Last week I shared my experience with prescription anti-depressant medication. After 5 YEARS of trying to find something that both worked and didn’t have intolerable side effects, I was DONE. I went back to the drawing board and did more research on natural, alternative therapies. The following a sample of both what has worked for me and therapies I tried along the way. I pray this can help you on your journey to wellness too.
I have talked about my journey with digestive issues here. I noticed the biggest difference in my depression and anxiety when I eliminated grains and sugar from my diet. WOW! I had no idea these foods were wreaking such havoc on my body. Just to give you an idea of what I was like before I removed grains and sugar. I struggled EVERY MORNING to get out of bed. I was moody, lethargic and unmotivated. Everything irritated me. Every task I had to do felt like an enormous undertaking that required more much effort than I could muster. I spend many days on the couch with heating pads and tea and feeling achey and miserable. I got through most of my days, but it wasn’t pretty. On some level I knew that things had to change, but I felt hopeless. It wasn’t until I started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that things started to turn around for me. I was on the diet to help my digestive issues, but as a plus it helped stabilize my moods, get me out of bed in the morning and find a positive spin to life. It still boggles my mind how much better I feel, but the brain/gut connection is REAL – don’t underestimate the powe of food in your health.
Essential oils are highly concentrated oils derived directly from plants. They are distilled from flowers, shrubs, trees, roots, bushes and seeds and contain the smell and chemical makeup of that plant. Just like prescription anti-depressants, you have to experiment with different oils and different combinations to cater directly to what your body needs. The best part though is you will rarely have ANY side effects. Here are the oils that work best for me:
Frankincense: I call this my HAPPY oil. I put 2 drops on the bottom of my feet and I can’t help but smile moments later. I admit, it’s a little weird to have such an immediate reaction. Weird, but good ya know? I have also found it works well on the back of my neck. I occasionally add it to a diffuser.
Bergamot: This is my anti-anxiety oil. I put 2 drops on my big toe every morning (except when I am going to wear sandals. It is a citrus oil and exposure to sun can give you a sunburn, trust me!). I tried this one every day for a month and didn’t think it was doing much until I stopped using it. Within 2 days my anxiety was hard to manage and I realized it HAD been helping me all along!
Wild Orange: This oil helps both my anxiety and depression. I roll it on my neck (or during summer months on my feet) every morning. However, I have noticed the biggest difference when I diffuse this at night while I am sleeping or during the day at work.
Balance: Balance is an oil blend of Spruce needle/leaf, Ho wood, Frankincense, Blue Tansy Flower and Blue Chamomile Flower essential oils in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil. As you might suspect, it helps ‘balance’ out my moods and keeps me calm.
To get the results you need use a therapeutic grade oil. Therapeutic simply means the oils are subjected to a quality protocol ensuring that you are purchasing high quality, highly potent, pure oils. Unfortunately, you will not find these at your local grocery store. You can find them here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send me a private message via Facebook .
Yoga has helped manage my anxiety. Research has shown that yoga increases the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain. This chemical helps regulate your nerve activity which is especially crucial for those who struggle with anxiety disorders (Yoga and Your Mood, The Ultimate Yogi). The focus on measured breath with movement calms the sympathetic nervous system (which is that fight or flight response) and has been shown to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. Finally, any exercise will release endorphins which will lift your mood. How often do you need to practice? Initially, I thought I needed to be super flexible and practice an hour a day. Not true. 20-30 minutes a day can train your mind and your body to be CALM. More than that it can help you feel centered, in control, peaceful and strong. If you can’t fit it in the morning, that’s okay – it’s also great to practice right before bed so you get an awesome night’s sleep.
Take off your sunglasses get some sunshine in those eyes! Increase in Vitamin D can lift your mood.
Keep track of the POSITIVE things happening in your life.
Even if you don’t feel like it, being around other people HELPS. Find a book club, yoga studio, moms group, tennis, etc. anything that supports your interests.
Psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, pastor – find someone with whom you can talk and who can offer perspective and tools to manage your depression and anxiety.
Research has shown quality fish oil can boost your mood.
Like yoga, meditation will manage stress and calm your nervous system.
Getting enough sleep is one of the FIRST steps in managing your depression and anxiety. Get those zzz’s!
It’s seriously a thing! Get outside-even 5 minutes can reduce your symptoms.
Any kind. Go for a walk and let those endorphins start working for ya!
There are many NATURAL options for treating depression. From food to essential oils to ecotherapy you can experiment to find what works best for you and your body. Most likely it will be a combination of treatments that will bring about healing. The best part? The side effects are minimal to none. So go get some sunshine and get rid of the sugar that’s weighing you down! What do you have to lose?
Have you tried natural treatments for depression? What has worked for you? What are you going to try? Please share in the comments.
This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not intended to be medical advice, and should not be treated as such. Please talk to you doctor or medical health professional.