Depression, also known as clinical depression, is a prevalent but critical disorder that affects one’s mood. The disorder causes severe symptoms, all of which have a critical impact on one’s daily routines. Some of these symptoms include working, sleeping, eating, socializing and even parenting. The most important thing to note about depression is that it goes beyond daily blues, and for it to be diagnosed, the symptoms must have persisted for at least a fortnight.
There are different forms of depression, ranging from Postpartum depression (in women after childbirth), seasonal affective disorder (depression that sets in during winter) and psychotic depression. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges presently is the stigma that surrounds depression, with a large percentage of the global population trivializing it yet it is actually a real disease. The disorder should not be attributed to weakness, or one’s inability to ‘get their act together’. The best news is that there are treatment therapies available for those struggling with depression. Coupled with the right support system and a handful of home remedies, you can recover completely and make the best of your life. Below are some of the home remedies available for your use.
NOTE: however, that these remedies are not a conclusive treatment course, and should only be used in line with what your doctor recommends.
1. Indulge in Diet That Alters Your Mood for the Better:
Time Required: Varies depending on your choice food.
What You Need: This diet typically includes foods such as healthy oils (coconut and olive oil), fish (rich in Omega-3) as well as eggs.
Commonly referred to as happy foods, this diet is laden with foods that help alter your mood and make you happier. The biological explanation behind this choice of remedy is that all of the aforementioned foods have compounds that act as precursors for the synthesis of serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical substance that is responsible for one’s ‘feel good moods’. In line with this, a number of the medicines that are prescribed for the treatment of depression contain compounds that prevent the action of serotonin uptake. This, in effect, increases the amount of serotonin in the body so that the raised levels help manage one’s moods.
- Prepare your preferred food using your choice recipe and indulge.
Time Required: 5 Min to 45 Min.
What You Need: Time blocks where you are un-rushed and a quiet comfortable place where you are at ease.
Meditation is a subtle but effective tool in the management of depression. It is often recommended alongside a handful of techniques and medication. The reason why meditation works for many depressed people is that it helps one reflect and sort out their thoughts.
Most people are living at a frenetic pace, and in today’s world, this means there is less time to sift through one’s mental processes. Meditation creates the perfect space for this, allowing one to slow down. If you have never meditated before, ensure that you start small. This simply means that at the onset, 5 minutes should work for you. Once you have gotten the gist of it, you can then work on creating more time as far as is convenient for you.
- Find a quiet comfortable place to avoid any interruptions.
- Switch off your phone and any other gadgets. Alternatively, leave them in a different place.
- Inhale deeply, then exhale. Try as much as you can to regulate your breathing.
- While doing this, slow down your thought process. Avoid overthinking too. At the start, this may be a tad bit difficult, but you could work around it by acknowledging the specific thought and allowing it to slide away.
- This is a basic guide to meditation; there are lots of techniques available, so find one that suits you.
- Your choice location, and how long your meditation lasts is entirely up to you.
3. Chamomile Tea:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Cup of hot water, strainer, 1 teabag of chamomile tea (or 1 tablespoon of dried chamomile) and 1 teaspoon of raw honey (optional).
One of the most common symptoms of depression is distorted sleeping patterns. This manifests in different ways, but typically revolves around lack of sleep at night alongside the inability to fall asleep at night. This is where chamomile comes in handy. The tea is known for its effective relaxation properties, thanks to the presence of a particular set of flavanoids. The best time to take the chamomile tea is just before bedtime to allow you unwind and relax. This relaxation contributes a great deal in the home treatment of depression.
- Boil the cup of water and set aside.
- Add the dried chamomile and allow to steep for 5 minutes. If you are using the chamomile teabag, let it steep for 15 minutes.
- This allows the flavanoids to seep into the water.
- Pass the drink through the strainer before adding the honey.
- Drink this tea at least half an hour before you head to sleep for the best results.
4. Increased Magnesium Intake:
Time Required: Varies depending on the specific food.
What You Need: Foods rich in Magnesium.
Increasing your Magnesium intake has a positive effect for anyone suffering from depression. As one of the most abundant mineral salt in the human body, the mineral’s functions plays a great role in the management of one’s moods. One of the reasons for this is that Magnesium makes up a part of the enzymatic structures in the body, allowing for optimal functioning. For depressed persons, the presence of Magnesium helps in the stabilization of the neurotransmitters in the brain. Whatever you choose to add to your diet, make sure that you increase your Magnesium intake.
