6 Tips to Alleviate Depression Naturally

Something I’ve been asked a lot about are ways to naturally alleviate depression. If you or someone you know are struggling with depression, it can be really scary to think about taking medication! While I believe that sometimes medication can be beneficial, I also think that the power of changing your lifestyle as well as trying some natural remedies is so important to. Below are 6 *natural* things I’ve done to help improve my overall mental health!

#1] Therapy. This probably was the biggest one ++ something I would highly recommend to everyone who is struggling with depression. Going into therapy or having a counselor is completely natural + something that is covered by most insurance + most universities have free counseling programs for their students! I have had several different counselors over the years ++ I cannot describe the amount of relief + support that they’ve given me as well as coping mechanisms they’ve equipped me with. If you’re interested in learning more about finding a counselor – check out this blog post!

#2] Eating a diet of whole foods + vegetables + avoiding processed, fried, + sugary foods. Changing how you fuel your body can change almost everything about you – including your mental health! In this post about mental health, the gut brain connection + nutrition  we dive into how these are all related as well as some foods to focus on to help alleviate depression.

#3] Exercise! According to the American Psychological Association exercise is not only important in treating depression but also preventing relapse. We’ve written an entire post about how beneficial exercise is with improving our mental health here! If you don’t have time to get a good workout in – just going for a 10-20 minute walk outside + getting your body moving will help!

#4] Sleep. This sounds so simple — but getting restful + plenty of sleep is so important for your mental wellbeing. While you don’t want to oversleep, it’s important that you need to find the amount that is right for your body. Think of having depression or a mental illness as similar to having a cold or the flu – rest will help you recover ++ ultimately sleep allows us to refresh our body + our systems to clear out their toxins! If you want more information on how sleep can improve your mental health, check out our post here!

#5] Meditation + mindfulness. According to the American Psychological Association, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy was shown to help prevent depression recurrence as effectively as medication. This is something that I practice daily + wish I had been practicing it for my entire life! I’ve seen my meditation practice help me recognizing my obsessive thought patterns as well as help me  let my negative thoughts go ++ live more in the present moment.  If you want more information on incorporating meditation into your lifestyle – check out our post here!

#6] Light Therapy. This is something I’ve used especially during the winter months ++ it is an easy way to simulate sunlight in the cold, cloudy winter months! You can order one off Amazon [like this one] + sit near it in the morning [or keep it at your desk]! These light therapy boxes give off a bright light that mimics natural, outdoor light.

Many people are surprised when I don’t immediately jump to the vitamins + supplements that I am taking. Ultimately, before you start taking any vitamin or supplement, I recommend going to a doctor or holistic care specialist to see what ones they recommend for you [they should do some bloodwork to see what you’re low in!]. It’s also important that you are trying to get these vitamins through your everyday diet rather than only getting them through a once-a-day vitamin. My holistic care doctor started me on Vitamin D, B-12, + a Vitamin B complex, as well as Fish Oil — one of the most important things she recommended was high quality supplements and vitamins that I couldn’t just order from amazon + I think those have made quite a difference!

Hopefully you can incorporate a few [or all!] of these natural ways to alleviate depression into your lifestyle. Even if you aren’t struggling with depression, most of these are also things that can benefit your overall health + wellness, so it never hurts to try something new!

++ Sarah

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