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For many people, depression can be a daily visitor. It may stick around for a few hours or it could be a part of your life for years with no relief. When you don’t know how to deal with your depression, it can get the best of you.
I’ve suffered from depression as far back as I can remember. From an abusive childhood, to an abusive marriage, to job trouble, and beyond—I’ve had many reasons to be both anxious and depressed. The tips I am going to list are things that have personally helped me.
These tips in no way replace the need to speak to your doctor about your depression. Talking to a professional can really help, and medication is also a helpful option for some. However, you can add some basic mood-boosting routines to your daily life that may help you get out of that slump faster.
When you're depressed, it can be hard to get up off the couch or out of bed. Exercise is the last thing you want to do (I know, I’ve been there plenty of times). The thing is, it’s one of the best things you can do. Even 20 minutes of medium- to high-impact aerobics (just dance to some music you like) can boost your mood by releasing endorphins (those feel-good chemicals).
You don’t have to do anything fancy. Get up and run in place for 20 minutes if that’s all you can muster. Do this each day and it will help boost your mood a little at a time, plus it will increase your energy so you can workout more or just get more done around the house when you’re feeling better.
Banishing Bad Habits
While our bad habits may make us feel better at the time we’re partaking in them, in the long run, they’re harming us more. One of the worst things we humans tend to do when we’re feeling down, whether we’re having a bad day or in the throes of deep depression, is self-medicating.
Instead of drinking alcohol, increase your water intake. Dehydration has many awful effects on the body. Stop smoking. You decrease your risk of lung cancer, save money, and you join the many people that have realized this stinky habit isn’t worth their time. Overeating and undereating are both possible side effects of depression (as well as causes of it for some). Learn to control your eating patterns, even if you need to keep a food diary.
Find things that help reduce your stress, aside from fitness. Stress can have a big effect on depression, it’s part of that dual diagnosis thing that comes with most mental illnesses.
Meditation and yoga are two excellent stress-relieving techniques. I recently began using the CalmiGo breathing device and find that it not only helps me come down faster from panic attacks, but it takes me out of my mind when I am feeling overly stressed and it helps me calm down. It’s all about the regulated breathing.
Aromatherapy is another thing that can help with stress reduction. Lavender is a very relaxing scent. You can use lavender oil in a diffuser or partake in some lavender tea to help ease your nerves and your mind.
The things you put in your body, including food, help determine your health. Eat brain-boosting foods, like fruits and vegetables. Healthy fats and foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids, like nuts and avocados, also help with depression.
Cut down on snacking. Cut out sugar and salt (as much as you can). Lay off the caffeine. These are all addictive or unhealthy things in much of the foods we eat.
Spending some time outdoors is great for boosting your mood. The fresh air will help clear your mind of those cobwebs.
The natural sunlight offers your body much needed Vitamin D (you get your recommended daily dose in just 15 minutes in the sunshine). If it’s raining, don’t let that keep you indoors—rain contains Vitamin B12, a natural mood booster.