You’re depressed and looking for ways to cure your depression. But you are not willing to take help from a professional or any medication due to various reasons. Don’t worry. Because you CAN overcome depression without medication.
What is depression?
Depression is an illness that persistently makes you feel uninterested in life. It cannot be mistaken as ‘laziness’ or ‘pretentious’ or ‘attention-seeking’. Depression appears as a response to disappointment, severe sorrow or failure. While sadness is a common reaction to loss and challenges in life, depression is unlike sadness. If the mood of sadness continues for more than a few weeks, when the feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness also accompany — then it can be generalized as depression.
General symptoms of depression
Below are a few symptoms that can be identified as depressive symptoms if they are experienced for more than two weeks.
- Low energy, low mood and constant sadness
- Constant irritation for almost everyone and everything in life
- Changes in sleeping patterns, i.e., insomnia or hypersomnia
- Changes in appetite, i.e., not wanting to eat or overeating, resulting in gaining or losing weight
- Low motivation and feelings of emptiness
- Loss of interest in pleasurable hobbies
- Avoidance of work and daily activities
- Feelings of guilt, shame and low self-image
- Loss of interest in self-care (not taking showers or combing hair etc)
- Poor concentration which prevents to complete daily tasks
- Often experiencing panic attacks, anxiety attacks or feeling restless most of the time
- Having headaches, body aches, pain, cramps, digestive problems which aren’t easily curable with medicines
- Suicidal ideation, behavior, or plans, along with self-harm. However, not everyone who is depressed is suicidal)
Did that feel relatable? Yes? Then you should just carry-on reading. Because we are going to discuss the ways to overcome your depression at home. Because you CAN overcome depression without medication.
Self-help is mandatory. No matter where you stand in life, you’ll always be required to look out for yourself. To cope with depression, you need some professionally approved coping skills. These simple ways are beneficial to overcome depression in an easy way.
Why do we get stuck in this circle of depression and stagnation?
Depression is a state of low motivation where you experience bleakness in everything in life. While experiencing depression, you often avoid doing simple day to day tasks just so you won’t have to go through the unpleasantness of life. Avoidance comes when the task that you have to perform is unpleasant. But with depression, every task seems unpleasant. So, you just avoid doing anything and spend the rest of the day cooped up in your bed while the tasks that you have to perform have now accumulated and appearing enormous. Now, every time you intend to perform the task, you experience a great discomfort, because the task is now huge and you realize, you are way behind your schedule. So, you stop addressing the discomfort, avoid doing your job and spend your days mostly in bed ruminating on how far behind you are in your life.
But if you tend to clutch on avoidance, you’ll get stuck in the vicious circle that leads many to seek help from the professional psychologist.
Procrastination is another sign of depression where you keep postponing the work. It doesn’t let you break the cycle of stagnation. While you’re stuck in this unpleasant phase of depression and stagnation, you keep find a way around the actual problem so that you don’t have to face the unpleasantness coming with it.
Common sign of depression is people spend a huge amount time in front of TV, Computer or phone. The media and the temporary pleasure coming through the screens give them the way out to avoid daily life. The content consumed through the screen doesn’t engage you but provokes the release of the dopamine that helps in momentary distraction with diminutive pleasure.
Some Easiest Ways to Overcome Depression Without Medication
1. One task at a time
The best approach to defeat this merciless circle of depression avoidance is to face the everyday challenges one by one. It is necessary to re-engage with your life when you have depression and are stuck in a cycle of avoidance and stagnation. Of course, it is going to be very hard to do so. Because, when you’re depressed, even tidying your room can seem horrendous. Every little task will require double and triple the energy a normal person does.
So, setting up small and manageable goals that you know you’ll be able to handle can help you break out of this vicious cycle. Such as work or clean just for 10 mins as a starter, then increase your timing as you go. As depression and avoidance are passivity, changes towards activation are what you need to break this passivity.
2. Don’t wait for “the right mood”
When you are struggling with depression, you tend to put off the tasks for later. It happens because you’re always in a low depressed mood, and your mood never pushes you forward. If you are aware of these symptoms, then you are also aware that your mood is never going to be ‘right’. If you’re waiting for an ideal time when you’ll be encouraged to do those activities, then it’s never going to come. You’ll forever be stuck in this repetitive cycle of stagnation and it’ll never let you overcome your depression.
If you want to overcome your depression without medication, the first thing you’re going to do is to break this pattern. Stop waiting for the right time and right mood and just do the job. Here, the ‘3 seconds theory’ will be beneficial. If you just pick the first thought in the first 3 seconds and if it says ‘do it’, then you have to pick the job. Once you pick the job, you’re most likely going to do it.
3. Meditation and mindfulness
If you are going through severe depression, you can’t concentrate on a certain task for a prolonged period. Your mind appears to be all over the place. To focus on daily activities and get back to the daily routine, you need to calm your mind. Practicing mindfulness will help you concentrate.
Include a 10 minutes meditation session in your morning or night routine. Just calm your mind and focus on your breathing. Don’t think of anything else. Practicing a small session of mindfulness meditation can bring a positive change to how your brain thinks. It will help you overcome the depressive cycle. Another benefit of practicing mindfulness is, you won’t have to face the side effects that often come with the intake of antidepressants.
