During menopause, as the body experiences hormonal shifts, many women experience depression. If you are ever faced with hopelessness, low self-esteem, and an overall lackluster for life, it may seem like you can't feel anything positive at all. The relieving part is that there are many simple, yet profound ways to overcome depression along with professional help.
Plan a Picnic
This encompasses several positive things at once to overcome depression: nutritious fruits, wholesome sandwiches, sunshine, and good company. Try to have a picnic once a week in sunny weather. Incorporate an array nuts, fruit, whole grain bread, veggies, and lean protein into the food in your basket to feel nourished and uplifted. After your meal, soak in the sun and the presence of your friends or family. Now only will you boost your vitamin D levels, but the interaction with others can raise oxytocin levels as well, inducing love and support.
This is an excellent choice as far as physical activity goes. It is important to get enough cardio weekly in order to raise your serotonin levels and experience long lasting happiness. Go dancing either in your room alone, at a group class such as Zumba, or hit the dance floor with your significant other. The music and movement will be a fun way to burn calories and increase blood flow to the brain and oxygenation through the body, making you alert and uplifted.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Mindfulness and meditation is known to reduce stress and anxiety to help let go of worries. In recent studies, meditation benefited patients with depression when practiced over an eight-week span.Another helpful relaxation technique is yoga. The practice of flowing stretches and maintaining poses can supplement regular cardiovascular exercise. Yoga prompts the release of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which promotes calmness and tranquility. Research has shown that yoga can help relieve the symptoms of depression.
Consider All Options
The complexity of depression means that a combination of treatments is often necessary to overcome the disorder. Talking regularly with a counselor or therapist can help guide you through the thorns of depression and keep you on track through recovery.
Another potential piece of the puzzle is herbal supplements. Plants such as St. John's wort and passionflower can help relieve depression and induce relaxation. These are sometimes used alongside or instead of prescription antidepressants. Since each case of depression has different influencing factors, your doctor or therapist can guide you on the best combination.
It may be hard to take the first step, but meeting with a counselor or psychiatrist can help you, and you deserve help. When you are on the path to recovery, you can undertake uplifting habits to help overcome the symptoms of depression. If at any point you have thoughts of suicide, seek immediate attention from a loved one or medical professional.
- Cramer, H. et al. (2013). Yoga for depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Depression and anxiety, 30(11), 1068-1083. doi: 10.1002/da.22166
- Goyal, M. et al. (2014). Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357-368.doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2011). What Is Depression? Retrieved June 2, 2014, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/ depression/index.shtml#pub1
- National Institutes of Health. (2014). Passionflower. Retrieved June 2, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/871.html
- Streeter, C.C. et al. (2012). Effects of yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Medical hypotheses, 78(5), 571-579. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.01.021
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Why is it Important to Eat Fruit? Retrieved June 2, 2014, from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits-why.html
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2011). St. John's wort. Retrieved June 2, 2014, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/st-johns-wort