Depression is a difficult disease. It cannot be seen and many people view it as something that can be easily fixed. However, if you have ever struggled with depression, then you know that it feels like a hole that you cannot climb out of. Even normal, everyday activities can seem too difficult when you are depressed.

Therapy and medication are often necessary and should be used to combat depression. In addition to these things, there are some natural ways to help you feel less depressed. These can be helpful if you have a mild case of depression or in conjunction with therapy and medication. Here are six natural ways to deal with depression.

1- Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is not just good for your body. Your mind benefits from it as well. Exercise releases endorphins which are a feel-good hormone. They can lift your mood immediately after you exercise and for a few hours afterwards. If starting an exercise routine sounds daunting, that is okay. You do not need to join a gym and train hard for an hour everyday for endorphins to work. A brisk 20 minute walk is a great way to get started. You can add in new and different exercises to your routine to find what works best for you. This may include cycling, swimming, yoga, pilates, weight lifting or running.

2- Eat a Healthy Diet

The food we put into our bodies effects more than just our waistline. Certain foods can increase feelings of depression and anxiety. Processed, sugary foods will make your brain feel sluggish and experience symptoms similar to addiction. This includes sugary drinks like juice, soda, and energy drinks. You may also find that coffee and other caffeinated beverages make you feel both anxious and depressed. Sticking to unprocessed whole foods that are full of nutrients like leafy, green vegetables, healthy fats like eggs and coconut oil, and lean meats like chicken and turkey can make you feel significantly better. Your entire body will function better and this will help your mood as well.

3- Take Supplements

In addition to eating a healthy diet, you can use a variety of supplements to boost your mood. St. John’s Wort, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, probiotics, magnesium and fish oil have all been shown to decrease depression. You can get many of these vitamins and minerals through your diet, but it can be difficult to get the proper amount everyday. St. John’s Wort, in particular, has been shown to increase serotonin levels, which can make a big difference in your mood. A major reason many people are depressed is because of low serotonin levels. In addition to these well known supplements, Sam-E, L-Theanine and 5-HTP may also help relieve depression. Always check with your doctor before taking any of these supplements because some of these may have negative interactions with medications you are already taking.

4- Set a Routine with Goals

Having a set routine that forces you to leave your house and accomplish tasks can help you feel less depressed. In addition to this, you can set small goals to achieve daily as a part of your routine. These should not be large, unattainable goals. They can be as simple as drinking more water everyday or doing one load of laundry per week. Accomplishing goals can help you feel better and prove to yourself that you can still complete tasks. A routine will also help you get the proper amount of sleep. One of the biggest problems with depression is that it can wreck your sleep schedule, causing you to feel tired and unmotivated all the time. Try getting up at the same time everyday and going to bed at the same time. You can also establish a soothing night time routine that can include anything from skin care to reading a book to meditation. Find what works best for you and make an effort to stick to it.

5- Meditate

Meditation is a great way to practice taking control of your mind. You can learn how to deal with unwanted thoughts and focus on positive and soothing concepts. You may want to meditate on your own or incorporate it into your exercise routine by practicing yoga. Begin meditating for just 3-5 minutes a day and work your way up to longer sessions. Meditation can help you feel calm and allow your mind to work in new and exciting ways. It can help you find a new perspective on the things in life that seem difficult or let go of negative self talk. There are many apps available to download that can take through simple meditation exercises.

6- Get Outside

Breathing fresh air and enjoying the sun can help boost your mood, no matter what. As discussed above, supplementing with Vitamin D can help combat depression. However, the best way to get Vitamin D is from sun exposure. Many of us are deficient in Vitamin D because of our modern lifestyle. You can fix this by making small changes to your daily routine. Make an effort to go outside for 10-20 minutes everyday. Go for a walk, eat lunch outside or take your kids to the park. This could also be an ideal time to mediate or exercise!

Depression is a dangerous disease. Without treatment it can significantly affect your life and even lead to death. If you are feeling depressed and experiencing suicidal thoughts, then seek the support of a medical doctor and counselor immediately. There is no shame in taking medication and going to therapy. In addition to professional help, these natural remedies can help alleviate the symptoms of depression. If this list seems too overwhelming, pick one remedy to try at a time. As you start to feel better, you can add in more. Remember, you can beat depression. Always keep trying and never give up hope.