9 Ways to Holistically Relieve Depression Symptoms
Everyone feels sad sometimes. But, changes in the frequency or severity of your mood could signal the presence of clinical depression. Unlike occasional feelings of sadness, depression is a real, treatable illness characterized by a period of at least two weeks of depressed mood or loss of interest in activities.
There is no one-size-fits-all cause for depression. Instead, depression is the result of a complex interplay between biological and environmental factors. There is also no one-size-fits-all cure for depression. However, with proper treatment and support, depression can go into remission and many people who have struggled with depression can lead happy and fulfilling lives.
We know that the treatment of a depression diagnosis needs to be holistic in order to be successful in the long term, and there are many strategies that people with depression can use to help address their symptoms holistically.
The following holistic tips often work best when combined with biological depression interventions like talk therapy, medication, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), IV ketamine therapy, Spravato and more.
1. Get in touch with your feelings
One of the first steps to overcoming depression is to get in touch with your feelings. Allow yourself to feel sad, angry, scared, or whatever other emotions come up for you. Understanding and identifying your emotions will help you cope.
Sit with your emotions
This is exactly what it sounds like. When you feel an emotion arise, instead of trying to push it away or numbing yourself with food, alcohol, drugs, TV, etc., the first step is to sit with the feeling. See if you can observe it without judgment or control.
The goal is not to get rid of the emotion but to understand it better. Once you understand it better, you can start to work through it.
Keep a journal
Writing things down regularly can be very therapeutic. It can help you to make sense of what’s going on in your head and heart.
As you write, don’t censor yourself. Just let the words flow out onto the paper – or screen. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling. This is for your eyes only.
2. Connect with nature
There is something about nature that is very healing. Maybe it’s the fresh air, the beauty, or the reminder that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves.
Whatever the reason, spending time in nature can be very beneficial for our mental health and relieve depression symptoms.
So, make it a point to get outside every day – even if it’s just for a few minutes. Go for a walk in the local park, sit under a tree, or watch the sunset.
Whenever you can, spend time in nature. It will help you to feel more connected and grounded. It may also help clear negative thoughts out of your head and give you a sense of calm.
3. Practice meditation and mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. It sounds simple, but it’s not always easy.
Our minds are always racing, thinking about the past or the future. But when we’re mindful, we focus on the present moment. We pay attention to our thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment.
This can be a very powerful tool for relieving mental illness or depressive symptoms. When we’re stuck in our heads, ruminating on negative thinking, mindfulness can help to break the cycle and improve mood.
Meditation is one way to practice mindfulness. But there are other ways, too. You can also be mindful during everyday activities, such as eating, walking, or even taking a shower.
4. Get regular exercise
Exercising is another powerful tool for managing depressive symptoms. It releases dopamine and endorphins – the feel-good chemicals in our brains. It also helps to improve and boost self-esteem.
Some of the best types of exercise that have been proven to reduce emotional strain include:
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. It’s a great way to promote relaxation.
Pilates is a type of exercise that focuses on core strength, flexibility, and posture. It’s a great way to build strength and ease tension in the body.
Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that combines movement and meditation. It’s often described as “meditation in motion” because it’s a great way to focus the mind and reduce stress.
The key is to find an exercise that you enjoy and set attainable goals to fit it into your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Just something that gets you moving and makes you feel good. Finding the motivation to exercise is easy when you choose activities you love.
5. Eat a healthy diet
What we eat has a big impact on our mood and energy levels. So, it’s important to make sure that we’re enjoying a diet that will nourish our bodies and minds.
Depressive symptoms can lead to unhealthy food habits. A depressed person may lose their appetite altogether or turn to comfort food.
But it’s important to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. This means plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
There are no bad foods. However, certain processed items, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine can worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety.
There is no magic diet, either. However, some of the best ingredients for fighting depression include:
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of healthy fat that’s essential for brain health. Good sources of omega-3s include fish, nuts, lean meats, seeds, and avocado.
Leafy greens are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, which is important for brain health. Spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are all good options.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help to keep our gut healthy. Research has shown that they can also promote mental health. Good sources of probiotics include yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
6. Natural Supplements
Research shows that nutritional supplements can help fight off vitamin deficiencies which are linked to certain types of depressive disorders.
There are a few key vitamins and minerals that have been linked to depression, including:
Omega-3 fatty acids
If you’re not getting enough of these nutrients from your diet, you may want to consider taking supplements. Just be sure to talk to your doctor first, as some supplements can interact with medications.
7. Get enough sleep
Sleep is crucial for our mental and physical health. But when we struggle with clinical depression, it’s common to either sleep too much or too little.
Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are a few things you can do to help:
Establish a regular sleep schedule (same sleep/wake time every day, including weekends)
Avoid caffeine and alcohol and heavy meals before bed
Create a relaxing bedtime routine
Get regular physical activity
Limit screen time before bed
8. Connect with others
It’s important to maintain social relationships, even when you’re feeling down. Spending time with loved ones or making phone calls to friends can help reduce stress and promote positive emotions.
But it’s not always easy to reach out when you’re experiencing symptoms of depression. For example:
Join a support group
Attend community events
Volunteer your time
Connect with friends and family creatively, whether that’s online or by organizing a game night
Reach out to a mental health professional
Depression can be a very lonely experience. But patients don’t have to go through it alone. There are many people who care about you and want to help. So, reach out and ask for support when you need it.
9. Do something that makes you happy
When we’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to lose sight of the things that make us happy. But it’s important to find ways to enjoy life, even when we’re feeling down.
Doing things that make us happy can have a positive effect such as boosting our mood and giving us a sense of accomplishment. It can also help us to connect with others and build positive relationships.
Some things that make people happy include:
Spending time in nature
Listening to music (meta-analyses have shown that music interventions can help boost mood)
Spending time with loved ones
Doing a favorite hobby
Trying something new
What makes you happy? Make an effort to find balance in your life by taking the time to do something that brings you joy every day.
Final Thoughts on Relieving Depression Symptoms
Overall, if you’re wondering how to overcome depression, there are many different holistic approaches that can help ease depression symptoms. Some of these include making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep. Others involve connecting with others and doing things that bring you happiness. Not only will these coping strategies help you challenge negative thoughts, but a holistic treatment plan will improve your overall well-being.
Depression is a serious condition, but it is treatable. With the right support, you can begin treating depression and start living a happier, healthier life. The most important thing is to understand you’re not alone. With time, patience, and effort, it is possible to heal from this debilitating condition.
At Neuro Wellness Spa, we are the depression experts. To learn more about our breakthrough treatment options, call us today.