7 WAYS TO CARE FOR YOURSELF NATURALLY WHEN YOU HAVE DEPRESSION
Mental health has always been a complicated subject; it is an experience that differs from person to person, and even from day to day. Over the last few decades, we as a society have become more and more open to the idea that our mental health is just as important as our physical health. And while we’re not quite at the point where everybody seeks therapy and all companies allocate annual leave for “mental health days”, we are certainly on the right track.
If you’ve either noticed that your patterns of depression are creeping in, or believe you may be suffering from depression, the best thing you can do is be kind to yourself. If you can provide the best care for yourself in your darkest moments, you’ll find they don’t feel quite so dark.
7 NATURAL WAYS TO HELP WITH DEPRESSION
1. Cooking in Bulk
When you can, cook batches of nourishing meals that you can easily reheat later. When you’re experiencing a depressive episode, you may not have the energy to cook or even think about food, so this is a great way to save yourself hassle in the future, especially if you’re prone to longer periods of depression. The food we eat has a huge affect on how we feel, so if you can, try to make these meals as healthy and as filling as possible.
If this feels impossible for you, buy healthy premade meals if you can afford it, so you can just heat them when you’re hungry.
2. Building Yourself a Cocoon Of Comfort
If you feel a low point approaching, surround yourself with things that bring you comfort. Prioritize your physical comfort and you’ll give your mental health the best chance of following suit. Dim the lights, gather your favorite blankets, cushions and pillows, light a candle and snuggle down. Read a book, listen to a podcast, watch a movie or write in a journal.
3. Try Additional Natural Supplements
There are countless herbal remedies for depression, insomnia and anxiety. In Europe, St John’s Wort is a popular herbal solution for mild depression. 5HTP is commonly used in the UK, the US and Canada as an over-the-counter sleep aid, diet supplement and antidepressant. If you are reluctant to try herbal solutions in capsule form, you may find some relief in herbal teas. Many people drink chamomile, lemon balm, valerian root, CBD and lavender teas as a daily anti-anxiety and to help induce calm before bedtime.
4. Exercise or Get Out in Nature
When we experience depression, our brains have difficulty differentiating between that and a physical ailment. It is for this reason that, when we feel depressed or sad, our instinct is to stay in bed and sleep all day. Our bodies are giving us signals that something is run-down and tired, and that the best course of action is to rest. However, it has been proven that you can trick your body into rebooting this instinct by exercising.
It’s important to note here that depression is caused by many different elements, and that it is not always possible to get up and work out. But if you can at all, try to get outside and go for a walk. Breathe deeply and take in all that you see. Even if you don’t immediately feel better, your body will thank you for it.
5. Talk to Someone
While it’s totally normal to experience low moods and sadness, depression is a clinical mental illness and should be treated with care and respect. If you find that you experience depression for extended periods of time, it may be a good idea to seek a therapist. Talking through our problems can be helpful, especially when we are sharing these feelings with a professional therapist. Many people with long-term depression choose to attend weekly or monthly cognitive behavioral therapy sessions in lieu of antidepressant medication.
Sometimes, depression will come on no matter what you do. Perhaps you get seasonal depression or are going through a situation you can’t change. But if you feel as though you aren’t sure what’s going on, try journaling. This is essentially where you talk to yourself and ask yourself questions to explore your mind on a deeper level. (You can find prompts online for this.)
Often, this will lead you to discover small things that have made you unhappy so you can think about a future in which things are different. Taking a small step toward a better future can significantly reduce those feelings of being stuck or that feeling of loss.
7. Guided Meditation
Meditation is incredibly popular for a reason, and there are now hundreds of guided meditations available for free on YouTube. If you’re lying in bed and struggling with your thoughts, try a guided meditation. Someone will talk you through a visualization or how to relax. In most cases, you’ll feel more at ease after the meditation. You can also find videos called “Sleep Talk Downs”, which will help to guide you toward sleep and quiet invasive thoughts.
As with any mental health issue, people may experience depression in varying forms and to varying degrees. While depression can be extremely challenging at times, it is possible to live a fulfilling and satisfying life if one’s issues are properly addressed. It’s always a good idea to confide in a friend, partner, or family member if you are prone to periods of depression. There is always someone who wants to help and is willing to listen.