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Ways to Help Depression Without Medication
Let’s make one thing clear…I do not think taking medication to help depression is bad whatsoever.
I’ve been battling depression on and off since 2007, so I understand just how mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting it is.
Gratefully, I’ve finally found some positive ways to cope with my depression naturally.
Recovering from Depression is Difficult
There are so many lists about ways to cure depression.
Eat healthily. Exercise. Think happy thoughts. Blah blah blah.
But depression is so much more complex than that.
It’s not just a do A, B, and C and you’ll be happy kind of thing.
For many, depression is a lifelong battle.
Symptoms can go away for a while, but they’ll usually come back when you least expect it.
The times that my symptoms are the least aggressive is when I’m not intentionally trying to fight depression.
Instead of focusing so much energy on fighting depression, why not try my list of 13 unconventional (and sometimes weird) ways to fight depression without medication?
How to Deal with Depression Without Medication
1. ONLINE THERAPY
But therapy can be a crucial part of managing and recovering from depression.
When you’re depressed, I know how challenging it can be to get out of bed, let alone leave your house to attend therapy.
Did you know that there is online therapy?
Online Therapy is a complete online therapy toolbox.
Your therapy toolbox includes ⤵️
✅ Live video, voice, or text chat session with your therapist
✅ Activity plan, journal, and tests
✅ 8 easy-to-follow sections, including 25 worksheets
✅ Yoga and meditation videos
What I love about Online Therapy is you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to receive transformative CBT.
This means you never need to worry before getting help.
More on therapy:
2. INNER CHILD HEALING WORK
A history of childhood abuse or neglect can lead to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and low self-esteem, which are often associated with depression.
Do you have repressed childhood trauma?
Childhood trauma can manifest itself in a lot of life-altering ways.
Signs you need inner child healing ⤵️
💔 Intense feelings of chronic shame
💔 Low self-esteem
💔 Difficulty regulating emotions
💔 Withdrawal and isolating yourself from others
You can find more signs you need to heal your inner child here.
Read more on childhood trauma:
Speaking of childhood trauma, have you downloaded your free inner child healing workbook yet? 👇
3. WORK ON YOUR BOUNDARIES
When you’re struggling with depression, you might feel overwhelmed and have difficulty managing your emotions and responsibilities.
Boundaries can be helpful for managing depression, because they provide structure and stability in your life.
Setting boundaries provides benefits ⤵️
⭐ Improves Your Relationships: Demonstrating clear expectations and guidelines for how you want to be treated can lead to healthier and more respectful interactions.
⭐ Increases Your Self-Esteem: Setting boundaries can increase your self-esteem by empowering you to assert your needs and wants. It can also help you recognize your own worth and value as a person.
You might set boundaries around your work schedule, social interactions, or daily routine to ensure you have time for self-care and rest.
What boundaries do you need?
4. BALANCE LOWER CHAKRAS
Charkas are a network of seven major energy centers arranged vertically along the core of your body.
(There are multiple different systems of Chakras, but I personally use the Western Seven Chakra System.)
You can learn more about chakras in this enlightening book.
These chakras are considered your physical chakras, and they are responsible for your self-image and physical and emotional identity.
Signs of an imbalanced root chakra:
💔 Lack of motivation
💔 Feeling disconnected
💔 Anger and short temper
💔 Feeling Stuck
How to balance root chakra ⤵️
⭐ Listen to Meditation Music: 256 Hz
⭐ Speak Positive Affirmations: I am…
⭐ Diffuse Essential Oils: Frankincense, Patchouli, Cedarwood, Myrrh<
⭐ Use Crystals: Red Jasper, Smoky Quartz, Hematite
⭐ Wear Colors: Red
⭐ Eat Foods: Red Potatoes, Strawberries, Cherries, Tomatoes
Signs of an imbalanced sacral chakra:
💔 Low self-esteem and insecurity
How to balance sacral chakra ⤵️
⭐ Listen to Meditation Music: 288 Hz
⭐ Speak Positive Affirmations: I feel…
⭐ Diffuse Essential Oils: Orange, Neroli, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang
⭐ Use Crystals: Orange Calcite, Citrine, Orange Carnelian
⭐ Wear Colors: Orange
⭐ Eat Foods: Oranges, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Coconuts
Signs of an imbalanced solar plexus chakra:
💔 Low self-esteem
💔 Lack of self-control
💔 Inability to set or maintain boundaries
How to balance solar plexus chakra ⤵️
⭐ Listen to Meditation Music: 320 Hz
⭐ Speak Positive Affirmations: I do…
⭐ Diffuse Essential Oils: Lemon, Ginger, Juniper, Geranium
⭐ Use Crystals: Tiger’s Eye, Yellow Jasper, Lemon Quartz
⭐ Wear Colors: Yellow
⭐ Eat Foods: Lemons, Corn, Bananas, Yellow Squash, Pineapple
Depression is often characterized by negative thinking patterns and rumination, and it can be incredibly difficult to break out of.
