5 Lifestyle Changes to Make to Relieve Depression Symptoms

Mar 06, 2023

5 Lifestyle Changes to Make to Relieve Depression Symptoms

Depression is a serious but treatable mental health condition. Talk therapy and medication can offer life-changing solutions. However, there’s plenty you can do on a daily basis to relieve your symptoms as well. Keep reading to learn more.

Depression is a widespread mental health disorder and a leading cause of disability worldwide. But the good news is that highly effective solutions exist for this condition, whether you have mild symptoms or those that become severe.

Our team at Associates in Behavioral Science has the experience and compassion you need to diagnose, treat, and manage your depression symptoms. And our strategies don’t stop with medications or talk therapy. Instead, we help you identify specific lifestyle changes you can make to ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Do you have depression? These five lifestyle changes could help.

1. Eat right

Food is more than something to curb hunger pains — it provides essential nutrients that help our bodies function, including the brain. Without a steady stream of nutrients, the brain can’t function properly and make the neurotransmitters you need for optimal mental and emotional wellness.

To help feed your body and your brain, we recommend filling up on fresh, whole foods and drinking plenty of water. You should also limit your salt, refined sugar, and saturated and trans fat intake. More simply put? Ditch the junk food.

Finally, if you experience anxiety along with depression, limiting or avoiding caffeine could also be beneficial.

2. Move your body

Finding the motivation to exercise can be hard under the best circumstances but next to impossible when you feel depressed. However, physical activity stimulates endorphin and serotonin production, neurotransmitters in the brain that ease depression.

Additional benefits that exercise has on depression include:

  • Boosting confidence and self-esteem
  • Reducing stress
  • Enhancing relationships and social connections
  • Fostering personal empowerment
  • Improving sleep quality

For the best results, try to move your body 3-5 times each week for at least 30 minutes. Any exercise can help, especially activities like walking outdoors, yoga, and tai chi.

3. Don’t skimp on sleep

It’s hard to feel your best when you’re not getting enough quality sleep. Unfortunately, disrupted sleep is a common complication of this mood disorder. 

You can help improve your sleep by creating a new bedtime routine. It should include a consistent sleep schedule and habits you stick to, even on the weekends. Then, make sure you have a sleep space that’s calming, soothing, and comfortable. 

Your bedtime routine can also start with habits that encourage relaxation, like taking a warm bath, some gentle stretching, or meditating. And to really recapture those ZZZs, stop using screens at least an hour before heading to bed.

4. Try meditation

Meditation is a daily habit that can improve numerous aspects of life, including easing depression, anxiety, and stress — and it can improve your sleep too! And don’t worry; you don’t have to sit in uncomfortable positions for hours at a time to see the benefits.

There are several kinds of meditation, ranging from simple breathing techniques to walking exercises, but they share a similar goal: creating a sense of relaxation and a more tranquil mind. No matter which approach feels most comfortable for you, these sessions can offer numerous rewards. 

The best part? Meditation can provide results in as little as 10 minutes a day.

5. Avoid alcohol

Last but not least, we highly recommend avoiding alcohol when struggling with depression. 

Studies show that people with this mood disorder often have more problems with alcohol use than other people do. In fact, the two conditions often occur simultaneously. For some, it can be a way to self-medicate — or ease their symptoms. However, the substance is also depressant, which can worsen symptoms, creating a cycle that becomes pervasive and even problematic.

Fortunately, avoiding alcohol can improve depression symptoms, and the reverse is true as well. 

Depression can leave you feeling hopeless, but you’re not alone. We can create a personalized treatment strategy that gets your condition under control in no time.

To learn more about psychological testing and treatment options for mental health disorders like depression, contact Associates in Behavioral Science in Berwyn, Illinois today.