For certain people living with depression, prescription medications work great. They can have antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, they can have some unwanted side effects, which can be the reason you would want to look for alternative ways to manage your depression.
There are many ways to counter any of the symptoms of depression that do not require medications. If you have depression, you may prefer to learn an alternative way to manage depression internally. Try to avoid medication or supplement the antidepressant with other strategies. If so, try out these natural alternatives and speak to your doctor about making sense as part of your care regimen.
What are Alternative Ways to Manage Depression?
Always take signs of depression seriously, and depression doesn’t simply go away on its own. There are many things you can do to help your mental health. But don’t ever try to treat your symptoms on your own. Speak to your doctor about some of the self-help strategies that could improve your treatment.
1. Get More Vitamin D
There is some evidence that a lack of this essential nutrient may play a role in depression. If you are not getting enough vitamin D from your diet and lifestyle (such as exposure to sunlight), ask your doctor if you should start taking a supplement.
Certain nutritional deficiencies can play a role in the symptoms of depression. If you have difficulty spending enough time outside or overcast weather conditions, making it hard to get sunshine, a supplement may be beneficial.
2. Cut Back on Caffeine
Coffee, tea, soda, and even chocolate are stuffed with caffeine. It’s good to indulge in a reasonable amount of caffeine in the morning. But if you do, don’t drink caffeine late in the afternoon, so it doesn’t mess with sleep.
If you rely on caffeine, consider cutting back gradually to prevent caffeine’s withdrawal effects. Whether you’re hunting for a drink or a cup of coffee, try a short walk around the block instead.
3. Tap Your Spirituality
Simple day-to-day activities, such as yoga or adding to the list of things you’re grateful for, will improve mood and overall well-being.
Meditation may have many beneficial effects. These include reducing stress levels and helping people become more conscious of their emotions.
Evidence suggests that an intervention called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can help manage depression and prevent possible relapses of symptoms as an alternative or in combination with your daily regime. This therapy combines cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation elements.
Studies also show that various forms of mindfulness meditative practices can also manage depression.
There are several different forms of meditation. But you can start with a basic meditation exercise:
- Sit comfortably
- Close your eyes
- Breath naturally
- Focus on how your body feels when you’re breathing
- When your mind wanders, turn your focus back on your breathing
4. Get more exercises
This does not mean training for a marathon. But it does mean putting in half an hour or so of low-intensity exercise daily. It effectively boosts mood and quality of life. Even better, taking it outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine are especially healing for those who have a special form of depression. It is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Research has shown that daily physical activity can effectively prevent and curing depression. But it can be hard to start exercising when you are depressed. Lack of energy and low mood can mean that you feel too tired to get up and get active.
There are some things you should do to stick to your habit:
Enlist a friend. Ask a loved one to exercise with you at least a couple of times a week. Having a friend’s encouragement can help you back into a routine. It can also help you maintain your social relationships while you feel down.
Remind yourself of the benefits. Getting started is challenging, but doing so can make you feel happier in the long run.
Start small. Try walking for only a few minutes each day, and then work to increase your walks steadily.
5. Eat ‘Good Mood’ Food
What you put in your mouth can have a direct impact on your way of thinking and feeling. Ensure you eat a well-balanced diet high in nutrients and low in saturated fat. A nutritionist or dietitian may help you analyze your eating habits. And he may recognize potential nutrient deficits that may lead to depression.
Some foods that could be helpful to you when you want to manage depression with an alternative therapy:
Fish: A study has found that people who ate a diet high in fish have less signs of depression. Fish are high in omega-3 fats that help neurotransmitters, including serotonin, work in the brain.
Nuts: Nuts are also a healthy source of omega-3 oil. One study suggested that people who consumed walnuts were 26% less likely to experience depression.
Probiotics: Research is increasingly pointing to a correlation between gut and brain health. Foods rich in probiotics include milk, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha.
6. Change your thoughts
Pollyanna-ish as it can sound, having positive thoughts can make you feel good. Your feelings have a strong impact on your mood. If you’re struggling with negativity, consider seeing a psychiatrist help you learn how to counter it.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most common and successful therapies used to manage depression. This form of psychotherapy focuses on recognizing negative thought patterns. And then it replaces them with more positive patterns. There are various ways you can practice some of these ideas on your own.
7. Tend to Your Social Life
There’s no reason to go alone when you’re depressed. Make plans for your loved ones and keep the dates. Enter a club or sign up for social events, such as a local dodgeball league or a French tutorial.
Other things you might try:
- Join a support group. Talking to other people who share the same experiences and problems may be informative and supportive.
- Schedule activities. Having routines can be good when you’re going through depression. Keep a regular schedule, like spending time with others. If it’s a scheduled event, you’re more likely to stick to it.
- Volunteer. Joining a group you care for is a great way to meet new friends and expand your social network.
The Bottom Line
The problem is that depression often leads people to withdraw. This further exacerbates feelings of isolation and loneliness. And if you don’t feel like going out or being social, try to reach out in some way that’s more comfortable for you. Enlist a few of your close loved ones who understand what you’re experiencing.
Doing the things you used to do does not get you the same enjoyment. But getting out of your house and spending time with people you can make you feel happier.