By: Bridget Zhang
Antidepressant drugs continue to raise concerns about their side effects, which include suicide, clinical worsening of depression, and unusual changes in behavior.(These are from my own personal experience. It can vary from person to person.)
1.Eating healthy and organic foods.
So many times when we are depressed or upset about a situation we want to indulge on comfort foods such as ice cream, sweets, high carbohydrate foods etc. While it is okay to eat those comfort foods every once in awhile be careful not to make it a habit. High carbohydrate foods can cause a yo-yo affect of your blood sugar level, which can affect your mood through out the day. Eating a balanced diet can keep your blood sugars stable and calm your mood through out the day. My favorite healthy comfort foods are berries, mango, orange, homemade egg drop soup, homemade wonton soup,curry chicken quinoa, chocolate granola bar. I love everything from Trader Joes and Farmers Market.
2. Getting 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
Resting is very important when you are going through depression. I use to always make the mistake of overloading myself with activities so I don’t have time to think about my depression. I realized that when I overload myself to distract myself from facing my problems, I tend to do a bad job on everything. At the end of the day, I still lay in bed crying half the night. It might also cause you jobs, friendships, and others because you just can’t handle everything. Having 8-10 hours of sleep per night is crucial because it can give you enough rest to get through your next day. If you have sleep anxiety, nightmares or other problems with sleep, please consult your doctor or therapist.
3. Seeing a therapist on a regular basis.
It is common to think that we have to see a “shrink” as though it is a bad thing. It might make you think that you are crazy and needs help. You feel ashamed of it and don’t want to go that direction. Let me tell you something, you are crazy and need help. Seeing a therapist on a regular basis can be better than medication. It is also important to keep a stable therapist. It is hard to find that one person that you can connect with. A healthy therapist-patient relationship can be as difficult as getting married. There is nothing to be ashamed of about seeing a therapist. It does not make you look weak. If anything, you are strong enough to admit your issues and to seek help. It took me 6 years of therapy to find the one therapist I love now. I have been with her for 2 years. Keep on trying, you will find true love. 😉
4. Exercise daily
When you have anxiety or depression, exercise often seems like the last think you want to do. But once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference. Exercise helps prevent a number of health problems. It can also improve your confidence. It releases feel-good brain chemicals, reduce immune system chemicals that cause depression and increase body temperature, which may have calming effect. I am a professional dancer. My passion is dance. So, it is my main exercise, along with yoga, pilates and jogging. It keeps me going everyday. Living next to a good view is also a plus for me. I get the NYC skyline. You don’t have to be a body builder. Sometimes even walking around the house is better than staying in bed all day.
4. Go on a personal retreat.
When I am depressed I tend to lock myself indoors and let my mind go crazy. Big no! That is the last thing to do. Get away for a while. Go on vacation by yourself or with a few close friends. I love to go on hikes in the mountains. I love the beach in the summer time. I like to find the least crowded beaches with a view. It calms me and let me deal with the thoughts in my own head surrounded with the beauty of nature.
5. Get a new hobby or improve on an old one.
When I am depressed I am super artistic. I love writing, dancing, music and art and crafts. Some of my best works were created when I am in a depressive state. While you can’t force yourself to have fun or experience pleasure, you can push yourself to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. Developing a new hobby can release stress in a creative and therapeutic way. You might be surprised at how much better you feel once you’re out in the world.
Clean the house, the car, the yard, anything! Cleaning can help you have a peace of mind and gets rid of unwanted germs. Cleaning can also be an exercise and creates positive chemicals. I am a super clean person because I also have obsessive-compulsive disorder. I feel better when thing’s are organized and cleaned.
7. Write down your favorite quotes and sayings and post them all around your environment.
When I am not dancing, I am writing, so I stare at my computer a lot. I have organized my favorite pictures, quotes for my desktop background. I also post positive notes around my house. It is a constantly reminder to you to think positive. Fake it till you make it!
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids may effectively alleviate depression without dangerous side effects. Increasing omega-3 intake enhances brain function, including the control of mood. I take my omega-3 twice a day with my favorite gummy vitamins. Omega-3 supplements may interact with other drugs so please consult your doctor before taking them.
9. Essential oils.
Research shows that essential oils can elevate mood. The smells are carried directly to the brain. They serve as emotional triggers. Our basic emotions and hormonal balance are in response to the most basic smells. This makes scents very powerful in our day-to-day lives because they’re in balance with memory and emotion. My favorite brand for essential oils is Doterra.
10. Practice mindfulness.
Our mind can wonder a lot. Most of the times we are thinking about something else rather than what we’re doing. Or, we would do 10 different things at ones. Mindfulness is paying attention to your experience. Eat and enjoy the food. Drink and enjoy the water. Lay down and cry when you need to and enjoy the crying. Whatever it is that you do, either good or bad, just enjoy it. Being present makes you happier.
If all else fails, seek professional help. I myself am on different medications and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is amazing ones you have found the right ones. This list is to help you to cope with your depression.