- Indulge in your preferred food. Some of the foods you can add to your diet include cashew nuts, bananas, spinach and cooked black beans among others.
- You can also increase the amount of dark leafy vegetables you take.
5. Regular Exercise:
Time Required: Varies from one activity to another, but 30 minutes should do you fine.
What You Need: Appropriate gear depending on your choice exercise.
Research shows that there is a direct relationship between exercise and one’s moods. For those struggling with depression, one of the simplest ways to feel better is to exercise. Exercise works for the most part because it allows the body to release a set of chemical compounds known as endorphins.
Endorphins are responsible for the ‘good’ feeling that you get after exercising. It is important to make it clear that exercise need not be a grueling 2 hours of charged workout sessions; even 30 minutes of brisk walking will do you good. Other options available for you include gentle aerobic sessions, swimming and light jogging among others. Lastly, the advantage of exercise is that it gets you out of the foggy phase of depression and out of bed too.
- Settle for your preferred exercise and make it a regular part of your schedule.
6. Pumpkin Seeds:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Cup of pumpkin seeds and a dash of salt.
Pumpkin seeds are packed with two key compounds that are of great help when dealing with depression. These are both healthy fats and Magnesium. The healthy fats are ideal because they ensure optimal function of the brain while the benefits of Magnesium are as aforementioned. In addition, the seeds have a high concentration of an amino acid known as tryptophan. This amino acid plays a key role in the synthesis of serotonin, the chemical substance that is responsible for one’s good moods. By taking the seeds, you are better placed to deal with the accompanying symptoms of depression.
- Indulge in the cup of pumpkin seeds at least once daily.
- In addition to the benefits, the seeds have a delightful nutty taste that will boost your energy levels.
7. St. John’s Wort:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: St. John’s wort capsules (available commercially).
St. John’s wort has been used since ancient civilizations to treat conditions affecting one’s mood. Different studies have shown that the herb is effective in the treatment of mild cases of depression. Research indicates that the herb’s ability to treat depression is attributed to the presence of its active compound, hypercin. Hypercin, like several pharmaceutical products used to treat depression, work by increasing the amount of serotonin in circulation.
This in turn, helps lower the intensity of the associated symptoms. It is very important to note that while it has fewer side effects compared to some of the drugs available in the market, it does have the potential for drug-drug interactions with adverse effects. As a general guide, double check with your doctor before incorporating the herb supplements to your diet.
- Take the herbs using the dosage provided by your doctor.
8. Lower Your Coffee Intake:
Time Required: Takes some time to eventually get rid off the caffeine, and this varies from one person to the other.
What You Need: Find beverages to take in place of coffee; green tea for instance works well. You will need a cup of hot water and 1 green teabag. Honey is optional.
Coffee has long been linked to various benefits for the human body, but as far as depression is concerned, this is one of the simplest ways to compound the condition. Granted, coffee gives you a perfect boost in your moods, but after some time, all this comes tumbling down. A number of studies indicate that caffeine present in the tea has the capacity to affect the process of serotonin synthesis in the brain. The result is a dip in one’s moods, thus worsening the effects of depression.
In place of coffee, you may opt to add green tea to your diet. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid which helps boost one’s mood. At the onset, you may need to focus on lowering the number of cups of coffee before eventually ditching the habit altogether. Below are the steps to follow for the preparation of green tea.
- Steep the teabag in the cup of water for some 5 minutes.
- You may add some honey too.
- Drink this tea first thing every morning for the best results.
9. Set Achievable Goals and Work Yourself Into a Routine:
Time Required: Varies among individuals.
What You Need: Pen and paper, flexible time.
With depression, it is easy to just let the days slip like sand through an hour glass. This is because depression creeps up and messes up your daily activities. By creating a schedule of things you intend to accomplish, as well as creating a routine, you should be able to ease the symptoms of the condition. Creating a schedule does not necessarily mean cramming your day with to-do lists. You can always start small, even if it is just one task. Building up on this helps you bounce back faster after bouts of depression.
- Create a schedule alongside the goals set for a specific period of time (preferably a small time frame until you get into a routine).