Research surrounding mental health issues has picked up over the last few decades. As a result, Doctors now have a much better understanding of the nature of things like depression and anxiety – and how to treat them.

Anyone suffering from depression should speak to their doctor – that much goes without saying. However, a lot of people still put off accepting medication for depression as they want to try to battle it themselves first – and that’s okay too. Medication can help, but it’s important to try to overcome depression naturally as a first resort.

With that in mind, here are 5 things you could try…

  1. Exercise

Never underestimate the powerful effects exercise can have on both your body and your mind. Exercising changes our hormones in significant ways. It can help to release endorphins, which stimulate feelings of positivity.

Aside from these chemical benefits, exercise can also have more generic psychological benefits. For example, it can help you to lose weight, which can boost self-esteem and allow you to live a more active lifestyle, which may create more opportunities for joy in your life and help you to recover from depression.

  1. Establish a routine

Being depressed often causes people to forego their daily routines. The week can seem like one big long day as days blend into each other. Establishing a routine by setting your alarm and planning the things you’ll do at set times each day could help you to start feeling better and kick start your recovery.

  1. Get the right amount of sleep

Sleep is a vital, indispensable part of human biology. We need sleep to regulate our emotions and keep our brains working the way they should. Too little sleep (or too much sleep) can affect your psyche in different ways.

If you’re feeling depressed, try to better control your sleep habits. Aim for around 8 hours of sleep per night and cut out the naps. Stick with this sleep schedule and see if it begins to help.

  1. Set small goals

Many people suffering from depression feel a sense of failure. Depression can leave you without motivation or energy, which can make it difficult to achieve your goals. This failure to achieve your goals can leave you with that sense of failure that makes things worse.

Instead of setting big goals, set little goals instead. Something like cooking a healthy dinner is enough. As long as it’s achievable, it’s a step in the right direction.

  1. Ask Your Doctor About Other Experimental Treatments

Research into depression has identified other more experimental treatment options that could work for those for whom anti-depressants have failed.

For example, a range of new studies has identified psilocybin, a psychoactive ingredient found in magic mushrooms, as a key area of research for possible future treatments of depression.

It’s important to stress that research into this is very thin, and you should always consult your doctor before trying any experimental treatments.