Whether you are diagnosed with a depressive disorder, or experience depression in intense moments of sadness, it can feel overwhelming, and as if you’re trapped in a rain cloud and can’t get out. In reality, you’re not as helpless as you may believe. Rather than reaching for a substance to numb and sedate your pain, or another to cheer yourself up, there are many other holistic ways that can naturally enhance your mood and make you feel better.
1. Are you getting enough Sleep?
When you consider that most people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with a sleep disorder, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, you can recognize the importance of sleep for keeping the body recharged and energized.
If you are suffering from depression, take a look at your sleep routine. Are you going to bed at a decent time, and at a regular time each night? Do you feel refreshed and full of energy when you wake up, or drowsy and sleepy during the day? Are you getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night? If you’re struggling to sleep through the night, maybe your first visit should be to a sleep specialist. Once you get your sleep patterns in line, you may notice a change in your mood as well.
2. Are you getting enough Water?
Hydration is the most important element for your body, after sleep. Most Americans reach for soda, alcohol or other substances when they feel thirst, rather than water. In fact, dehydration is the culprit for many health issues including depression, headaches, lack of focus, and low energy. Chronic dehydration can lead to poor kidney functioning, digestive problems, heart problems, joint pains, high blood sugar, and a host of other issues.
If you are suffering from depression, check on your water intake. Consider starting your day with a glass of water before anything else. Drink a glass of water before each meal. Make sure you’re getting about 2 liters of water each day, or whatever is right for your body. Once you start increasing your water intake, you’ll start noticing an improvement in your body’s energy and mood levels.
3. Are you getting enough Exercise?
When you’re depressed, exercise may be the last thing you want to get out of bed for. It is even harder in the winter months. However, those are the times it is most important to move your body. Studies have shown that exercise improves recovery from depression by 22%! When your body doesn’t get enough exercise, you don’t eat well, sleep well, your metabolism slows down, you get depressed and irritable, and you feel stressed easily.
If you are suffering from depression, you really should check whether you’re getting enough exercise. Start with simple activities, like yoga, or a brisk walk. When you’re ready, you can add more intensity with jumping jacks, or a longer run. Getting your heart pumping is a great way to elevate your mood and overcome depression.
4. Are you getting enough Nature?
Spending time out in nature is an instant energy booster. Exposure to sunshine is an important way to receive the vitamin D your body needs. Lack of vitamin D can lead to depressive moods, a debilitated immune system, weaker bones and a range of other issues.
If you are suffering from depression, ensure you’re stepping outside and getting some fresh air and sunshine, yes, even in winter months. You may even consider combining exercise and nature with activities such as hiking, kayaking, riding a bike, or whatever activity appeals to you.
Get the help you need
There are many other ways to improve your depressive moods, but these 4 are great to start with. One way to ensure you are getting enough sleep, water, exercise and nature is to keep a simple mood tracking journal that includes the activities you want to add to your day and how your mood feels afterwards. And don’t neglect seeing a therapist! There may be other undiagnosed reasons why you are depressed, and a therapist can help you get better. New Hope Health has an excellent staff who is licensed and certified in mental health treatment, and our facilities are conducive for long term recovery. Call us. 865-800-0947