Depression is a common affliction affecting many people at some point or another in their lives. Divorce is one of the most traumatic life transitions and frequently causes individuals to experience depression symptoms. The symptoms can include a sense of hopelessness, sadness, anxiety about the future, loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed, and changes in sleep habits or appetite. Severe cases of depression may merit a pharmaceutical approach to treatment, but many milder cases are very responsive to natural methods of treatment. Here are 4 natural ways to overcome the negative symptoms of depression during divorce:
1. Address your diet. The mind and body are closely connected, and the health of one impacts the health of the other. Try eating mostly fresh vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Reduce your intake of sugars and highly processed foods. If your appetite is affected by depression, and you are having trouble eating, try carrying around snack foods and eating a mouthful now and then. Jerky and nuts are good choices. If your issue is with overeating, make sure not to eat while distracted, i.e. in front of the television, and set a cut off time in the evening when you stop eating.
2. Try supplements. Take a good, food based multivitamin. Add a calcium supplement if you do not consume a large number of calcium rich foods. Try fish oil, which promotes brain health, and 5 HTP (hydroxytryptophan), which is a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. L-Theanine is often taken in conjunction with 5 HTP (hydroxytryptophan), and is a natural anti-anxiety supplement.
3. Implement a doctor approved exercise program. Any exercise is helpful, but the ideal "prescription" would be cardiovascular exercise. What you want is an activity that raises your heart rate for a period long enough to release endorphins, the feel good chemicals that contribute to a feeling of well being. If you can get to 45 minutes of cardio exercise 5 times per week, that is a great goal. Do what you can. Not only will your mood lift, but greater fitness and better body image will lift your spirits.
4. Talk it out. Speaking with a professional counselor can be extremely helpful as you sort through your emotions surrounding the divorce. Having an unbiased, trained person offer you feedback and perspective can go a long way in giving you a sense of peace and resolution. Reach out to friends and family as well during this time, to be sure you are not too isolated and have adequate emotional support.
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