Treating depression naturally

Did you know that around 10–15 per cent of older people deal with depression and that approximately 10 per cent experience symptoms of anxiety? Have you ever felt depressed? Recognizing depression starts with knowing the signs and symptoms, such as:

  • ongoing sadness
  • fatigue
  • losing interest in hobbies or pastimes
  • reluctance to be with friends, engage in activities or leave the house
  • weight loss or loss of appetite.


And even if sadness is not a factor, there are still other signs of which to take notice:

  • incessant aches and pains
  • feeling hopeless or helpless
  • anxiety and worry
  • memory problems
  • lack of motivation
  • low energy
  • slowed movement and speech
  • irritability
  • neglecting personal care, such as skipping meals, forgetting meds, poor personal hygiene
  • sleep disturbances
  • loss of self-worth, feeling like a burden, self-loathing
  • increased use of alcohol or other drugs
  • fixation on death, including suicidal thoughts.


Being depressed can make you feel helpless. Changing your behaviour, your lifestyle, your level of physical activity, or even your way of thinking may not be an easy task, but they are all natural and effective ways to manage the symptoms of depression. And while therapy and medication can play an important role, there’s a lot you can do to complement such treatments.

Create a routine

Psychiatrists say that one of the best ways to manage depression is to have a routine. Depression can make it feel as if each day blends into the next, so setting yourself an easy daily schedule may return some structure to your life.

Set goals

When you’re depressed, you may feel as though you can’t accomplish anything, which can make you feel worse. Small, simple daily goals, which, when accomplished, can give you a sense of achievement and make you feel a lot more positive.

Exercise more

Endorphins – the brain’s natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals – can be stimulated by exercising at least three times per week. Recent studies have found that exercise helps alleviate symptoms of depression. It doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym or do something extraneous – walking just a few times a week may do wonders.

Eat healthier

Eating healthily can help you feel better about yourself. Good foods to add to your diet are those with high omega-3 fatty acids (such as wild salmon) and foods with folic acid (such as spinach and avocado). 

Improve your sleep routine

If you have trouble sleeping, try going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, remove the television from your bedroom, or try these helpful tips. Improving your quality of sleep can go a long way towards alleviating depression.

Responsibility is good

You may feel like you want to withdraw from everyday life, but being involved with daily responsibilities can work as a natural treatment for depression. Working or volunteering – even part-time – will give you a sense of achievement and help to uplift your mood.

Try something new

Depression can make you feel as though you’re stuck in the mud, so it can help to do something different. You could try heading into town for the day or reading a book in the park. Or how about helping out at a community garden or learning a new language? Challenging yourself alters your brain activity and stimulates dopamine levels – which increases your more positive emotions.

Do the things you like

Remember the things you used to enjoy doing? Well, even if doing them again seems like a chore, it is important to reclaim your lust for life – and doing things you like is one of the quickest roads back to happier times.

And remember, if you ever find that you’re struggling, never feel ashamed to seek professional help.

Do you ever feel depressed? If so, do you have any good suggestions on how you deal with depression? Why not share them? 

For more information on treating depression, please visit Beyond Blue.




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