You’ve been feeling tired much of the time, you don’t feel physically and maybe you can’t get excited about things that used to bring you joy. We all experience these feelings from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up about it. And while you should never ignore signs of major depression, there are some easy life hacks you can try that can improve your mood naturally.
Choose Healthier Foods for a Quick Mood Boost
Remember the old saying, garbage in, garbage out? We literally are what we eat, from the inside out. A diet heavy in processed foods, starches and sugar can contribute to brain fog, weight gain and mood swings. And for some of us, sugary and processed foods can even trigger food binges. A simple, paleo based diet can do your mind and body a world of good. Focus on clean meals featuring lean proteins and veggies. Choose nuts, fruit or dried fruit for a healthy snack option. Give yourself a couple of weeks and note how you’re feeling.
Move Your Body
Yoga is my favorite way to relieve stress, anxiety and depression. If you don’t think you’re flexible enough, don’t worry. There’s a yoga practice out there for you! Practices such as yin and restorative yoga are perfect for people with chronic illness or who are getting older.
Walking is a time tested way of clearing your head. Put some comfortable shoes on and head outside for a walk around your street, or head to a hiking trail near you. Getting some mild physical exertion and getting out in the sun is an instant mood lifter.
If you’re already physically fit, running and CrossFit offer a full body workout and help you with weight gain that may have been caused by depression.
These exercises can be done as a combination for a workout routine or with other exercises to help give you a full workout with the depression fighting options. Either way, give them a try and see how they work for you. Do remember to take it very slowly if you’re living with chronic fatigue or chronic illness. If you overdo it, you may flare or relapse and possibly have to wait several weeks before you can try it again!
Essential Oils for Depression and Anxiety
Lavender essential oil is well known to help relieve stress and reduce anxiety. Other essential oils can be just as effective. Give them a try and see if they help your mood.
Peppermint oil is excellent for an invigorating jumpstart to your body. This invigoration can help if your depression gives you overwhelming feelings of sadness or fatigue. It can also help with postpartum depression by perking your senses up and getting you moving. If your depression and anxiety causes stomach upset, you can ingest food grade peppermint oil to help settle your stomach issues and get you back on track.
Citrus essential oils such as orange are calming, soothing and easy to mix with other essential oils in your diffuser. Orange essential oil can help give you a calming scent that will help to reduce your anxiety and depression. This cheerful essential oil is ideal if you have sudden onset anxiety, such as sleep induced or thought induced anxiety issues. Put a few drops into your diffuser and sit back to inhale the scent. You will find yourself calming after a few moments so you can get your anxiety under control.
Frankincense is a great choice to help keep depression at bay. The oil may be used topically on your wrists and other pulse points of the body. As your pulse causes the pulse points to move slightly, they will infuse the air with the oil that is on those locations. Frankincense can give you a lovely, ongoing feel of serenity.
You can use these essential oils for mild to moderate depression and anxiety. A good idea is to buy roll ons, or make small vials or inhalant vials of the oils that work best for you and carry them with you. This will allow you natural relief at home or when you’re out.
Journaling for Depression
Journaling is often mentioned as a way to cope with depression. There are several reasons for this. The first is that you can work through issues you are having and help to work through what may be casing them. Many times you may find that the issue you thought was causing your depression isn’t the issue at all. In this case, you can root out the real one and work on that issue to remove it and reduce your depression. Another reason journaling helps is that you can focus on positive aspects of your day and keep the negative aspects away to help reduce depression over time.
Mindfulness practices are a wonderful way to help people struggling with mild or moderate depression issues. Mindfulness techniques may include practices such as yoga, coloring, meditation and journaling. The idea behind mindfulness is to focus on your chosen mindful activity. As you do this, negative thoughts and energy will be diminished and you’ll be in a better space.
If you are really struggling with overwhelming thoughts and feelings, please reach out to a qualified mental health professional.