(This article was first published on Helium.com. I am not a doctor or other healthcare professional, but these tactics do help me – and I am no longer on medication. Also, being on medication, and having to pay to see doctors and other professionals, is expensive – even when you are only paying co-pays. It is great if you can keep depression under control in other ways. If you really do need help with depression, see a doctor. I wouldn’t start any self-care plan without consulting a doctor either.)
While depression may be caused by circumstances within a persons life, this is not always the case. There may be a medical reason for the depression as well.
Depression can emotionally cripple a person, causing problems not just for the person who is afflicted with it, but for those around her as well. Women and men are both susceptible, as are teenagers. Young children can also show symptoms.
Your first course of action should always be a visit with your doctor, who will help you decide why you may be depressed. She can explain what depression is, and in what ways you can battle the condition. She might also be able to tell you where to get further information.
Discuss with your doctor why you want to battle the depression without using medication. She might set you up with some counseling sessions. A therapist will have more information about depression, and will be able to answer more extensive questions than your doctor. He will also be able to listen to your concerns and help you to get back on track with your life. Having someone to talk to is a help.
Once you have started to set up your support system, there are other steps that you can take to help your battle with depression.
1. Diet is important. Eating well-balanced meals and snacking on healthy foods is good for your body. Herbal teas are also helpful when depression hits, as is drinking plain water. This is particularly true for people who are overweight, but also for those who are not. You will be more motivated when your body is well nourished.
2. A daily vitamin may also be necessary. Ask your doctor if she feels that any other supplements are necessary.
3. Exercise daily, after talking with your doctor about what she feels you can handle physically. Start by walking every day, even if only for thirty minutes. If you want to add to this, consider riding a bike or taking a dance class. Weights are another option, especially if you need to build muscle or tone flabby skin, and yoga can help with relaxation. Fitness is as important as nutrition for a healthy body.
4. Spend time out in nature. Go to the park or take your walk into the woods. The fresh air will motivate you, and the surrounding beauty will lift your spirits.
5. Hang out with friends and family. They are important people, and they care about. Add them to your support system. Picnic in the park, or have a barbecue. Go camping, or spend time at the beach. Enjoy their company for an emotional boost.
6. Let plenty of light into your home by opening all of the curtains. A room should only be dark when you are sleeping. Open the windows as well, to let the fresh air in.
7. While the curtains and windows are opened wide, put on some upbeat music and clean the house. If the house is clean, start to organize the place. A dirty, unorganized home can make anyone feel depressed.
8. Go outside and clean up the yard. Once it looks tidy, plant some flowers of various colors. Gardening is an enjoyable activity that gives you a sense of accomplishment. This is important mentally.
9. A journal is a great help emotionally. Write down your feelings, and what led to them. Whether the feelings are good or bad, writing about them will help you to work through the different aspects of your life. Journaling is considered to be extremely therapeutic.
10. Take time for yourself. A long bath, taken by candlelight a few evenings a week, will help you to relax, as will reading a chapter in a new book. In the morning, you can sip your tea on the porch and consider the good things that you want to manifest in your life for the day. Sitting outside with your evening tea will aid you in contemplating the good things that happened in your life each day.
When you begin to create a healthier environment, and to bring good things into your life intentionally, your spirits will begin to rise. Good feelings will resurface, and you will be able to handle life better.
A good support system is essential when beginning the process of battling depression, and throughout the time it will take for you to get back on track. Medication is not always necessary or desired.