Everybody is prone to the blues at one point or another in their lives, but some people tend to experience depression more often than others. It can be attributed to a variety of causes, most often genetics and environment. Major changes in one’s life, such as loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, a big move or job, or health issues can play a big role in one’s mental and physical well being. Some individuals have depression with deep rooted causes and may need psychiatric or medical help, but for a lot of people, feelings of sadness are a natural part of life’s ups and downs and can often be remedied with some simple natural treatments for depression.
Ever notice how when you’re working out regularly, you feel more positive and upbeat? Exercise helps boost endorphins, which are those “feel-good” chemicals, and working out has been said to have long-term benefits for those suffering with depression. It also gets the blood and oxygen rushing throughout your body, which will help you feel more alert and energetic, not to mention that you’ll like what you see in the mirror (and if you’re happier with how you look, you’ll certainly feel a lot better and be less likely to struggle with depression issues related to outwards appearance).
What you put into your body plays a big part in how your mind and body feel and work, and while there is no one food that will simply get rid of depression on its own, evidence has shown that certain foods can help you feel better. Doctors often recommend consuming foods that contain omega fatty acids (various fishes like tuna and salmon contain these) as well as folic acid (found in avocado and spinach, for instance) that will help give you a boost and some pep.
It’s a lot easier to feel stressed and irritable when your body does not get enough sleep or adequate rest, which is why it’s important to try and get at least six to seven hours of sleep. Getting into a regular sleep routine is good for your body, so if you can, it’s a great idea to try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Your body will start to adjust to the new schedule, and you’ll also have an easier time getting up for work in the morning.
Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good about yourself. By spending time with friends and family members who are happy in their lives and not constantly depressed, you’ll be lifted up simply by being around them. Ever notice how you always feel like crap after spending an evening with that one friend who does nothing but complain about life, their job, their awful relationship, and so forth? Find simple ways to inject daily doses of positivity into your life, whether it’s through getting one of those desk calendars that has daily inspirational quotes, or hanging out with that one friend who makes you laugh constantly.
Remember that episode of Parks and Recreation where Tom and Donna spend an entire day indulging their every desire? While they took things to an extreme, it’s good to treat yourself to small rewards here and there. Whether you go on a movie date with yourself or book an afternoon at the spa, it’s important to find the joy in the little (or big things), and it will help you get through the hurdles of daily life more easily.
We spend a majority of our lives in the car, in the house, and in the office, so we often neglect spending any time outdoors, especially in the sun, which is a natural source of Vitamin D. Evidence has shown that spending some time in the sun helps increase levels of a natural antidepressant in the brain, which produces more serotonin (a mood-lifting chemical) on sunny days as opposed to overcast ones. You don’t need to tan yourself to death, however. Simply spending 15 minutes in the sun a few times a week can work wonders in boosting one’s mood.
It’s easy to feel stagnant and get lost in the rat race when you feel like you’re behind in life and not moving forward with any general direction. Set some goals for yourself – even small ones, like completing a marathon or learning a new skill, like a musical instrument or art project. Small successes will help pave the way for bigger ones, and you’ll even discover some new things about yourself and pick up some skills while you’re at it!
Focus on the Bright Side
Life isn’t perfect, and we can’t always have sunshine-filled days. But learning how to roll with the punches and look for the positive in negative situations is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. And when the times get tough, simply remember that this too shall pass. — Kamala Kirk