With depression and anxiety rates increasing and the use of anti-depressant medication at an all-time high people are looking for an alternative and safe approach to treating mental health challenges like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
With so much information out there and new studies coming out every week, telling us what is good for us and what is bad for us, how do we know what to do and who to believe?
We’re here to help you get started.
These 5 tips on how to treat depression are a great place to start and it’s all about lifestyle interventions that anyone can do.
So lets get started
1. Eat to thrive and treat depression
It seems that everyone is on about food and the new diet fad that will change the world.
But it doesn’t need to be hard, so let’s make this easy:
- Don’t eat or drink sugar. Reduce it wherever you can.
- If it’s from a factory, forget it. Keep as natural as possible. Don’t eat processed food.
- Remove starchy carbs, bread and non-whole grains from your diet.
- Increase your good fat content and protein to feed your brain and begin re-training your body to burn fat for fuel (good oils, nuts, oily fish etc)
Of course, there is much more that can be done, such as increasing leafy greens and vegetable intake and diversifying your diet.
But right now we want easy, and these 4 steps alone are a great start in assisting with depression treatment. It helps to feed your gut (microbiome) with what it needs to thrive which in turn moderates your entire brain, mood and bodily functions.
In Goodsky treatment programmes, we go much deeper, find the cause and treat extensively at a gut level in conjunction with food as medicine which gets excellent results.
However, if your diet is the complete opposite of the four steps above then it’s never too late to change. But how do you start when eating all that bad stuff is so good!?
Firstly, you need to wean yourself off sugar. That’s easier said than done because it’s in everything and it’s like a drug but you can slowly reduce the intake just by making behavioural changes. These can be:
- The way you shop for food. Generally, all the fresh foods that you now want are located on the perimeter of the supermarket and the processed factory stuff is down the isles. Try to stay away from the bad stuff and it won’t make it into the shopping trolley.
- Instead of cereal and toast for breakfast, which is loaded with sugar, switch to eggs, organic bacon, zucchini and protein toast. This will fuel you for longer and help reduce the sugar cravings. Remember if it’s from a factory, forget it. No matter what the packet promises.
- Chasing savoury with sweet. This is a tough nut to crack but being disciplined enough to not have a super sweet dessert after dinner or any meal will take some practice. There are alternatives such as date, nut and coconut balls which a packed full good stuff and are a better option than heavy sugar-laden desserts. Check out recipes here
If you want more energy or you are looking to lose weight then a very simple solution is intermittent fasting with the four steps above. It’s incredibly easy and won’t have to alter too much at all. Simply put, fast for 14-16 hours between dinner and breakfast.
- Most of that is sleep. Win!
- Eat dinner no later than
- Eat the breakfast mentioned above at around 10 in the morning.
After a few weeks you will start to notice a change and after a couple of months, you will have trained your body to burn fat instead of sugar. It’s really not hard at all, but you have to stick at it to get results.
Bear in mind that if that those time don’t within your lifestyle simply move it around to suit. Theres no set rules, you just need that time of 14-16 hours between meals.
2. Stretch and strive to treat depression
Movement, stretching and exercise is crucial in shifting depression and creating energy. This doesn’t mean you have to get out there and pound the pavement or smash yourself in the gym, what we’re talking about is exercise by prescription.
The wrong type of exercise will do damage and most likely put you off getting out of bed. So start with what is right for you. And how do you do that?
Get a physical assessment
See your GP about a mental health care plan and or a chronic injury plan. If you have one already then use the Medicare-covered sessions to see an Osteopath and get a complete musculoskeletal assessment.
A good osteopath will give you the right stretches and strengthening techniques to alleviate pain and build up any weak areas that may be identified.
Now that you know what works and what doesn’t make a plan to:
- do your stretches at the same time every day
- set an alarm on your phone as a reminder
- ask someone to keep you accountable – tell them about your plan and ask them to help you stick to it.
- After a few weeks try walking once a day too. This will increase blood flow, energy, vitamin D intake and assist in clearing your head.
This won’t be easy but stick it out and after a few weeks you will notice that your energy has increased so has your sleep, and even your mood has changed. Movement and stretching is a vital step in overcoming depression.
