Sometimes the simplest solutions are staring us in the face. But we miss them. Here are some low-cost, common sense solutions to beat depression at its own game.
1. Get a General Health Check
“A true diagnosis is half the cure” – wise saying.
In some cases, depressive symptoms can be caused by an illness, vitamin defenciency, drug side effect or withdrawal. Common medical causes include underactive thyroid, heart disease, cancer, certain blood pressure medications and even birth control pills.
By getting to the root cause of your depression, you can figure out the best way to treat it and beat it.
Common Sense Tip: Get a general medical checkup and if you are taking any prescription drugs, investigate if depression is a possible side affect.
2. Eating Right
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates
Let us not underestimate the power of food to affect mood. Medical studies have linked vitamin defencies, such as in Vitamin D and B12, to depression. And that’s just for starters.
Many sufferers of bio-chemical/biological depression may find they also suffer from sugar sensitivities or allergies. In that case, diet can play a vital role in beating depression.
Common Sense Tip: Take notice of how you feel after eating certain foods. Keep a food diary.
3. Getting Enough Sleep
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise” ~Benjamin Franklin
A successful psychologist once said that post-partum depression may in fact be another label for sleep deprivation. While it may not be that simple, sleep and depression are closely related.
Lack of sleep has been shown to precipitate psychotic episodes, for example. But does lack of sleep cause depression or does depression cause the inability to sleep? Whatever it is, by getting more sleep, you can start making inroads to improvement.
Common Sense Tip: Go to bed early. If you suffer from insomnia, explore gentle methods of promoting rest like meditation, yoga and massage.
4. Get your Blood Pumping
Exercise, exercise, exercise.
It took me 3 years after having my youngest child and suffering a bad spout of post-partum depression to make an exercise move. That was the most liberating step I took in all those 3 years, literally. And I saw the results immediately.
Exercise gets your heart rate up, serotonin kicking in and blood sugar cravings, which cause mood swings, down. Oh and I recommend doing it in fresh air with some deep breathing. There’s nothing like nature and some life-energy pulsating through your veins.
Common Sense Tip: Put on your jogging shoes right now and take a walk or run outside. Make a realistic exercise schedule that you can keep up weekly.
5. The Right Support
“I get by with a little help from my friends” – The Beatles
Because depression sufferers tend to socially withdraw or hide their true feelings, it can be a bit of a catch twenty two.
Finding the right person to talk to about how you’re really feeling is a great start to fighting those blue feelings. Whether it’s a trusted friend, psychologist or life-coach – a little step in the right direction can do wonders. Getting out the house, when you’re about to sink into another lazy, self affair episode, is another way to beat depression at its own game.
Common Sense Tip: Even if you don’t feel like it, go out and socialise with your friends on the weekend.