During the holidays it is not at all unusual for people to experience periods of sadness, to feel out of sorts, a bit blue, detached and other variation of mood at different points during their life. Sometimes these feelings eventually pass with time but if not, depression can occur when these feelings become a persistent state of being rather than a passing mood.
Symptoms of depression can be mild to extreme and physical as well as mental:
- Irritability and anger; angry outbursts with little provocation
- Unexplained aches and pains; headaches; backaches
- Low energy; small tasks sap energy
- Extreme weight gain or weight loss
- Disengaged from daily activities especially ones previously enjoyed
- Changed sleeping patterns–from excessive sleeping to insomnia
- Poor concentration and memory
Depression can occur for a variety of reasons. Some cases of depression are caused by nutritional deficiencies. Other cases of depression are the result of environmental factors, such as lack of sunlight in the case of seasonal pattern depression. Remedies may be as simple as making lifestyle changes or dietary adjustments. In extreme cases of depression, prescription medications may be required to alleviate the condition.
Aside from following your doctor’s orders, it is important to be proactive in your treatment and that means using various natural remedies that can help improve your condition on a day-to-day basis.
I have found that the following natural remedies have helped manage my depression
- Increase physical activity. You are going to hate this one, but exercise can help to relieve symptoms of depression and alleviate stress, which can contribute to depression. When we exercise, the body releases endorphins, which diminish the perception of pain and act as a sedative. Exercise is a natural mood elevator.
- Eat well. If you eat crappy you will feel crappy. I know that sounds like a no brainer, but I cannot tell you how many people will ask me to hang on for a second while they order their Frito Pie and Super-Sized soft drink from the Sonic drive through. Don’t get me wrong I am from the deep south and love Frito Pie, and Sonic for that matter. However, you cannot eat that sort of food and expect it to feed your brain. You must eat good food to even stand a chance at feeling good.
- Use Essential Oils These are a few of the essential oils that I use on a weekly if not a daily basis to help me when the “beast” is roaring.
Lavender—I use this as part of my sleep routine. I have found that after using it for a month or, so it is like I “trained” my brain to know that when it smells lavender to know that it is time to go to bed. You can read more about lavender in this Pubmed.gov article: http://bit.ly/2y02Yg6
Frankincense— I use this in two ways; sometimes I will diffuse it in my office and other days I will consume it via a liquid mix that I can purchase from the company that provides my essential oils, doTerra. You read more about frankincense in this Medical News Today http://bit.ly/2wzxlXA article.
Bergamot— This can be used in a diffuser or applied in conjunction with a carrier oil or lotion. As it is a citrus family oil be aware that you must be careful with sun exposure for almost 3 days after you use it. Here are two additional articles that give more information on bergamot one from Healthline: http://bit.ly/2y0rxtj and the other from PubMed: http://bit.ly/2xh0YS1
- Establish healthy sleep patterns. This is a huge one for me. The quantity and quality of sleep you experiences directly impacts your health and mental status. Getting enough sleep and completing a full sleep cycle (sleep without interruption) supports good physical and mental health. For me to feel my best I need between 8 and 9 hours of sleep. Yes, that means there may be days when you have to choose sleep over some social activity. Yeah, I know that bites but once you have fought the fight long enough you will learn that no movie is worth felling foggy the entire next day.
- Stay engaged in daily activities and set goals. Depression does have physical components, but is primarily a mental illness. To combat mental illness, our minds need to be engaged in ways, which offset the symptoms of depression. Sticking to a routine of daily activities and setting small goals alleviates some of the cyclical negative thinking, which often accompanies depression. It keeps us from “getting down on themselves.” In other words, maintaining routines and attaining daily goals counter the negative self-talk that can accompany depression and make it worse.
- Explore various mind-body connection practices. Do not underestimate how much things like Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, Biofeedback, Aromatherapy, Acupuncture, and other alternative therapies offer relief from the symptoms of depression. They offer relief from fatigue, anxiety and scattered thinking. I personally use Biofeedback, Aromatherapy and Acupuncture to help me and have found them to be beneficial.
Remember that all the natural remedies in the world will not take the place of you seeking appropriate counseling and medical assistance for your depression. Depression can be managed and in some cases completely alleviated. Early diagnosis and treatment of depression lessens the condition’s overall impact on a person’s physical health and relationships.
Visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance at http://www.dbsalliance.org to find a support group in your area.
Hugs & Love –