~Dr Parul Tank, Psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital Mulund~
1/ 20 people in India, suffer from depression. Despite of the numbers that prove that depression is an alarming issue, a blind eye continues to be turned on it. The callousness with which people with mental illness are treated, within the society, is depressing itself and society as a whole must stand up against the taboo that is often faced by those who go through this state of mind. Though medication is available and advanced treatment and therapy options are plenty, they are not the only means available. Depression is seen to be higher among women aging 40 to 49 years of age. A holistic perspective aids in treating the condition in a more natural form; treating the body, mind and soul. Following a healthy diet, exercise routine and talk therapy are a few holistic techniques, along with medication which help in dealing with depression.
Taking the initial first few steps and mainly recognizing the illness is half the battle won. One must not hesitate in seeking help; whether it is from a professional, a medical advisor or even a family member. The following are a few holistic and wholesome techniques to deal with depression and to tackle the illness upfront.
Making healthy lifestyle changes:
Exercise: Commit yourself to brisk walking for 20 minutes daily. You can also cycle or opt for swimming at least 3-4 times a week. Ask someone who you’re comfortable with to join you for a blissful social interaction. Sit less; continuous sitting decreases the blood supply to the brain. Get up every half an hour for a minute or so. Exercising reduces stress, improves the mood, boosts self-esteem and also provides restful sleep.
Sleep: Patients who are depressed tend to sleep less and vice versa; it is a common complication in many. Lying or tossing around in bed all night because your brain cannot calm down, sitting in front of the TV for long hours or simply wandering around are often seen. Establishing a sleeping schedule is important. Even if you aren’t sleepy, lie down and drain out all negative thoughts. Maintain a regular wake-up time, get out of bed when you’re awake. Refrain from indulging in any sort of activity before bedtime, i.e. eating, reading, watching TV, etc.
Eat Healthy: Eating healthy is not only good for your body but also good for your mood. Maintaining a nutritious diet will help in surpassing the depressive phase and help you overcome the issue. Avoid eating foods high in sugar and processed foods. Consume foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids like mackerel, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds that are good for the mood. Do not starve yourself thinking that you will eat later; it is not good for your brain too. Keep on snacking lightly throughout the day with fruits or nuts. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Deep breathing exercises: Deep breathing is very important when one is recovering from depression. This practice helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) responsible for the activities that take place while our body is resting. By voluntarily changing the aspect of breathing, you tend to change the signals your body sends to your mind, thus getting you in a more positive mood.