What Else Can I Do For Depression Besides Medication?
What Else Can I Do For My Depression Besides Medication?
- Get enough sleep! Most pre-teens and teens do not get enough. You need a minimum of 8 hours a night, preferably 9 or even 10. Have a regular bedtime. Turn ALL screens off (yes, even your cell phone) at least 30 minutes before bedtime. And TURN ALL THE LIGHTS OFF
- Have a cup of nighty-night tea, made with chamomile or valerian, within an hour of bedtime.
- Listen to calming music
- Use lavender oil in an aromatherapy diffuser
- Exercise! Teens and adults who exercise regularly sleep better and are much less likely to be depressed. Swim, bike, jog, speed walk, shoot hoops, run on the treadmill, dance, play soccer with friends...whatever your do, just get that heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week.
- Avoid social media! Pre-teens and teens who spend more than 1 hour a day on Facebook, SnapChat, and/or Instagram experience MUCH higher rates of anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Avoid artificial sweeteners! Aspartame in particular is strongly linked with headaches, insomnia, irritability, and depression. Water is the only drink you need!!
- Consider a trial elimination of animal products (meats, eggs, dairy) for at least 2 weeks. Studies consistently show that the arachidonic acid found in most animal products, particularly chicken and eggs, is a neuro-inflammatory agent. In other words, it hurts the brain! Most people with depression/anxiety report feeling much better after just 2 weeks off meat and eggs.
- Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables! Particularly those with “polyphenols”: berries (all kinds), apples, grapes, kale, and onions. Green tea is also helpful, as is increasing spices such as clove, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg in your diet. Try to get AT LEAST five servings of fruits and vegetables EVERY DAY
- Seek counseling! Psychologists and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) are trained at helping people with their depression and anxiety. They can teach you skills that in most instances will help you to avoid medication. In fact, rarely will a pediatrician start medication unless counseling has already been established.