Before you go on an antidepressant — the Women to Women approach
Contrary to what some of the marketing campaigns for antidepressants tell us, feeling good is not just about one single molecule in the brain. There are almost always several underpinnings to depression. From sunlight to snacking, our brain chemistry can be coaxed with our choices. There is so much you can do in your daily life to support more positive moods. Here are our suggestions for where to start.
- Eat a low glycemic-load, Mediterranean-style diet with adequate protein and abundant plant foods.
- Adopt a high-quality multivitamin/mineral regime, including omega-3’s (EPA and DHA).
- Have your vitamin D level tested regularly and, depending on your levels and geographic region, expose your skin safely to the sun or supplement with vitamin D accordingly.
- Go to bed by 10:00 pm and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise 4–6 times a week for 30–60 minutes, preferably outdoors.
- Avoid alcohol and other recreational drugs, opting instead for drug-free relaxation methods such as transcendental meditation, yoga, or qi gong.
- Consider talking to your practitioner about alternative therapies like those described in the section above.
“It would be easier to roll up the entire sky into a small cloth than it would be to obtain true happiness without knowing the Self.” — The Upanishads, as translated by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Give yourself a lift — naturally
There may be some comfort in knowing that depression, at minimum, offers us some impetus to examine and change our lives. Give some consideration to how your circumstances may be affecting your outlook on life. Does the way you nourish yourself each day help you feel better, or could it be making things worse? Explore your sleep patterns, your environment, the way you spend your time and with whom you spend it — and don’t be afraid to try something new. Be kind to yourself, take some time to find what feels good and right for you, and don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand. It may be hard to believe now, but feeling down is most likely temporary — the tincture of time may be the kindest and gentlest of healers of all. And you can rest easily, knowing that there are plenty of natural ways to support your mood and outlook along the way.
With some deep reflection, supportive guidance, and hope, you can feel good again — in body, mind, and spirit.