If you’re dealing with depression, is it necessary to take medication? That’s a question that each individual needs to address with their medical team. Generally speaking, however, there are many natural ways that can counter the effects of depression. Be sure to include these options in all discussions with doctors and therapists.
Simply put, medication can be expensive and come with some nasty side effects. If you’re in a position to try something else, try it. Even if you need meds, there’s no reason to not complement it with some of the lifestyle suggestions listed below. Your mind and body have tremendous healing capacities. Why not maximize them?
A Quick Note on Supplements
Over-the-counter supplements have been found to be helpful in reducing depression symptoms. Do some homework on this and then have a sit-down with your doctor. You have every right to have them consider this option. However, it’s not wise to start taking supplements on your own — especially if you’re already on depression medication.
7 Ways to Treat Depression Without Medication
1. Make Healthy Eating Choices
There’s no such thing as a depression diet. That said, it can go a long way for you to practice fundamental nutritional guidelines. Making healthy eating choices not only supports your mind and body. In addition, it gives you back some of the control you feel like you lost when depression struck. For starters, try eliminating items like caffeine and alcohol that decrease the odds of you sustaining a positive mood.
2. Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule
Depression notoriously throws off your sleeping habits. You may sleep too much or too little. Sometimes, it has to do with the quality of sleep. A powerful counterbalance to this trend is conscious efforts to stay on a sleep schedule. Get to bed at roughly the same time every night. Set an alarm and get up at the same time each day.
Like your eating and sleeping choices, exercise is simply a wise decision for everyone. In the specific case of depression, it can also help due to the elevation of mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Some added depression-busting benefits of exercise are:
- Exercising outdoors adds a healthy dose of vitamin D
- It’s something you can do with a friend and the social time is valuable
- Regular exercise contributes to healthier sleep patterns
4. Plan Your Days
Your mind and body will thrive if you can develop daily routines to follow. Left unchecked, depression will eat away at any sense of structure in your life. Actively challenge this possibility by keeping a schedule. If necessary, recruit a trusted accountability buddy to keep you focused.
5. Goals and Responsibilities
This suggestion dovetails nicely with #4 above. Give yourself responsibilities each day. Make sure these tasks and duties add up to attaining small goals. Depression tells lies about you being incapable of accomplishing anything. Take small steps to change this inaccurate perception.
6. Practice Stress Management
- Breathing exercises
- Seeking out new and fun things to try
- Connect with some form of spirituality
7. Challenge Negative Thoughts
Depression tries to guide you to worst-case scenarios. You can identify and talk back to this harsh inner critic. Be a fact-checker to discover that depression is telling you lies. Perhaps start keeping a gratitude journal to monitor all the things (big and small) in your life for which you are grateful.
But Still, Talk to a Professional
The above advice is general and would help anyone. Your therapist will encourage it all. In cases where medication is not suggested, you have a lot more power than you may imagine when it comes to healing from depression. Depression therapy can be a powerful tool to help you with this and I am ready to help you through this, so reach out to me to get started.