Getting the blues from time to time is normal, but it doesn’t make coping with depression any easier. As part of Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week, we take a look at 10 natural ways that may help you beat the blues without help from a doctor or medication.
1. Go easy on refined sugar and carbs
Eating refined sugar/carbohydrates makes blood sugars go up and down quickly which can cause low blood sugar, which in turn can cause symptoms like depression, anxiety and fatigue.
2. Eat more fish, nuts and seeds
To ensure that your nerves and neurotransmitters stay healthy, increase consumption of omega-3 oils found in salmon, cod, sardines, walnuts, pumpkin seed and flax.
3. Eat more veggies or take vitamins
Vegetables or supplements with vitamins B6, B12, folic acid, iron and trace minerals help to process important neurotransmitters in the body.
4. Herbal supplements
Herbs such as St. John’s Wart are known for their positive impact on serotonin levels in the brain.
5. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol is a depressant. Caffeine is a stimulant, but has been linked to depression, especially when … combined with sugar.
Susan Chapman, registered dietitian at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, says eating healthier is crucial to maintaining a healthy mood.
“One of the best habits you can start is eating a meal within an hour of waking up, then eating one every four to five hours while awake,” Chapman says. “This will give you the food energy you need to feel better all day.”
While it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the thought of changing your eating habits, Chapman says taking small steps can reap big rewards.
“Make healthy lifestyle changes including healthy food choices rather than starting a diet,” she says. “For example, a simple switch to calorie-free beverages for most people results in their desired weight loss. As little as five pounds of weight loss can result in health benefits, a positive attitude and feeling better physically and mentally.”
Regular exercise increases the body’s natural endorphins, which can make you feel better.
7. Let the sun in
Expose yourself to the sun every day. Open blinds and curtains to let the sun shine through your windows.
8. Listen to music
Turn on some upbeat music, then dance to the beat and sing along.
9 Socialize with positive people
Hanging out with good friends goes a long way in lifting your spirits.
10. Pet therapy
Interacting with pets can make us feel loved and needed.
Of course, these are only tips to get you on the right track. If you think you might have a serious mental health problem, contact a medical professional right way.