When you’re diagnosed with major depressive disorder, it’s important to understand that the disorder is something you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life. While living with depression can be difficult, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to offset some of the symptoms and make your day-to-day life easier.
Eliminate Alcohol From Your Diet
Drinking alcohol can affect those with depression more than it affects those without. Because alcohol is a suppressant, it can amplify your emotions, making you feel extremely depressed and even sad. Also, if you’re taking depression medication, alcohol can make the side effects of the medicine worse. If you don’t think you can eliminate alcohol from your life on your own, you can seek help from a rehabilitation facility, like Windward Way. Alternatively, you can use a device to keep yourself accountable, like the Soberlink alcohol monitoring system.
Create a Sleep Schedule
The amount of sleep you get each night directly affects your mental health, so if you’re living with depression, it’s important to make sure you get enough sleep each night. Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep nightly. If you’re sleeping more or less than that, it could be a symptom of your depression.
Getting yourself on a regular nightly routine will help. You should try your best to:
- Start your nighttime routine early enough that you have time for your body to relax before bed.
- Go to sleep at the same time every night.
- Get up at the same time each morning.
If you have trouble sleeping consider wearing a sleep mask at night or using a meditation app to help you relax before bed.
When you exercise, endorphins–the hormones that increase your happiness, are naturally released. So if you get in the habit of taking a brisk walk when you’re feeling down, there’s a good chance you’ll feel much better by the time your walk is over.
You don’t have to participate in intense exercise sessions to reap the mental benefits either. Taking a short 15-minute walk twice per day often works wonders. Not only will it make you feel better, but it helps lift any brain fog you might be experiencing.
Setting goals gives you something to work towards each day. While it’s important to have long-term goals for yourself, they can be overwhelming if you’re stuck in a depressed state. So instead of focusing on large goals, try setting small, short-term goals for yourself. This might be as simple as committing to doing the dishes every other day. As your new daily goals start to become habits, set new goals.
Focus on Eating Healthier
There isn’t one magic diet that will eliminate your symptoms completely, but changing your diet so that you eat healthier is a good way to naturally treat depression. It’s a good idea to eliminate carbs, refined sugar, and trans fat from your diet because these foods are known for making you feel sluggish. Also, try incorporating more poultry, fish, and veggies into your diet to increase your energy levels and keep your head clear.
If you aren’t comfortable eliminating specific foods from your diet completely, consider cutting down on food that makes you feel bad and consuming more of the foods that make you feel good. For example, if you really enjoy having mashed potatoes with dinner, don’t stop doing that. Instead, have a smaller portion of mashed potatoes and a large portion of green veggies and grilled chicken with it.
Ultimately, the more you focus on self-care and trying to live a lifestyle that’s as healthy as possible, the less your depression symptoms will bother you. So do your best to get yourself on a set schedule, exercise, and eat healthier as much as possible.