36 Holistic Methods That Have Helped People Manage Depression
Other ailments are more straightforward. You go to the doctor with a sore throat, red tonsils and maybe a fever. They run a test which comes back positive or negative. The test comes back positive and they give you medication that leaves you feeling better in just a few days.
If only depression was that easy to treat.
Like most mental illnesses, each person experiences a different set of symptoms to varying degrees. For some, medication can be a viable option. For others, a more holistic approach is more helpful. And sometimes, you find relief with a combination of the two.
Whatever option you’re looking into, it is always good to know and understand the entire spectrum. That is why we asked our Mighty mental health community to tell us one holistic method they’ve used to manage their depression.
Here is what they told us:
1. “Keeping a journal and noting down all of my thoughts in it really helps me let stuff out and keep calm.” — Mohini R.
2. “Yin Yoga. I tried different styles of yoga, but surprisingly, yin yoga felt best for my body and mind. Apparently my body and mind were screaming for chill-out and peace within.” — Joyce J.
3. “I will draw out amino structures and poly-peptides as a way to relax. Side note: I’m a biochemist.” — Amanda D.
4. “Turmeric. I have battled depression for 27 years and I’ve tried almost every natural solution. I mix about a teaspoon in water or my coffee three to five times a day and I’ll add some to food whenever I get the chance.” — Alayna D.
5. “Drinking herbal teas.” — Bethany L.
6. “My dog. He knows my cues for a low and just what to do to help me overcome it. He has literally pushed me out of bed when I was so low I didn’t want to get up. He doesn’t ever let me stay in bed longer than I need to, and when my boyfriend has told him, ‘Take care of mommy,’ he never left my side.” — Marissa M.
7. “Music has been my escape. It can change my mood in a song and sometimes makes me feel less alone because when I can relate to a song I realize the person who wrote it feels/felt this too and they’re OK.” — Courtney B.
8. “Patchouli and lavender oils in oil burners to relax me.” — Riley D.
9. “Journaling and a wild orange essential oil. The smell is so calming.” — Michelle B.
10. “Distraction has been the only thing to help me. It comes in the form of reading whatever I can get my hands on — usually books, sometimes fan fiction. I’ll read for hours upon hours until I can sleep.” — Annie G.
11. “A nice bubble bath with relaxing scent helps me.” — Alicia C.
12. “Horseback riding and caring for my horse. I have three dogs too, but the bond with my horse is different. Teaching him to move with me and taking care of him always pulls me to quiet place within my soul that my medications can’t seem to reach.” — Melina A.
13. “I write a daily log in my Insta-story on how I deal with depression on a day-to-day basis and how my antidepressants affected me on that day. I also allow my friends/followers to ask me questions if they would like to understand more about mental health. I am not glorifying my illness but I wish I can do my small part on advocating mental health as well as de-stigmatize any misconceptions.“ — Jen C.
14. “A long bike ride keeps me going. Or spending time with family.” — Gavin H.
15. “Get a Harley, because no matter if your riding down a quiet open country road or through a busy town, the only thing you think of is the road ahead. Everything else vanishes behind you and you get that brief moment of serenity where you think of absolutely nothing. It may not be for long, but for me it’s enough to pull me out of that ditch to a point where I can focus on things that I can fix and change to make myself better.” — Lee O.
16. “Hiking is my number one healing activity. I turn off all electronics, walk into nature, breathe fresh air away from the city and let the beauty of nature lift my spirits. Sometimes it’s really hard getting myself there, but I feel a lot better just smelling the mud and feeling the space over pollution and overcrowding.” — Holli H.
17. “Keeping in regular contact with important figures like close friends, family, therapists and doctors. Having the right people around has made the difference every time depression has reared its head. Not seeing people, or not seeing the right people and just stewing solo makes everything much more dragged out, isolated and a tougher struggle. Dieting and exercise were short term releases but nothing holistic, I found.” — Luke P.
18. “I had a routine. I made sure to always get up, take a shower, brush my teeth, do yoga and get ready for the day. I made sure to be as structured as possible so that I could take care of myself.” — Kelcee J.
19. “Reminding myself how much my family loves and cares for me. If I reached out, they would be here in a New York minute.” — Cindy C.
20. “Going out to the beach or something that has a nature vibe to it, listen to my favorite artist, eat well, doing my favorite hobbies, taking my medication correctly, breathing exercises.” — Mariel S.
21. “I listen to relaxation imagery recordings. They take you to beautiful calming places. That paired with my favorite music can instantly boost my mood.” — Lynda N.
22. “Lavender scented anything helps with my depression and anxiety.” — Tiana O
23. “Acupuncture — it relieves my symptoms for a few hours a day. I still take medication though because it has a long-term effect.” — Luz P.
24. “Writing and drawing my characters. It always helps me. I’m not in the real world, so it can be really beautiful.” — Tar F.
25. “I’ve been going to Reiki and doing emotional release. I feel so much better than when I was on my antidepressants.” — Melanie L.
26. “I’ve been designing and drawing out my depression and anxiety demons — destroying them in various ways as a way of coping with them.” — Amanda J.
27. “I paint. And when I do paint, I have to paint for someone. I just don’t feel like my painting has a purpose if it’s just sitting in my room.” — Hayley J.
28. “I take my dog for a walk to the park. Getting outside in the sun helps redirect my negative thoughts and feelings.” — Lora S.
29. “Enjoying each season and what it has to offer. This spring I have been foraging for wild herbs, flowers and mushrooms.” — Heather J.
30. “Soaking in a hot epsom salt bath with music blaring. It helps me to relax and ease my thoughts for a bit.” — Cherish I.
31. “My hot water bottle. The comfort and warmth settle me and stop me shaking as much.” — Emma C.
32. “A light therapy lamp really helps me in the morning when I’m waking up.” — Amy F.
33. “Abdominal breathing.” — Catrina C.
34. “Exercise and nutritional guidance. It’s the reason I became a personal trainer. No one thinks about the connection between nutrition and mental illness but your brain is very much a part of your body.” — Stacie C.
35. “Massage therapy, sunshine and meditation.” — Kelsey L.
36. “Coloring, dot-to-dots and arts and crafts.” — Joanne B.
Editor’s note: This piece is based on the experience of individual’s and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice.
What’s worked for you?