Meditation can help interrupt these patterns by promoting mindfulness (which means being present and in the moment without judgment).
Benefits of meditating for depression ⤵️
🧘 Reduce stress
🧘 Improve mood
🧘 Increase feelings of relaxation
By focusing on the present moment and observing your thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them, people with depression can develop greater self-awareness and emotional regulation skills.
Record and keep track of your meditation sessions, duration, mindfulness, energy, thoughts, and tools in this Meditation Tracker Printable Pack! 👇
Use code MEDITATE to get 10% off your meditation trackers!
More on meditation:
6. USE CRYSTALS
We briefly mentioned crystals in the chakra section, but let’s dive a bit deeper.
Not only are crystals and stones incredibly beautiful, but they can also be powerfully healing.
Favorite Negative Clearing Crystals
For more depression crystals, check out 17 Healing Crystals for Soothing Depression Symptoms.
How to Use Crystals:
⭐ Meditate: Hold them during meditation, or hold them when you feel depressed or stressed.
⭐ On Your Body: Carry them around with you in your pocket or purse. Wear them as a necklace or bracelet.
⭐ Surrounding Space: Place them around your home, especially on nightstands, window sills, desks, and by electronics. Put them in your pillow while you sleep.
The main thing to note is to use crystals with intention. Crystals won’t work fully for you unless you allow them to.
7. TAROT AND ORACLE READING
One of my absolute favorite parts of mental health management lies in getting to the deep inner workings of my soul — also known as shadow work.
What is shadow work?
When you think of nighttime, you think of darkness. You think of things that are hidden and not seen.
The moonlight helps shine a light on these gritty inner workings of our thought patterns, decisions, and actions.
Shadow work helps you see the areas of your life that could use some maintenance.
That being said, shadow work and emotional health go hand-in-hand.
Speaking of shadow work, I talk a lot about shadow work on my podcast. 👇
How to do Shadow Work:
⭐ Tarot and oracle reading — I do readings on my Instagram
Examples of Shadow Work Questions:
- What is currently blocking me?
- What am I currently clinging on to?
- How can I let go of my current situation?
- Why am I so sad and lonely?
- What truth have I been avoiding?
I could seriously go on and on, because we all have areas to improve on.
But the premise is…what currently needs some attention in your life?
Favorite Decks for Shadow Work:
8. TAKE A MOOD SUPPLEMENT
One of my favorite ways to help depression without medication is to take a mood supplement.
I find herbs to be an incredibly powerful way to help relax the mind, relieve stress, and boost our mood.
Joy-Filled is packed with 7 healing herbs: Gotu Kola, Rhodiola Root, St. John’s Wort, Ashwagandha, Lemon Balm Leaf, Gingko Leaf, and Eleuthero Root.
This supplement is designed to relieve symptoms of depression (and anxiety).
For more herbs:
As always, talk to your healthcare provider before taking any vitamin or supplement, as some are harmful with certain medications or medical conditions.
9. WALK YOUR DOGS
Not only do walks actually get you outside, but they also make your dogs so, incredibly happy.
And seeing them happy will automatically make you happier.
Just watch their tails sway from side to side. Watch them take in the Earth and all their glorious surroundings.
You might learn a thing or two about life in the process.
If you can’t find the motivation to walk them, try to at least spend time cuddling up with them.
How pets help depression:
10. TAKE NATURE SHOTS
Another way to get you outside is to take pictures of the world outside.
The majority of the time our depression makes us stay inside.
But it’s vital to our health to get some sunshine.
Grab your camera — or even your smartphone — and just snap pictures of anything that grabs your attention.
Feel the breeze and embrace your surroundings.
The world is beautiful, and it’s meant to be captured.
Try Light Therapy
If you can’t get outside, I highly recommend getting a light therapy lamp.
When I first started hearing about light therapy lamps years ago, I was intrigued.
I wondered if there was any science to it, or if it was just some sort of placebo effect.
Within the first week of getting my HappyLight Therapy Light, I saw an increase in my energy levels and mood.
