Managing depression can become quite costly between doctor visits, medication, and other expenses. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective approach to managing your depression, we’ve put together this helpful list of five things you can do without having to spend a lot of money. Some of them are even completely free! Whether you’re changing your diet, joining a support group, or getting better sleep, there are plenty of cost-effective ways to take control of your depression.
1. Online Forums/Therapy
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online forums dedicated to discussing depression with other people who have either recovered from or are currently suffering from the condition. It can be enormously helpful to hear someone else’s story, their coping methods, and learn how people manage their depression on a day to day basis. The wealth of first-hand information available on the internet should definitely be a consideration for anyone managing depression.
Sites like Reddit have pages upon pages dedicated to mental health, and a simple search engine search can reveal many more. Simply choose a page you feel fits your needs, and begin interacting with other people who’ve dealt with your condition. There’s no substitute to first-hand experience, and sometimes, all you need to hear is that you’re not alone.
There is also the option of online therapy sessions, which can usually cost a bit less than a traditional office visit. You’ll be paired with a licensed therapist that you can talk to about whatever you want, and many sites have people standing by 24/7 for those late-night crises. Unfortunately, therapy is rarely free, but online therapy can be a cost-effective way to still get the treatment you need.
Online chat rooms can help you remain anonymous as well. Not everyone wants to be open about their condition, and that’s ok! Anonymous chat rooms exist for that very reason, and you’ll receive confidential help any time fo the day.
2. Support Groups
Support groups are almost always free and run by local churches or community centers. They are a great place to interact with real people who are suffering from the same condition. The first-hand advice, story sharing, and human interaction are incredibly powerful tools that you can use to manage your depression.
Support groups are essentially just online forums that are conducted in-person. You’ll be able to meet new people, make new friends, and learn things you never would have known before. Don’t battle depression alone; find a support group near you, and begin taking back your life.
3. Dietary Changes
Diet has long been linked to mental and physical health, and with the abundance of poor food options available, it’s no wonder that millions of Americans don’t eat well. Diet can severely impact how you feel, your energy levels, your ability to cope with life, and your overall health. Eating right is an important and cost-effective step to taking control of your depression.
If you partake in a diet that’s high in fat, carbs, and sugar, you’ll want to change it up to include more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Even red meat, such as beef and lamb, isn’t great for the body in large amounts, as it’s usually high in fat and cholesterol, among other things.
Running, walking, jogging, jump-rope, push-ups, curls; these are all exercises you can do for free at home or in your neighborhood. Exercise is absolutely one of the best ways to improve your overall mental and physical health. Exercising releases neurotransmitters such as endorphins, which can actually help alleviate pain and stress. Pretty amazing, right?
Getting enough exercise can help your brain get back on track and minimize the symptoms of your depression. It’s also good for the rest of your body, getting you closer to a mind-body equilibrium that we should all strive for.
5. Improved Sleep Schedule
Along with diet and exercise, you should focus on getting better sleep. We didn’t say more sleep, because you may not actually need more hours, just higher-quality sleep. This means setting a strict sleep schedule for yourself. Getting into a routine helps your body adjust and know what to expect. It’s also a good idea to turn off the electronics before bed, as blue light from TVs, phones, and other devices can actually disrupt sleep patterns and cause lower-quality sleep.
Depression is a powerful condition, and, if left untreated, can cripple a person’s ability to function on a day to day basis. Managing depression is no easy task, but if you follow our cost-effective methods, your brain and your wallet will both benefit. Remember that physical and mental health are linked, so eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep all play a role in taking control of your mental health. Don’t forget that overall health is about more than just lifting weights!