What is Depression?
When the state of vulnerability, fear, sadness and mental struggle last for long days or weeks, it is called depression. The constant negative thoughts and anxiety can result in clinical depression. Proper medical treatment along with other lifestyle changes is mandatory for treating clinical depression. (Also Read: Depression or Bad Mood? )
How to know if you are depressed?
Following are the common symptoms relating to depression:
- Loss of interest in everything
- Constant fatigue
- Restlessness and panic
- High irritability
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Suicidal instincts
- Low self-esteem
- Frequent headaches and muscle cramps
Also Read: Depression at the Workplace: What to do?
Avoid dependency on the medications
There is no doubt that medicines give major symptomatic relief in depression. But even doctors do not advise the long term usage of medication for treating depression. Doctors prescribe medicines only in severe cases where immediate relief is required. In other cases, the doctor suggests therapy sessions to work on the root cause along with some lifestyle changes. Relying on only the medications for treating depression can cause you other health issues in the long run.
Most commonly observed side effects of medication for depression are:
- Nausea and dizziness
- Loss of sexual drive/libido
- Constant fatigue
- Inability to concentrate
- Sudden weight gain
Therefore, have medications for depression only for the duration recommended by the doctor. Being careful with the medicines will save you from the aforementioned side-effects.
Drug-Free practices for treating depression
Let’s gain an insight into the simple and effective practices that can bring a great change to your mental as well as physical health.
Not getting enough sleep can trigger more unrest and depressing thoughts in the mind. It is difficult to get peaceful sleep in depression as too many anxious thoughts keep playing on the loop. In such a situation, go for an evening stroll or practice deep breathing exercises with closed eyes to calm down the thoughts.
You can also play some soothing deep sleep music on the low volume before going to bed. This will help you fall asleep faster. Also, avoid consuming media (tv, internet, and newspaper) just before sleeping as it may create more panic or sad thoughts. Just ensure you get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to wake up with a light and fresh mind. (Also Read: Does Social Media Contribute To Depression? )
Talk about your illness
There is no shame or guilt in sharing about your mental condition. Tend to it with the same concern as you do for a physical illness or discomfort. Dealing with depression all on your own can be a vicious cycle of incessant trying and still being unable to find a way out of it. If you also feel the same, do not wait any longer and pour out your heart to someone. Discuss your condition with a near one and do not consider yourself weak. It takes courage to speak up about it and seek help. Appreciate yourself every day for taking small steps. This will take the load off your mind and relax you.
Healthy eating habits
Eat healthy and light food to feel good. Have a nutritious balanced diet and avoid binging on deep-fried and processed food. According to doctors, low levels of zinc in the body make the symptoms severe. Include dairy products, eggs, nuts and whole grains in your diet. These healthy eating options prevent zinc deficiency in the body.
Build a daily routine
Set a daily routine that not only keeps you moving and occupied but also allows you some free time for yourself. Refrain from overworking and setting a long to-do list for the day. Keep the to-do list short and achievable, it will give a sense of achievement at the end of the day. Constant fatigue can make you procrastinate everything. Procrastination only triggers panic at the last moment. Make sure you try and complete your daily target list and reward yourself for it.
Physical activities to lift the mood
Even stepping out of the bed during depression can be a challenging task. But try to remind yourself that you deserve to make your day productive and feel good. You can begin by going for a brisk walk or jogging in the morning. Also, add some mild stretching exercises to your regular routine. It will rejuvenate your mind and body. Along with stretching, you can also try the cardio exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, walk on a treadmill) that will put your heart muscles at work and boost blood circulation throughout the body. Improved blood circulation makes the body more active.
Exercising releases feel-good factor chemicals in the body and frees it from the pent-up stress. Regular exercise shifts your focus from the worries to the present moment. Remember to carefully read about some basic stretching and cardio exercises for effective results. Follow the right steps.
Yoga for a calm and stable mind
Yoga rejuvenates the mind and the body. Practicing yoga on a regular basis brings positive and holistic improvement in health. It boosts serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a chemical factor responsible to alleviate the mood and digestion. (Also Read: Yoga Poses For Every Woman)
- Balasana (Child Pose): This yoga pose is effective in relieving tension and panic. It relaxes the muscles of the lower back and the pelvic region. The pose sends a sense of relaxation across the entire body. Hence, it has soothing effects on the mind and the body.
- Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): This yoga exercise boosts the blood circulation and stimulates the nervous system. It quietens the unstable thoughts and spreads calming effect throughout the nervous system. On a physical level, uttanasana stretches the arms, legs, and hips. This stretching releases muscle tension.
Stand straight with your legs and arms parallel. Keep your hands on your hips and start bending forward, trying to touch your thighs with the head. Meanwhile, also bring down your hands and try to touch the ankles. Do not bend the knees and hold the pose for a few seconds.
7.) Take therapy sessions-
Negative thoughts are all your mind has in depression. It is highly wise and recommended to take professional help. Reach out to a psychologist for therapies that will effectively help in getting rid of depression. One such therapy given by psychologists is called CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy). The doctor helps you in changing negative behavior patterns to better ones through the therapy sessions. You can ask for help from a close one for getting you in touch with a doctor. Therapy sessions are undoubtedly the best way to get out of depression.