Chronic depression presents with profound feelings of sadness, isolation, and hopelessness. It can be physically debilitating and mentally and emotionally draining. If you think you’re depressed or can see that your sadness is interfering with your professional and personal life you should seek a diagnosis and treatment plan immediately. You could also try making some changes to your lifestyle. Here are four lifestyle changes that can help manage depression. Always consult your therapist or doctor before trying these.
Eat Nutritious ‘Brain-Friendly’ Foods
Eat healthy as much as you can. Your diet should ideally contain a lot of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which can be found in fish and nuts. You should also consume a good amount of complex carbohydrates found in fruit like pears and apples, whole grains and legumes. These aid in the production of serotonin which is a feel-good neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are like messengers of the brain and directly impact mental health. They’re made of amino acids, so make sure to consume amino acid-rich foods such as meat and dairy. Try to avoid junk food which is high in saturated fats and refined sugar.
Just 30 minutes of daily exercise increases the brain’s sensitivity to serotonin and norepinephrine which can help battle symptoms of depression. Any form of physical activity will also help produce endorphins, a naturally occurring hormone that encourages positive feelings. Exercise also has benefits for the side effects of depression: It can help with low self-esteem, chronic fatigue and even help you get a more restful night’s sleep.
Incorporate Relaxation Techniques Like Meditation Into Your Day
There are plenty of guided meditation apps and websites that can get you started. Beginners need to do it only for five minutes a day. Traditionally meditation was a means to achieve spiritual enlightenment but modern practices can help relax you and ground you. Meditation is also good to manage sleep disorders that could present alongside depression.
Follow A Consistent Sleep Schedule
Though many people who are depressed complain of insomnia, the opposite can also be true. A lot of chronically depressed people sleep through the day. Work with your therapist or doctor to develop a calming night ritual or a practice that helps you get into a healthy sleep pattern. Developing good sleeping habits should be a key component of your treatment plan and will help battle fatigue and anxiety too.