How I Beat Depression...The Natural Way

I have suffered from a mild level of depression for as long as I can remember - at least as long ago as college. Sometimes it would get quite debilitating; not enough to keep me from getting up in the morning or going to work, but I went through life in a haze and did not interact with many people. I never sought out help because I just assumed it was my personality and it was 'the way I was.'

Another reason is I knew they would just give me drugs...and I HATE taking drugs, especially if it is for more than a week or two, i.e. SSRIs. I knew several people who were taking one type or another of anti-depressants and they couldn't stand them. The interesting thing was, only 1 out of about a dozen I talked to said they believe they were helpful.

I decided after decades of feeling like this I would try some natural remedies and do any actions that would improve my mood. I used Google to come up with this list below.

Here is what I did over several weeks (maybe months) to get to a better place mentally and emotionally. I can tell you that I need all of them because if I let one lapse I notice it, first in my stress level, then in my mood.

1) Stop listening to/reading the news

The news is all bullshit anyway. The networks/media decide what is "important" and they tell it to you the way they believe will be the most entertaining - not informative - to you. This generally means getting you riled up and emotional so you keep coming back for more. The end result is not to inform you, but to hook you like crack. If you MUST watch the news, at least watch a legitimate news program like the BBC.  However, by going cold turkey on international and national news I am less paranoid, stressed, and much less depressed since I am not seeing on a daily basis how shitty of a place the world is - which it is not, but the news doesn't want to let the secret out.

If something important does come up I generally will still hear about it either on social media or possibly from a quick glimpse at the silent TVs in the gym while I am working out, and then I can decide if I want to look into it a bit more on the internet. This mostly happens for catastrophic events, or big weather that might impact my area. I get my local and state news from Twitter and that seems to work well since I think I am even more informed about things that will impact my life (local events, tax issues, road and traffic, etc.).

Overall, if I had to pick one item on this list to help get over depression it is this one. Get off the Media News teet.

2) Take 2000 IU of Vitamin D3

Okay, some of you are thinking that vitamins are bogus and they don't really matter. I am not a big supplement and vitamin taker, but I can tell you that after 2-3 weeks of taking Vitamin D, I feel a LOT better. It does not just elevate your mood, but it helps with a lot of other health-related issues. Just Google 'benefits of vitamin d' and you can read about it. I take 2000IU even in the summer when I am out in the sun. I had my blood tested for vitamin D levels and I was at about 80. Anything under 100 should be fine [disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor play one on tv - please consult a medical professional if you have questions]. If you start to taste metal in your mouth you went too far and you need to stop for a week or so. Anyway, if I only had to take one vitamin, this would be it.

For the record, I take a B-complex a few times a week as well and I believe that this helps as well, but more so for stress than with the depression. The D3 appears to enhance my mood as well.

3) Get 8 Hours of Sleep

I know, I know - it is hard to do, after all there are all those marathon Netflix binges you have to get to, and the video games, or the stack of books, or the partying on weekends, or trying to get to the gym. Overworking yourself and getting only 4-6 hours of sleep will eventually catch up with you, especially one you get a bit older, and this will effect your ability to pull yourself out of a funk - and I believe it is even the cause for some of my mild depression; I think I was just tired. I never get less than 7 hours of sleep now, and I try for 8 if possible. I am not the type of person who has trouble falling asleep, but if you are, you should definitely find some remedies for that...again, Google is your friend.

4) Be More Social

I have joined several meetup groups and reached out to some friends I don't see as much as I would like, and generally try to accept more offers to hang out. Getting out of the house, and breaking the daily routine really helps. I am introverted by nature so I am not interested in partying every night or even having a conversation many nights, but staying at home all the time makes you feel that there is little excitement in life. You need to push yourself to get out and try new things. Try wall climbing, a comedy show, hiking, or even something simple like try a new grocery store and see what you can find.

That's it. If you implement these 4 things above for 1 month, notice the difference in your mood, attitude, and life outlook.

PS - I am trying to add a 5th --> Drink More Water, and possibly a 6th --> Meditation
That is a post for another time.