you really need it in order to prepare for the next day. Sleep 7-8 hours, but don’t oversleep because this can get your sleep off track, too. A regular sleep schedule paired with exercise is a great way to keep your mind clear and healthy.

Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Eating healthier foods improves your overall health. Junk foods make your body sluggish and a temporary sugar high can make you feel worse than you did before you snacked. Fresh fruits and vegetables also deliver essential vitamins, which is good for all body functions.

Do Something You Enjoy Whether it’s baking, watching old movies, or participating in another hobby, do something for yourself that you enjoy. A time of the week set aside just for you to enjoy something that brings you relief can work wonders to make life seem less drab. It also releases stress and allows you to think about something besides those negative thoughts that accompany depression. It can also be something you look forward to every week.

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Find Support in Your Friends When depression strikes, it’s often easy to push the people you care most about away. However, it can help to talk to someone about how you feel so that you don’t have to carry the burden alone. You may feel like your life is out of control, but a good friend can help you see life from a perspective that you can’t.

Severe depression does need professional treatment, but that treatment isn’t always easy to come by. You can help yourself by making sure you and your body get what they need. Depression may seem like a downward spiral, but these methods may lead to a way out of the cycle of depressive symptoms.

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