9 Natural Ways to Relieve Depression Symptoms
Everyone has days where they feel a bit down or sad. However, when those feelings persist and deepen to affect your motivation levels, sap your energy reserves, and leave you feeling as though everything is hopeless, it might be time to seek medical attention for depression.
The traditional way to treat symptoms of depression is to prescribe antidepressants. However, antidepressant medications only treat the symptoms, not the cause of the problem. While drugs have their place in the effective treatment of depression, there could also be some natural ways to help improve symptoms.
1. Get Some Sunshine
Getting out into the sunshine could help reduce depression symptoms. Research indicates that there may be a link between low vitamin D levels and depression. Various studies learned that people taking vitamin D supplements were more likely to reduce symptoms of depression.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, so making a bit of time each day to get outside and enjoy a few minutes of direct sunshine could be beneficial. Fortunately, it’s also possible to get more vitamin D into your body by eating certain foods. Salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are good sources of vitamin D. Egg yolks are also high in vitamin D.
2. UV Light
The most significant problem many people find is that the sun just isn’t strong enough during the winter months for the body to produce sufficient levels of vitamin D naturally. If you struggle with seasonal depression or symptoms that worsen during winter months, think about investing in a UV light. Research shows that exposure to bright lights or UV lights throughout the winter months can help to increase serotonin levels and help reduce symptoms of depression.
3. Create a Routine
Being depressed can make you feel helpless and hopeless, but depression also has the power to destroy any structure you thought you had in your life. While symptoms are pronounced, it can feel as though every day blends into the next.
The director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA, Ian Cook, suggests setting a gentle daily routine to help manage depression symptoms more easily. When you know you have routine things to get through each day, it can make it easier to get back on track.
Try to get to bed at the same time each night and wake up at similar times every morning. Work on creating a routine for when you do your laundry or do your housework. Simple habits keep you on track and help keep your mind focused on getting through your allocated tasks.
4. Aim at Some Goals
Many people who suffer from depressive illness find it difficult to feel as though they’re able to accomplish anything. Those feelings have the power to compound and darken into sinking feelings of hopelessness that can make you feel even worse about yourself.
Setting small daily goals for yourself can help reduce feelings of hopelessness. As you get through each of your tasks and achieve your daily goals, you also begin to feel better about yourself.
Think about small daily goals, such as making the bed or doing the dishes. Knowing that you’re able to achieve simple things at the beginning of each day can make it easier to stay motivated.
5. Find Some Stress Relief
Stress causes the body to release cortisol, which is the body’s stress hormone. If you’re dealing with constant pressure not correctly managed, you face an increased risk of triggering depressive symptoms.
Learning some healthy ways to manage and relieve stress can help reduce depression symptoms. Studies show that yoga can help combat stress, lower cortisol levels, and promote relaxation.
Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that uses specific postures and poses in combination with controlled breathing techniques. Aside from helping reduce stress levels, yoga also helps trigger the body to release endorphins, which can help to elevate mood and promote a sense of well-being.
6. Boost Your Physical Activity
When you’re down in the depths of despair, the last thing you feel like doing is exercising. After all, one of the persistent symptoms of depression is low energy and low motivation to get moving.
However, getting some physical activity can boost your serotonin and dopamine levels and trigger your brain to release endorphins. Dopamine and endorphins are your body’s natural “feel-good” hormones and serotonin.
You don’t need to run a marathon to feel the benefits. Just find some simple physical activities that can help boost your mood. If you’re feeling blue, get out and walk around the block or stroll along the mall. Get out in the garden and pull some weeds. Turn up the volume on your favorite tunes and dance away those depressed feelings.
7. Meditate and Chill
It might sound annoying to someone struggling with feelings of despair, but making a conscious effort to redirect your attention to more positive thoughts might increase your serotonin levels. Research reveals that meditation can increase the body’s dopamine levels which could help relieve depression symptoms and promote relaxation at the same time.
8. Focus on a Healthy Diet
No magic diet will miraculously fix depression. There are also no specific eating plans or types of foods that will instantly boost your mood or reduce your symptoms.
However, eating a healthy diet could help with your overall treatment, mainly if you include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. There is some evidence that B vitamins play a role in producing certain brain chemicals that affect mood. Research suggests a link between low levels of vitamins B-6 and B-12 and depressive symptoms. Eat foods rich in vitamin B-12, such as fish, lean meat, poultry, and eggs, to help boost your body’s vitamin B levels.
Low vitamin E levels have also been linked to significant depression symptoms. Try to include plenty of foods that are rich in vitamin E, such as spinach, avocado, almonds, or sunflower seeds. Eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, or mackerel. Include plenty of fruits containing lots of vitamin C, including blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, and oranges.
9. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
When you’re struggling with depression, it can be challenging to get the right amount of sleep your body needs. Too little sleep can make depressive symptoms worse, so make an effort to go to bed at the same time each day and wake up at similar times every morning. Avoid taking naps throughout the day so you can stick to your sleeping routine.
When you’re depressed, it’s easy to lose all motivation to do the things you would typically do. While there is no sure-fire way to cure depression instantly, work on integrating some natural alternatives into your daily routine, and you could find your symptoms become easier to manage.