5 Easy Daily Habits That Can Help Alleviate Depression
Title: 5 Easy Daily Habits That Can Help Alleviate Depression
Depression is a mental health disorder that can profoundly affect one's quality of life. While professional treatment is essential for moderate to severe depression, incorporating certain daily habits can be beneficial in managing mild symptoms and improving overall mental health.
During my flight with AML cancer that began in 2019, I became severely depressed and spent months trying to get help for that. My cancer doctors didn't seem to want to help me in that direction. A mostly hands-off, you can deal with that on your own attitude was present with most of the doctors and medical staff I had been working with.
Not only was I fighting depression, but also brain fog, and slowness of thought. I just didn't have clarity. So I looked up medical journals related to brain fog and chemo-related side effects.
An additional vector of chemo affects the white matter of the brain, contributing to the "Chemo Fog". After talking to my therapists and doing some research, there are ways to combat this. I no longer have the foggy, cognitive decline from the chemo I received many months ago.
Traditional research suggested that the stimulant only worked on teenage to young adolescent subjects. My result was clear, and my brain fog lifted. The target for me was the white matter regrowth.
I am 53 this year.
My personal situation was helped by an anti-depressant that has side effects similar to a popular stimulant, I had begun using Wellbutrin.
Edit: Traditional research suggested that the stimulant only worked on teenage to young adolescent subjects. My result was clear, and my brain fog lifted. The target for me was the white matter regrowth.
Here are five easy daily habits that can help alleviate depression
1. **Maintaining a Regular Sleep Schedule:**
- **Why It Helps:** Sleep is crucial for mental health. Irregular sleep patterns can exacerbate depression.
-- I personally started using an Oura ring quite a few years ago, and it helps me measure pulse-ox, REM, deep sleep, and light sleep, and with the pulse-ox, I get an idea of how well I avoid snoring too.
- **How to Implement:** Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Create a relaxing bedtime routine and make your sleep environment comfortable. Limit screen time and caffeine intake in the evening.
-- I also use audio of rain and thunderstorms along with mental thoughts of what it feels like to get to sleep. Just repeating the word 'sleep' is enough for me now to start diving into that space of sleep.
2. **Engaging in Physical Activity:**
- **Why It Helps:** Exercise has been shown to release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural mood lifters.
-- Hormonal regulation: Exercise can also help to regulate several hormones in the body, such as insulin, cortisol, and growth hormone. Regular physical activity can improve insulin sensitivity, making cells more responsive to insulin and aiding in blood sugar regulation. It also helps lower cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and promotes the release of growth hormone, which is involved in tissue repair and growth.
I've spent many years in the gym, lifting, and bodybuilding, I've never competed however. I grew up on a farm and genetically have large musculature due to all the work I did as a teenager, and also most likely the genes from my mother and father, we were English, Dutch, and other Scandinavian countries by heritage.
Along with taking supplements of branch chain amino acids, I also looked for other supplements like "Focus Factor" which I took for a few years. It did help cognition, but I ultimately stopped using supplements like that.
- **How to Implement:** Find an activity you enjoy – it could be anything from a brisk walk to yoga or dancing. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Remember, even a little bit of activity is better than none.
3. **Practicing Mindfulness and Meditation:**
- **Why It Helps:** Mindfulness and meditation can help you manage negative thoughts and reduce stress, which can contribute to depression.
-- For my personal meditations I use sound, mental thought, and quieting mantras like word repetition and mental imagery of body healing and pain reduction.
- **How to Implement:** Dedicate a few minutes each day to mindfulness or meditation. You can use guided meditation apps, practice deep breathing, or simply spend some time paying attention to your thoughts without judgment.
4. **Eating a Balanced Diet:**
- **Why It Helps:** What you eat can significantly affect your brain and mood. Consuming a balanced diet can help regulate neurotransmitters linked to mood.
-- Oddly for me, when I'm depressed or lacking motivation, a meal with good fats almost always corrects this. This too, I believe you can't have a balanced diet without adequate levels of good fats. Research details about the Omega fats 3, 6, and 9, there are more. But the 3 main Omegas are well documented. Avoid personal thoughts on these, do the research for yourself. There are medical journals that can guide you.
Here is one such study, geared towards children on the spectrum, but the information is useful nonetheless. https://paulnorg.click/fatty-acid-studies-www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- **How to Implement:** Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins, such as fish, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Try to limit high sugar and processed foods.
5. **Staying Socially Connected:**
- **Why It Helps:** Social support is crucial for mental well-being. Isolation can exacerbate depressive symptoms.
-- It is crucial to have social interactions for humankind, in my opinion. One of the things that gives me healing when I'm depressed is that of conversation. Even if I'm not with the person I'm talking to physically, the conversation baselines my feelings, and emotions, and has a lasting effect for hours. Daily communication is preferable. Without periodic communication, humans will drop deeper into levels of depression.
- **How to Implement:** Make an effort to stay connected with friends or family. If meeting in person isn’t possible, try connecting through phone calls, texts, or video chats. Join clubs or groups that align with your interests.
Remember, while these daily habits can be helpful, they are not a substitute for professional treatment, especially in cases of moderate to severe depression. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice and treatment options if you are struggling with depression. Additionally, be patient with yourself as forming new habits takes time, and there might be days when it's particularly challenging to stick to them. The key is consistency and finding what works best for you.