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foods to battle depression

Foods To Help Battle Depression

When you are feeling depressed, you probably aren’t thinking too much about the foods you are eating. But, research shows that eating right can give your brain the tools it needs to avoid (or even treat) depression. 

Let’s get real here, when we eat right, we tend to weigh less and feel better overall. But that is not the only reason the food you eat matters:

1.) Protein-rich foods boost energy — Proteins like turkey, tuna, and chicken contain the amino acid tryptophan which can help your body produce serotonin. Eating one of these protein-packed foods several times a day can boost energy and help you to clear your mind. Other healthy proteins can be beans/peas, low-fat cheese, milk, yogurt, and soy. 

2.) Vitamins help you feel better — A Spanish study showed a link between depression and the amount of vitamin B12 women got and the amount of folate men had in their diet. Eating things like legumes, nuts, fruits, and dark green vegetables can help keep folate levels high; and lean and low-fat animal products and fish can help to keep B12 levels where they need to be.

3.) Omega-3 Fatty Acids are good for your heart and your brain — Scientists have found that those who don’t consume enough Omega-3s are at greater risk for Major Depressive Disorder. Fatty fish, flaxseed, canola oil, nuts, and dark green leafy vegetables are all good ways to get your Omegas in. 

4.) Antioxidants help prevent cell damage — It is important to keep our brains in tip-top shape and antioxidants can help with that. Our bodies make free radicals which can damage cells and lead to aging and other problems. Antioxidants lessen the destructive impact of these molecules. Foods like carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, nuts and seeds all contain antioxidants. 

5.) The mineral selenium can keep your mood boosted — Low selenium levels have been linked to poor moods. Foods like beans and legumes, lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds, seafood, and whole grains are all rich in selenium. 

Avoiding certain unhealthy foods can also help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression including limiting caffeine and alcohol. Remember if you treat your body right, your brain will follow. 

Signs You Need A Mental Health Day

Your mental health is just — as if not more — important than your physical health. Your brain and all the different emotions you could be facing impact you physically. When you have a sore throat, a cough, a stomachache, a migraine, or other ailments, you take a sick day. When you aren’t feeling good mentally, it could be time to take a mental health day. 

We tend to ignore much of our mental health symptoms, brushing them off and saying “they will pass” only to have them resurface stronger than before. We don’t want to waste the time off, we don’t feel like we have the time to waste. But, we forget that when we aren’t operating at our fullest we aren’t being as efficient. By taking the time to tend to your mental health you are only helping yourself to be more focused, motivated, happy, and…well. 

Here are some signs that you could use a mental health day:

1.) You are distracted by something that needs to get done outside of the office. Maybe it is your taxes, a personal project, or a goal that requires your attention. Now I am not telling you to skip work whenever you need some extra time, but rather when you are distracted, forgetful, overwhelmed by something that needs to be tackled. Take a day to get it done. You will feel better for taking care of it, you will gain some control back over your life, and you will be more productive at your job when you return. 

2.) You have been neglecting yourself. Maybe you have been super busy at work or overcome with a project that is taking over your life. You aren’t taking care of yourself because you don’t feel like you have the time to spare. You could benefit from recharging your batteries. Take a mental health day to take care of you. The day can look any way you think it should — catch up on sleep, meal prep, go for a walk, take a fitness class, spend some extra time with your kids, meet a friend for lunch, whatever it is that you feel you need. A day away from the daily grind can do wonders for your inner self. 

3.) You are struggling with depression and anxiety symptoms that feel unmanageable. Maybe you are easily emotional, you are crying a lot, you are struggling to get out of bed, everyday activities are hard to accomplish, you don’t feel like you, whatever it is a day away from the stress you are consumed with can help. Allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you are trying to push past can be necessary to your healing. If you had the flu, your coworkers would never expect you to come in, they would not find you weak, in fact, they would likely thank you for taking the time to get well. 

There is nothing wrong with taking a mental health day. It can take courage to admit that you need one. It can be hard to allow yourself the opportunity to have this day but it will be worth it. If you are having trouble taking care of you, I encourage you to seek help from a licensed mental health professional. He/she/they can help you learn ways to fit time in for you. 

How often do you take mental health days?