I even got to sleep earlier at night than usual (which is around 2 a.m.)!
Now, I love it so much that any day I’m feeling low, I turn it on for about 30 minutes.
Benefits of Light Therapy:
⭐ Mood: Light therapy improves mood by triggering the release of serotonin.
⭐ Focus: Full spectrum light provides signals in your body to help you relax, focus, and feel revitalized.
⭐ Energy: Studies found that light therapy lamps combat tiredness associated with the winter blues.
⭐ Sleep: Light therapy improves sleep by resetting your circadian rhythm to its natural state and regulating melatonin.
Have you ever used a therapy light?
More on therapy lamps:
11. HEAR YOUR HEARTBEAT
Hearing (or feeling) your heartbeat can help put the importance of your life into perspective.
Baths can help with depression
One way to do this is to take a bath and stick your ears under the water.
Do you hear that thump thump thump? It means you’re alive.
You can also close your eyes and place your hand over your heart.
Breathe deep and root yourself in your body.
Do you take baths for mental health?
Back when my depression was a daily occurrence, I tried to take a bath a couple of times a week for this very reason.
Baths allowed me to soak all that life energy in, and they helped me remember what it felt like to be alive when I was so numb that it hurt to breathe.
More benefits of baths:
12. KEEP PLANTS AROUND
Plants are magical things.
They help clean our air and our lungs.
They also keep us more motivated, because we have to tend and care for them.
The best part…plants help make our rooms feel more alive.
(If you’re on a budget, IKEA always has super affordable plants indoor plants.)
13. PLAY VIDEO GAMES
There’s a huge reputation that video games are bad for us.
They’re bad for society. They create more violent people.
But do you know just how many different types of video games there are?
Video games have mental health benefits
Playing video games can actually help us more than they can hurt us.
They create a distraction from our negative thoughts by increasing our concentration.
They take us away from all the bad things swimming in our heads.
And it’s very motivating to finally beat that one impossible-to-beat boss.
Related posts on video games:
14. WATCH DISNEY MOVIES
Disney movies always make me feel happy and more calm — especially DCOMs from my childhood.
I used to watch them all the time when I was a kid.
This was before depression and other mental illnesses began to control my life.
Nostalgia helps our mood
It might be an association thing, but happy memories often lead to happy feelings.
If Disney isn’t your thing, what other types of movies did you use to watch growing up?
And on a completely different side of the coin, I also find that horror movies help my depression.
More on movies and depression:
15. MAKE CHILDHOOD TREATS
What another great childhood memory.
I just remember my childhood spending time at a camping resort with my extended family.
We would sit around a campfire, roast marshmallows, and enjoy the presence of each other.
Relieving memories like that always helps me get out of my head.
(If you don’t eat gelatin like me, you can buy these vegan marshmallows, which are absolutely amazing and taste exactly like the real thing.)
16. DO DIY PROJECTS
There’s something about being creative and putting your body to work that greatly decreases the symptoms of depression.
Spend a couple hours at Home Depot looking at paint colors and different kitchen and bathroom setups.
Go to different thrift stores and pick out some decorative knick-knacks. Refinish old furniture.
Let your creativity run wild.
Even if you never actually start your project, envisioning it is so worth it.
Related post on DIY projects:
Volunteering helps us focus on the things we have versus the things we don’t have.
Giving back always feels good, and people with depression need as much feel-good hormones as we can get.
Love animals? Volunteer at an animal shelter.
People person? Volunteer at your local food pantry.
There’s volunteer work for everyone.
Find your calling and see how much better you feel afterward.
But here’s a reminder… don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Let things come naturally, and don’t overthink your healing.
Help Depression Without Medication
Mayo Clinic says that getting help for depression when you first recognize its symptoms helps prevent your depression from worsening.
For a variety of reasons, medication might not be accessible for everyone in treating their depression.
The 17 activities featured on this list won’t cure your depression, but they sure might help you feel happier.
Related posts on depression:
- 10 Things That are Making Your Depression Worse
- 13 Best Self-Help Books for Depression (That Will Change Your Life)
- 6 Helpful Ways to be Productive When You Have Depression
Did you know that there is affordable online therapy?
Online Therapy is a complete online therapy toolbox.
Your therapy toolbox includes:
- Live video, voice, or text chat session with your therapist
- 8 easy-to-follow sections, including 25 worksheets
- Activity plan, journal, and tests
- Yoga and meditation videos
What I love about Online Therapy is that there are several life-changing options and therapists available, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home.
This means you never need to worry before getting help.