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If you are experiencing feelings of depression or hopelessness, then medication can be an important step in your recovery. If you choose to move on from anti-depressants, or prefer to try a natural solution first, there are a range of ways that you can look after your mental wellbeing. These can also work well alongside drug treatments.

Remember that, although it may seem like it at times, you are not alone. One in four people experience issues with their mental health each year, and one in six people struggle with issues like depression in any given week in England. It is not unusual or shameful to deal with depression, and we can all benefit from taking steps to look after our mental wellbeing.

  1. Herbal remedies

There are a number of herbal remedies and supplements that have been shown to help boost the mood and reduce feelings of depression.

One of the most popular is St. John’s Wort, which is often described as a natural anti-depressant as it is thought to increase serotonin levels. If you are taking any medication, check with your doctor before taking this herb.

It has also been suggested that lavender can be beneficial as it helps us to relax. Inhaling lavender oil before bed, or putting a few drops on your pillow at night, can help you to get a good night’s sleep, which supports your mental wellbeing. Insomnia can be a symptom of depression, so this is a good natural remedy to help if you are finding yourself tossing and turning at night or experiencing broken sleep.

Chinese medicine has long been aware of the benefit of herbal remedies, and you can speak to an expert to find the perfect blend of herbs to suit your needs, as well as getting them all delivered to your door.

  1. Dietary changes

A number of foods can help lift your mood. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to support depression – these are most commonly found in fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, but you can also take supplements.

Low levels of zinc have been found to be associated with depression, so increasing the meat, shellfish, dairy foods and cereal products you eat can be beneficial. There have also been suggestions that eating saffron could help your mood.

Depression can drive you to seek out foods that are high in sugar or simple carbohydrates, which will ultimately make your mood worse. So try to resist the urge to comfort eat and focus on maintaining a healthy diet.

If you’d like to find out more about tailoring your diet to your personal wellbeing needs, a nutritional therapist can help by designing a bespoke lifestyle programme just for you.

  1. Exercise

When you feel depressed, the last thing you want to do is get up and about. But keeping active releases endorphins that lift your mood, and is good for your overall energy levels. Studies have also shown that regular exercise helps your brain to rewire itself in more positive ways.

Low-impact exercise activities, like swimming or yoga, can be easier to face if you’re feeling low, and help to stretch your muscles which is useful for unwinding and relaxing your mind.

If you don’t feel up to going out and seeing people, you can join our yoga classes via Zoom, giving you the benefits of an exercise routine from the comfort of your own home.

  1. Mindfulness

One of the difficulties of depression is that it tends to force your brain to focus on either distressing incidents from your past or worries about your future. Or both. Mindfulness is a useful tool for helping you to stay in the present. You can then look at what you’re able to control right now, and what actions you can take immediately to look after yourself.

Mindfulness and meditation also help you to relax, and increase your body’s natural serotonin levels.

  1. Brain training

Taking control of your mindset is an important element of battling depression. Getting into a regular routine, and sticking to it, can be incredibly helpful in fighting against those overwhelming negative thoughts. It also gives you a sense of structure and normality at a time when life can feel highly unsettled.

Setting goals, even just small ones, can give a focus to your day and allow you to feel a sense of achievement that will increase your self-esteem. Start with something as basic as making your bed each morning or going for a walk once a week, then build up to more challenging goals as you feel able.

If you want to learn more about goal-setting and other techniques to manage your mindset, life coaching can help.

  1. Ozone therapy

Ozone therapy, where an energised form of concentrated oxygen is introduced to your body, has been shown to boost emotional wellbeing and even give a feeling of euphoria. It also helps to improve sleep and aid relaxation.

An ozone sauna is a great way to experience the benefits of ozone therapy in your own personal cosy cabin.

  1. Eco-therapy

Getting out and about in nature is known to support mental wellbeing due to the combination of fresh air, exercise and peaceful surroundings. Eco-therapy harnesses these benefits and takes them a step further. There is no one way to do eco-therapy, it is purely an outdoor activity in nature – it could be something as simple as gardening or walking in the woods, or it could be a more formal arrangement such as a conservation project.

Having a set activity to do at a regular time gives you that important routine, and completing a goal that you’ve set will provide that important sense of achievement. At the same time, you are getting that endorphin boost from the exercise and potentially connecting with other people taking part in the same project.

You can find out more about eco-therapy projects on the Mind website.

If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm, or finding life difficult to cope with, speak to your GP as soon as possible in the first instance. If you feel your are experiencing a mental health crsis, reach out for help through your local NHS helpline, and there are other mental health organisations that can help with specific issues.

If you would like to talk more about how the therapies we offer can help your mental wellbeing, feel free to give us a call on 01273 698687.