As a military spouse, you are familiar with the ups and downs that come with the military lifestyle. For some of you, the downs can dominate and seriously interfere with your life. Nearly 10% of the population suffers from depression– and 70% of them are women.
While you may think that depression goes hand in hand with deployments, that’s not necessarily true. It’s something that is a constant mental health battle and each individual person is different. One military spouse may feel depressed only when major situations happen– an illness or death in the family, a baby’s birth, financial troubles, deployment, etc. Another may struggle to get out of bed in the morning and any disruption to a routine could make them feel inadequate or overwhelmed.
My depression diagnosis came after I realized I was sleeping nearly 15 hours a day and felt completely overwhelmed with my stressful job. I used medication in the beginning until I found natural ways to deal with depression for the long term.
Here are 4 ways I’ve naturally battled depression for the last 8 years.
(Remember: there’s no perfect way to deal with depression.)
I spent a lot of time talking with a counselor or therapist about what was going in my head and how I was dealing with it. Friends can be a good option too, but for me, they were too close and lacked objectivity to tell me when I was blowing things out of proportion.
Any form of exercise will be beneficial to your mental health– try yoga or tai chi, volleyball, soccer, running, or swimming. Running became my form of therapy. Later I moved on to CrossFit, a high-intensity fitness regiment and I can honestly tell when I have been slacking on fitness. I don’t see it on the scale. I feel it in my brain. You may not want to do it, but I promise you will feel better when you incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Evaluate your diet.
Sugar and processed foods can impact your mood. I crave sugar when I’m depressed and unfortunately, eating sugar makes me more depressed. Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel afterward. Make adjustments as necessary.
Befriend positive people.
Make the conscious choice to socialize with people who make you happy and are happy in general. Do what you can to foster happy thoughts. Laugh often. Don’t listen to sad music or watch depressing movies. Keep a gratitude journal.
Depression affects more than the military spouse with the diagnosis. It takes its toll on everyone close to them.
Military spouses, repeat after me: It’s okay to ask for help; it’s okay to offer help.
What’s your favorite way to naturally combat feelings of sadness?
Note: Please reach out to a professional if you feel sad, depressed, unhappy, or constantly worried. While common, depression is a serious condition and should be properly diagnosed. If you are currently taking medications, please consult your doctor before trying any additional remedies. Do not reduce or quit taking medication without your doctors’ oversight.