Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety have been on the rise in recent years. With the pandemic, riots, financial duress, and wars, it’s not surprising that many people are struggling with their mental health.
Working with a medical professional to seek the best possible treatment plan is a must when facing mental health disorders. However, there are plenty of natural things you can do to help. Here are six holistic tips for fighting depression and anxiety.
Stop Drinking Alcohol
Mental health issues and alcohol use go hand-in-hand. They have a cyclical relationship; people struggling with mental health rely on alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism, and alcohol consumption exacerbates mental health issues.
Cutting out alcohol can offer several benefits for physical and mental health. In addition to minimizing chronic disease risk, sobriety can also help improve sleep patterns, stress management, and overall mental wellbeing.
Before you start searching for an AA meeting near me, consider these points to determine whether you need professional support:
- Is alcohol consumption impacting your social relationships?
- Is alcohol consumption impacting your finances?
- Do you often drink to the point of blacking out?
- Do you engage in risky behavior (i.e., drinking and driving, fighting, etc.)?
- Have you struggled to stop drinking on your own?
If you answered yes to these questions, consider reaching out for professional support. It can also be beneficial to connect online with others with depression and anxiety who are struggling with alcohol consumption.
Learn Your Triggers
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to learn about your triggers. While you can make changes to your lifestyle, facing triggers that enhance your mental health disorder is impossible. However, identifying those triggers and putting a plan in place for when they arise can help you process them healthily.
Many people with depression and anxiety are triggered by stressful situations, lack of sleep, and even dehydration. If there are certain people in your life that cause you mental duress, put boundaries in place to limit your exposure. Consider tracking your experience to clarify any patterns, so you can manage them appropriately.
Practice Stress Management
Stress often presents as symptoms of depression and anxiety and can elevate your existing symptoms. Chronic stress also has a direct link with depression diagnoses. As such, practicing intentional stress management is a powerful component in the holistic health toolbox.
Engage in activities like mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), and visualizations to help process stressful situations. It can also be helpful to vent to a support person and journal. Consider reaching out to a cognitive-behavioral therapist (CBT) to learn how to cope with stress and defuse stressful situations.
Set Small Goals
Even the simplest tasks can feel overwhelming during depressive episodes. Many people with depression struggle to find the motivation and energy to accomplish simple tasks, like showering or tidying. On the other end of the spectrum, people with anxiety often feel overwhelmed to the point of inaction. In other words, it feels like there’s so much to do that they do nothing.
Remember that every little step counts— especially on the bad days. Start with one or two small goals that you can easily accomplish to set yourself up for success. It could be something as simple as brushing your hair or having a glass of water. Then, build on those goals, focusing on one thing at a time.
It can also be helpful to identify a keystone habit that you’re dedicated to accomplishing every day. This goal could be to drink water, get outside for five minutes, or eat a serving of fruit or vegetables. The key is to make it simple yet prioritized.
Make Time for Movement
Exercise is proven to have a profound effect on anxiety and depression. The endorphins released during periods of movement are similar to those the depressed or anxious brain lacks. However, finding the motivation or time to exercise can be too much during depressive or anxious periods.
Instead, focus on movement. How can you move for five minutes a day? Ten? Movement can be anything from walking to taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Getting outside and reconnecting with nature while you move is another powerful way to help combat depression and anxiety. This practice also makes a great keystone habit.
Set Boundaries with Technology
Finally, minimize your exposure to stress and sleep-disrupting lights by setting boundaries with technology. If you tend to stay awake all night scrolling or can’t stop checking your work email, it’s time to put the phone in another room.
Remember that medical professionals know best when treating mental health disorders. However, these holistic habits can enhance the effects of your treatment.