Unfortunately, mental health issues like depression are a big part of life.
Rates of both anxiety and depression have increased 25% worldwide since 2020 due to the pandemic, so there’s a good chance that you know someone who suffers from depression or have it yourself.
With symptoms like feelings of worthlessness, sadness, and loss of interest in some of your favorite activities, it’s safe to say that depression can be awful. Though we’d recommend speaking to your doctor or mental health professional about your symptoms, it’s important to remember that there are a few all-natural ways to combat depression.
Before we go into the natural ways to combat depression, it’s important to note that this article isn’t meant to discourage or shame those who seek other methods of treatment like therapy or medication. We’re strong believers in therapy and recognize that there are times when medication is the best route to take, but there’s no harm in adding these natural methods into your routine, and they’re all scientifically proven to reduce symptoms of depression.
1. Take a Vitamin D Supplement
Multiple studies show that vitamin D is good for your mental health, and examples are as obvious as how you naturally feel better when you get some sunshine. Before you start looking into taking a vitamin D supplement, it’s important to ask your doctor to run a blood test to see if you're deficient in vitamin D and/or what your dosage should be.
Combine vitamin K with vitamin D for better absorption.
Research also shows that combining vitamin D with vitamin K (be sure to ask your doctor about vitamin K dosage too) can lead to better absorption, benefitting both your mental and physical health. Other ways to increase your vitamin D intake are to spend more time outside in the sun, drink St. John's Wort tea (be sure to ask your doctor about it because it can interact negatively with other medications or supplements), and eat foods rich in vitamin D like salmon and eggs.
2. Exercise Regularly
We all know going on a walk or run on a sunny day can do wonders for our mental health, but did you know that strength training can help too? According to a 2018 study, “After examining the results of 33 randomized clinical trials involving more than 1,800 people, they found that people with mild to moderate depression who performed resistance training two or more days a week saw ‘significant’ reductions in their symptoms, compared with people who did not. The findings also suggested that resistance exercises may be even more beneficial for those with more severe depressive symptoms.”
Other studies show that strength training can reduce anxiety too, so it’s definitely a good idea to add this form of exercise to your routine. Fitness influencer, Mari Llewellyn, who lost 90 pounds and completely transformed her life cites strength training as her favorite form of exercise. She says it improves both her physical and mental health, and we can’t think of a better endorsement for why you should give this method a try.
3. Address Your Gut Health
You’ve probably heard about the importance of gut health on your favorite health influencer’s Instagram story, and it’s something everyone should look into. According to Cell, the scientific journal published by the California Institute of Technology, “it is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract.”
Serotonin “plays a key role in such body functions as mood, sleep, digestion, nausea, wound healing, bone health, blood clotting and sexual desire.” If you care about your mental health, you probably also care about your serotonin levels, meaning you should take the time to address your gut health.
About 90% of your body’s serotonin is made in your digestive tract.
The gut-brain connection proves there are numerous mental health benefits to investing in your gut health, and a good place to start is to look for signs of an unhealthy gut and talk to your doctor. Some simple ways to improve or maintain your gut health are to take a probiotic, regularly eat fermented foods like sauerkraut or kombucha, eat yogurt, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep.
Symptoms of depression can be debilitating, but the good news is that there are all-natural ways to help relieve your symptoms. Though they might not make you feel 100% better, and we’d still recommend seeking out help from a mental health professional, it’s definitely a good idea to add these all-natural methods into your daily self-care routine.
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