3. Sleep like your life depends on it and treat depression
Once you get food and movement happening the next critical element to treating depression is quality sleep. The latest figures out of America around sleep research are quite alarming and demand attention.
- 60 million people suffer from insomnia
- 22 million suffer from sleep apnea
- 12 million suffer from restless leg syndrome
- 3 million suffer from REM sleep behaviour disorder
- 0.2 million suffer from narcolepsy
Check out this video from Dr Matthew Walker about sleep and what kind of sleep is best for us. https://youtu.be/aXflBZXAucQ
83% of people with depression experience insomnia symptoms + 30% of overdoses involve insomnia medication. source
Sleep is so important for treating depression, anxiety, PTSD and trauma
as it functions in a way that cleans your brain while you sleep. But for so many people that we help sleep seems like a bad dream or for others they sleep so much that it becomes damaging.
So how can you aid your body in getting quality (Deep/REM) sleep?
- Reduce blue light exposure. Turn off the screens at least an hour before bed (more would be better) and allow your body to begin
it’sown process of preparing for sleep. Blue light (LED’s) will just keep you awake. Try turning off wi-fi in your house before you go to bed as well.
- Eat before the sun goes down and reduce the size of your dinner. This is important as this will assist in maintaining your circadian rhythm (your internal body clock of sorts) while reducing the time your digestion system needs to work before you sleep. See the intermittent fasting tips above.
- If high anxiety or deep episodes of depression are stopping you from self-regulating and controlling mood then see the next section about how to break these with techniques such as EFT.
- Exercise. If you haven’t worked on No. 2 then you will find it harder to get quality sleep. Exercise is essential in enhanced mind and body function but when it comes to sleep it helps with reducing the time it takes to get to sleep, improved sleep stages (REM and deep), blood circulation, immune response, reduces anxiety, lowers cortisol and much more.
Sleep, together with nutrition and exercise, are very potent weapons in the fight against mental health issues. If you don’t read any further than please work on these 3 steps and you can begin to turn things around.
With the help of an integrated shared care team, we can take you further with the right testing and treat the root causes of your depression, anxiety, PTSD and much more. Check out our insomnia programme for more information about sleep
4. Get the right help to treat depression
It’s not easy reaching out to someone for help and for many people they have tried before and were left with no answers and no direction.
So who do you trust and what do you do?
What’s important is getting yourself stable to a level that will enable further improvement and a better understanding of what is happening to your body.
We recommend starting with a mental health professional that offers non-talk therapy like EFT and havening. These techniques are designed to teach you how to self regulate and calm your response to stress, anxiety and depression.
Once you learn these techniques you can maintain them at home and begin to work at a deeper level. Together with brain-spotting, that taps into the brain where trauma, depression and anxiety are held, you will get non-talk forms of therapy that will assist you quickly to make a shift and dive deeper.
If you need help finding the right therapist with
5. Tools that work and help treat depression
In our treatment programmes, we use proven techniques that reduce anxiety, alleviate stress and teach you to self regulate with the education, guidance and support of a mental health professional.
However, these techniques can be self-taught at a beginners level and with the help of some pretty clever devices and apps you can begin learning how to manage your mood, sleep and anxiety from home.
4 tools or devices that work
- Smiling Mind – Free mindfulness app that reduces anxiety, stress, teaches you to relax and regulate emotions while bringing you into the present
- The Tapping Solution – a great free app that teaches how to self regulate with EFT which is a combination of Ancient Chinese Acupressure and Modern Psychology.
- Heart Math – trains you to shift and replace emotional stress with emotional balance and coherence, a very clever device.
- Activity and sleep tracking devices such as FitBit Charge 3 are an excellent tool to gauge how you well you sleep and track your progress. Together with mindfulness breathing exercises
itsis loaded with features that will assist you in knowing more about how you function.
So that’s it, 5 steps and tips that can get you started at home and get to you a place that you can function better. It will also enable you to work with the right people to go deeper and find the cause of your condition.
However, if all that seems way too hard then why not have a chat
Goodsky is a private mental health retreat that is dedicated to helping you get to the cause of your condition and treat it with an integrated shared care team.
If you are looking for a mental health retreat QLD or a mental health retreat in Victoria or NSW please take a look at our programme or talk with a case manager today to learn more.