Depression can strike at any time, but it commonly occurs during major life transitions, such as the end of a relationship. Symptoms of depression can include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety about the future, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and changes in sleeping patterns and appetite. It is challenging to let go of something old and embrace a different possibility in life, but it can be managed. For severe cases of depression, it may be necessary to take a pharmaceutical approach, but for many milder cases, natural treatments may be very effective in alleviating symptoms. Here are 5 natural methods to treat depression following a break up:
1. Eat well. It is important to take care of the body, as the health or the body impacts the health of the mind. As tempting as it may be to grab junk and comfort foods, try to focus your diet around fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid highly processed foods and sugars. If you are struggling with your appetite, try carrying around high protein, healthy snack foods and eating small amounts throughout the day. If your tendency is to overeat, do not eat while distracted, i.e. in front of the TV. Try setting a time at night when you stop eating for the day.
2. Take supplements. Start with a good, food based multivitamin. If you do not eat a lot of calcium rich foods, take a calcium supplement. Try fish oil. Its many physical benefits include improved brain health. You may take 5 HTP (hydroxytryptophan), a natural antidepressant that is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is involved in mood regulation. L-Theanine is often taken in conjunction with 5 HTP and is a natural anti-anxiety supplement.
3. Implement an exercise regimen approved by your doctor. Cardiovascular exercise is ideal for treating depression. What you want is an activity that will elevate your heart rate and keep it up for a period of time. This allows for the release of the feel good compounds, endorphins, that elevate mood. An added bonus is better overall physical health and better body image. The ideal is 45 minutes of cardio activity 5 days per week, but don't avoid exercise if that seems too much for you. Any amount is helpful.
4. Talk it out. A good counselor is very helpful. Having a professional, unbiased person to offer you feedback and perspective on you and your past relationship can be invaluable. You will be better able to process the break up, as well as take valuable lessons forward into your future. Friends and family are also important to have close when you're depressed, to offer emotional support and help fill the time you used to spend with your partner.
5. Do one kind thing for yourself daily. Make a list of small things you enjoy doing. Each day, choose one thing off your list and do it for yourself. When you have exhausted that list, create a new one.