• Alex Bovell

6 Depression Tips

Updated: Feb 10, 2019

Living with depression can leave you feeling extremely hopeless at times. It completely drains your energy and motivation along with your happiness, leaving you wondering what the point of everything is.It can feel unbelievably overwhelming making changes and sometimes just becoming aware what your options are can help you kick start your health. Along with trained professionals help, there’s a lot you can do naturally to fight depression and find your joy again.From my experiences this fight is a rollercoaster, however, when i commit to actively managing my depression as i would any other injury or illness, my lows become further and further apart.These little tips and tricks aren’t only for individuals with depression, they’re fundamental to every human who wishes to live their happiest life. Of course there are an abundance of tips and i could write forever, but these are my favourite, these are the ones that help me the most when i commit and make a conscious effort to fight the little black dog.

1. Routine: Depression can destroy the structure in your life, and suddenly one day melts into the next and out of nowhere a week, a month, a year has gone by. I notice when uni finishes for the semester, I tend to go downhill because i don’t have any routine, any motivation to get up and go in the morning. Besides work, I don’t have any commitments filling up my day. This is why incorporating a routine into your day is important. Grab a handwritten diary and schedule in exercise, meeting friends or catching up with family. Setting a gentle routine and schedule can help you get back on track and have purpose throughout your day. I love my handwritten diary because i’m such a perfectionist ticking off things makes me feel accomplished.

2. Goals: When you’re living with depression sometimes you may feel like you can’t achieve anything, increasing these feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness which only makes you feel worse about yourself. I love setting daily, small achievable goals which assist you working towards your big goal. For example, if you’re interested in becoming ‘fitter’ or ‘healthier’ rather than this simply being your goal, create small steps to work towards this. During your first week you might schedule in a 30 minute walk every second day.

3. Exercise: Right now start listing all the exercise/activities you once enjoyed and plan one of these activities daily. As a society we tend to overcomplicate exercise, suggesting we need a whole kit bang and caboodle before we can become healthier. All you need is your body, it’s the perfect resistance to start with. Activities such as pilates, yoga, swimming, walking and playing basketball are amazing activities that will help tick off a number of benefits.Incorporating exercise into your day boosts happy natural chemicals called endorphins. These feel-good endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body which is why lots of people feel euphoric, motivated and energised after they exercise. It’s not new, right? We’ve heard this time and time again but maybe that’s for a reason! Exercise has such an amazing flow on effect, when we move our body, we feel good about ourselves, and consequently we want to nourish our bodies. Name one time you’ve exercised and then felt guilty or upset about doing it. Confidence can increase from daily exercise as you find your physical fitness improving as you meet exercise goals and challenges.Social Interaction is a huge bonus if you’re exercising in a group environment. It can be daunting at first, i remember my first yoga class i walked into was filled with over 40 people. I didn’t know what any of the postures were, i had no idea what the teacher was saying. Yet, now i’ve made some lifelong friends through that environment. Don’t let the fear of other people being in a class stop you! Everyone is honestly more worried about themselves than laughing or looking at other people. When you’re living with depression it’s easy to isolate yourself and withdraw but continuing to socialise even if that’s through exercise is extremely important.Distract your mind from the negative cycle of thoughts feeding and exacerbating your depression. Some exercises work better for me than others when it comes to distracting my mind. If i have to do a monotonous exercise i’ll automatically switch off. That’s why i love functional workouts and yoga because i’m constantly moving and having to concentrate on my strength and balance.

4. Healthy Eating: When you eat healthy food you feel amazing about yourself because nutrition influences the structure and function of our brain cells. Filling your body with processed and packaged junk food will only leave you feeling sluggish, tired, lethargic and unmotivated. It’s taken me awhile to figure out what exactly “healthy eating” is and i’ve realised it’s highly individual. What suits one person’s body may not suit another and it’s important we stop following these fad diets and listen to our own bodies. Although, I will say at the core of all these fad diets, is plant foods! Most of those wacky ‘lose weight quick’ diets advertise eating more fruits and vegetables they just take it to the extreme in one way or another.I personally eat a highly plant based diet, full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats which provide my body with important vitamins and minerals. Every cell of our body requires fuel, which is why it’s critical to eat a balanced wholesome diet nourishing your body with the necessary precursors that increase our serotonin production and therefore boost our happiness.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids found in salmon, fish and tuna, are amazing for the health and function of your brain and are found to assist the treatment of depression. This is because of the role they play in brain structure. I definitely don’t find it a coincidence that omega-3 levels in individuals are plummeting whilst the rate of depression is rising. If you don’t like fish, there’s always the option of a practitioner range supplement that can provide your body with an bioavailable source of omega-3 fatty acid.

TIP: For one week, increase your daily raw vegetable intake to at least 4 cups including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, pumpkin, capsicum, spinach, kale, lettuce, corn, tomato and mushrooms. We might think we’re eating enough veggies, yet those few spinach leaves in your sandwich unfortunately isn’t. Start filling your plate with a range of rainbow coloured vegetables and notice your health improve from the inside out.

5. Sleep is one of the first areas disrupted from depression, and this only contributes and enhances the lows we feel. Think about when you’re tired, your tolerance shortens, your overall outlook on life worsens and your energy along with your motivation plummets. Without enough sleep, it’s easy to stay at home all day without socialising or doing any physical activity… easy to see how it’s a quick downhill slope and negative cycle. I’ve become quite the Nanna in my ‘old’ age (of 22) and love nothing more than snuggling into bed around 9pm with a tea and watching re-runs of my favourite tv show. I know i should read a book, i’m completely aware of the disruptions blue rays from Tvs and computers have on our sleep patterns reducing our melatonin production (I’m working of this bad habit). Start small, work towards going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night for 1 week and notice how you feel after the extra sleep. Slowly increase and work on getting those 8 hours of crucial sleep.

6. Reach Out: This can be the hardest! I can’t count the number of times I have relied on my family or boyfriend for support. No, i’m not talking about sending a text or messaging them on facebook… I mean face-to-face real life contact. I always feel like a burden, I don’t think that will go away but I don’t let that feeling stop me from asking for help. It can feel embarrassing, we want others to think we have it ‘all worked out’ but i promise your loved ones will not think anything less of you. They’ll understand how much you need them, how much strength it takes to ask for help. Talking to a family member or friend is honestly the best thing in my opinion to lift my mood. Sometimes just opening up and lifting the weight off your shoulders is so beneficial. When there’s so much going on inside your head it’s easy to let that take over your mood, which is why talking to someone you trust allows you to lighten the load that’s weighing you down.

I sincerely hope there was something in this post that you found helpful. It’s really nothing new, we hear it all the time but I want to share my perspective and how these tips have helped with my own depression at various times and i’m hoping they’ll help you as well.Xxx