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Counselor's Corner: 14 Ways to Treat Depression and Anxiety

by stephanie reck  
7/21/2020 / Self Help

With the onset of COVID-19, many have been dealing with depression and anxiety. Record numbers of alcohol sales have increased as a way to cope with the stress and uncertainty that comes with COVID-19. Those who had pre-existing conditions of depression and anxiety are dealing with increased symptoms. 


Only 15% of Americans report being happy right now. This percentage has not been this low since the great depression. 


Depression and anxiety are usually co-existing conditions, meaning one comes with the other. In this article, I will be discussing natural treatments to treat depression and anxiety. (medical disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, nor is this medical advice. Seek the counsel of your doctor when needed.)


Anytime your environment or circumstances change, it brings disequilibrium or an unbalance into your life. COVID-19 has brought not an only disruption to our way of life, but uncertainty about the future. 


Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Your mind, body, and soul are interrelated, if one part is affected then the other part will be affected. 


While pharmaceuticals can be an alternative to treating depression and anxiety, some do not want to take medications. Oftentimes, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications have undesirable side effects. Changing the chemicals in your brain does not just occur with certain medications.


14 natural ways to treat depression and anxiety:


Exercise. One of the best ways to increase those feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain is to get some form of exercise.


Get out in nature. Talk a walk, sit on your porch, watch the birds, or go to a park. 


Get sunlight. When you expose yourself to 10-30 minutes of sunlight, the sun’s rays increase vitamin D in your body, which increases serotonin in your brain. Sunlight has been known to kill bacteria and heal wounds. White blood cells increase with sun exposure, and these cells play a major role in defending against infections.


Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep deprivation can adversely affect your moods and can set the stage for negative thinking.


Open your curtains. Living in a dark house can be mood-altering. Your mood is affected by natural light. Try opening some curtains, or turn on lamps in some of your rooms. Living in a dark house can also cause you to feel lethargic. 


Get in a routine. If you are depressed you need a routine. Setting a daily schedule can help you stay on task when you may want to stay in bed instead. Also important is to have a morning and a bedtime routine. 


Set daily and weekly goals for yourself. Start small and make your goals obtainable. 


Write out your feelings. Journaling can reduce anxiety and stress symptoms.  Spending time with God. 


Praying and giving over your cares to God can help you not carry the stress and burdens you may carry.


Pay attention to your diet. Eating a lot of processed meat, fried foods, refined cereals, candy, pastries, or high-fat dairy products can increase depression and anxiety. A diet rich in whole fiber-rich grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, and fish is better. Pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and eggs can reduce stress and anxiety.


Listen to relaxing or calming music. Light jazz, classical music, or spa-type music can bring calmness to your mind and body.


Aromatherapy through essential oils or candles. Certain scents can have a relaxing effect such as lavender, patchouli, bergamot orange, and Ylang-ylang.


Try green tea, chamomile, or kava tea. These teas promote a natural way to relax and ease anxiety.


Use supplements and herbs. Supplements and herbs are not FDA approved or testing, so make sure you research before buying any supplement. Here are a few to research on your own: Fish oil, vitamin b-12, vitamin b-6, vitamin b-9, zinc, L-theanine, vitamin D, vitamin E, saffron, 5-HTP, St. John’s Wort, probiotics, and Acetyl-L-Carnitine. 


Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health. You can use natural ways to promote healing from depression and anxiety you may be experiencing. 




From the above list, what can you incorporate this week in your life to help with depression and anxiety, or just yo give your mental health a boost?

Stephanie R. Reck, LMSW, LBT, BCCC
Founder of Hope Ministry
[email protected]
Hope Ministry, @2020
Author of, "Disciplining Your Mind 30 Days to a Better You!"

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