Relatively easy to integrate lifestyle changes can help a lot to improve the way you feel. Lifestyle changes are not really a substitute for medication or psychotherapy, but when you make an effort to live better while participating in formal depression treatments, you can improve the rate and totality of your recovery from depressive symptoms.
None of these changes requires a great deal from you, none cost money and all are basically good advise for anyone, whether depressed or not. Additionally, taking proactive steps to improve the way you feel can help you to retake some sense of control over your life and emotions – which is an important victory in any journey of recovery.
Here are 9 easy lifestyle changes that can help.
9 Lifestyle Changes to Ease the Symptoms of Depression
Getting your heart pumping for 30 minutes, just 3 times a week, can help enormously. Some studies have shown that this limited amount of exercise each week works as well as anti depressant medication for people with mild or moderate depression. Exercise causes the release of “feel-good” chemicals in the brain that can create a better mood. Regular exercise can help you feel better physically, which can translate into better emotional well being, as can improvements in physical appearance related to regular exercise. Regular exercise can also improve energy levels, which is something that people with depression often struggle with.
It can be a challenge to get off the couch when feeling depressed, but the payoff is more than worth it.
2. Eat well
Eating fatty meals or highly processed carbohydrates can lead to sluggishness or bouncing blood sugar levels. Try to eat a balanced diet, low in processed carbs and high in vitamins and minerals, high in omega 3 fatty acids (from fatty fish) and especially foods high in B-complex vitamins.
3. Get Enough Sleep
It’s tough for anyone to feel upbeat without enough sleep, and chronic sleep deprivation has been implicated in higher rates of teen depression. Getting enough sleep is essential.
4. Do Yoga or Meditate
Both of these mind-body activities are proven to reduce stress levels and induce a sense of relaxation that lingers long beyond the end of a meditation or yoga session. Anything you can do to reduce stress while depressed can have a great impact on the way you feel.
5. Get Out of the House to See Friends or Family
People with depression often withdraw socially, but this isolation is not helpful to the recovery process. Make an effort to get out of the house and into the company of friends or family as often as you can. Positive social support and engaging in enjoyable activities out of the house can quicken your recovery.
6. Limit Your Commitments
Depression saps your energy, compromises your decision making skills and can reduce your memory – while in the midst of a bout of depression, don’t expect to be at your productive best. Trying to maintain a hectic schedule while feeling depressive symptoms creates stress, which can exacerbate the problem. Instead, reduce your commitments and give yourself the freedom to take it easy, without feeling guilty about it.
7. Get Into the Sunlight
Exposure to sunlight can have a buoying effect on mood, and insufficient sunlight can lead to certain forms of depression. Getting out of the house and into the sunlight each day can do you good.
8. Steer Clear of Alcohol or Drugs
Although a couple of drinks can elevate mood temporarily, those drinks come with a price tag. Alcohol is a depressant and can worsen symptoms of depression. Alcohol and other drugs should be avoided.
9. Lean on Your Faith
People who feel a strong sense of spiritual faith are at a reduced risk for depression. We are all spiritual beings, especially during times of hardship, and so relying on a personally meaningful spirituality during a period of depressive symptoms may help.
Page last updated Aug 05, 2010