During this difficult time, it is normal to feel down. Whether you’ve been formally diagnosed with a mood disorder or feel that you may have one but don’t want to take medications, there are natural options to improve your mood and prevent a relapse. These natural interventions can help sustain mood and energy level over the long term.
- Take medications appropriately. Do not change dosages or stop taking meds without working with your doctor. A relapse in mental health is more likely if meds are not taken daily. Oftentimes, people will stop taking their meds when they are feeling better. This just means their meds are working effectively.
- Have a regular sleep schedule, both for going to bed and getting up in the morning. Everyone needs 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Establish a bedtime routine: go to bed around the same time and avoid stimulating activities like exercise, TV or the computer. Try chamomile tea, warm milk or hot chocolate made with milk. Wake up about the same time each morning. Oversleeping can lead to grogginess.
- Be a student of your illness. Learn to identify stresses or triggers that worsen your mood. Do some research on your disorder. Talk to others about what has worked for them.
- Focus on giving to others. A mood disorder can cause us to be self-focused and wanting to avoid people. Instead, become a mentor to someone who also has a mood disorder, adopt a pet, join a special interest or support group, volunteer, get involved church.
- Choose fun! Do at least one thing each day to make you laugh. Select humorous books to read, or movies and TV comedies to watch. Do something you enjoy each day and have things to look forward to when you wake up. Negative stress comes from having too little to do and too much time on our hands. A certain amount of healthy stress keeps us energized and going throughout the day
- Get sunlight. Walk outside even in the winter. Invest in a light therapy lamp. Supplement your diet with Vitamin D3. A lack of light on the skin depletes this important vitamin in the body.
- Get adequate vitamins and minerals through your diet or supplements. Be sure you get enough of the B vitamins (which provide energy), vitamin D (increases serotonin levels), and Omega 3 fatty acids (improves depression symptoms).
- Regular exercise triggers the release of endorphins in the brain and leads to better physical health. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, acts as a sedative and diminishes the perception of pain. Physical activity improves sleep, increases energy levels, reduces stress and increases self-esteem.
Whatever you do, do something. You’ll feel better having helped yourself. It is so important right now to focus on things that lift your mood!
We pray these tips help you. Remember, we are all in this together and God is with us!
© Fresh Hope for Mental Health