The basic mindfulness meditation strategy is:
- Focusing on your breathing.
- Focusing on the present
- Focusing on the sensation in your body.
- Accepting those bodily sensations without judging them.
- Not focusing on other thoughts that may interrupt your meditation.
- Stopping your mind from distractions and bring it back to focus.
Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment. When you start practicing mindfulness, you stop becoming judgmental. Because you accept things as it is without judging anything from your perspective.
4. Spend some time in the Sunlight
Vitamin D is also a weapon against depression. Include at least 10 minutes of sun-time in your daily schedule. Sun exposure is very much needed, and if you cannot have much sun exposure, then ask your doctor if you have some supplements. Because vitamin D deficiency can affect your depression majorly. Also, weather plays a role in maintaining our mood. So we are more depressed in cloudy and rainy weather than on a sunny day. A supplement can be of help on those days.
5. Exercise and Yoga
Exercise and Yoga can be life changing if you want to overcome your depression without medication. When you exercise or do yoga, your body moves effectively. Various yoga poses help improve your balance, focus, flexibility, and strength. Yoga has several benefits.
- It reduces stress
- Yoga aligns the spine
- It improves mental clarity
- It promotes relaxation and overall emotional well-being
Since depression is a state of passivity, moving your body to be active is what will help you break the vicious cycle of stagnation and low energy. Spending half an hour on a low-intensity workout may enhance the quality of your life and improve your mood.
Although, it might be difficult to start an exercise habit when you’re dealing with depression. Because, when you are depressed, your energy is significantly low. So, you feel severely fatigued to even move your body.
To avoid being inactive and stick to your exercise habit, it would require you a companion who can do these yoga sessions with you or motivate or push you to do it. Apart from that, you should remind yourself of the benefits so that you’ll be motivated enough to move and bring yourself to do the workout if you want to overcome your depression without medication.
6. Engage with positive minded people
Dealing with depression can force an immense pressure on your social life. Because you have no energy dealing with toxicity and toxic people. And truthfully, we all should stay away from such people. Toxic people drain our energy more and lower our self-esteem. There is nothing wrong in reaching out to a friend and making plans for a movie night or just hangout.
If you are unable to reach out to a friend or have developed trust issues toward people you know, then there are other ways too. In that case, you can join a support group. People who have similar experiences and are going through a similar situation in life can be informative, too. Sharing your thoughts with people who will understand your problem can be relieving in itself. The best way to deal with a depressive lonely mood is to spend more time with others, preferably with positive minded people.
7. Maintain a regular sleep schedule
Sleep is very important for both our mental and physical health. Those of you suffering from depression may also suffer from insomnia or hypersomnia. Insomnia is when you cannot fall asleep. Or even if you fall asleep, you cannot stay asleep for a long time. You wake up several times at night, not because you had nightmares, but you simply cannot sleep.
In the alternative case, you sleep a lot. You cannot seem to leave your bed. Someday, you sleep more than 12 hours.
Maintaining a proper bedtime and wake up time schedule can be helpful to enhance your sleep quality. Poor quality sleep is directly proportional to that of stress and depression. Also, cutting off screen timing for a consistent period can help you beat the strain in your eyes and brain, which will ultimately lower your stress level.
To keep a healthy sleep schedule, stop using any electronic devices an hour before bed. Instead, read a book for a few minutes. Building a few healthy habits like these will positively help you to get out of the depressive cycle you are stuck in.
Spiritualism and religion can be a great source of support when you are dealing with depression. Practicing spiritualism doesn’t always mean joining a temple or church or any other religious group and places. Simply doing meditation for a few minutes can give you an atmosphere that can uplift your mood and overall well-being.
Not only breathing and mindfulness meditation, but mantra meditation is also very beneficial to build your concentration level. Various researches and studies have shown that different kinds of meditation can be helpful in treating depression and preventing other depression symptoms from coming in the future.
Music therapy is great. Your mood can get affected by music very easily. Listening to jovial, upbeat music can change your sad mood almost instantly. Choosing the right kind of music can uplift your mood. Instead of choosing sad, depressing, emotion focused songs, start listening to songs that exhibit positive energy. Don’t give in to your temptation and select such songs which will intensify your rumination.
10. What are your hobbies?
Literally, to get out of your depression phase you have to beat your inactivity anyhow. Because once you start focusing on something entirely different from the triggering thought that are the causes of your depression, then only you can overcome your depression. Any activity that demands your concentration and also gives you entertainment in return can be of great help.
If you are intending to overcome your depression without medication, then you need to develop some hobbies, creative or just fun activities. For example, painting, gardening, running or simply taking a walk for 10 minutes. These simple activities are capable of doing major changes. You just need to have faith in yourself.
It’s all on you. If you want to defeat your depression, you need to treat yourself better. No one is going to do it for you. It’s you. You are your best friend. So, treat yourself with empathy, give yourself some time, and one day you’ll overcome your depression even without prescribed medicines. Because it’s possible.