Depression Tips: Exercise, Diet, Stress Reduction, And More In Pictures


Let Your Pet Nuzzle Blues Away

Sometimes your pet really can be your best friend, and that’s good therapy. When you play with him, you take your mind off your problems. And when you take care of him, you’re focused on something outside yourself, which can be therapeutic.


Eat Smart to Lift Mind and Body

No specific foods treat depression, but a healthy diet can be part of an overall treatment plan. Build your meals and snacks around plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.


Choose Foods to Boost Your Mood

Some studies say omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 may ease the mood changes of depression, especially for people who may not get enough of these nutrients. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel have omega-3s. So do flaxseed, nuts, soybeans, and dark green vegetables. Seafood is a good source of B12, but vegetarians  can get it in fortified cereals, dairy products, and supplements.


Try Low-Fat Carbs for a Pick-Me-Up

Carbohydrates raise your level of the brain chemical serotonin, which enhances your sense of well-being. Go for low-fat options like popcorn, a baked potato, graham crackers, or pasta. Carbs from vegetables, fruit, and whole grains are even better choices — they also give you fiber.


Drink Less Caffeine

Do you really need that third cup of coffee? Anxiety often happens along with depression. And too much caffeine can make you nervous, jittery, or anxious. While scientists haven’t found a clear link between caffeine and depression, cutting back on it may help lower your risk for the condition and improve your sleep.


Treat Your Aches and Pains

When you hurt, it’s hard to stay in a good mood. Work with your health care team to treat your depression and your pain.


Work Out to Change How You Feel

Exercise works almost as well as antidepressants for some people. And you don’t have to run a marathon. Just take a walk with a friend. As time goes on, move more until you exercise on most days of the week. You’ll feel better physically, sleep better at night, and boost your mood.


Choose an Exercise You Enjoy

If you don’t like to run, you won’t last long training for a 10k race. But you will stay with an exercise plan you like. You can take walks, go golfing without a cart, ride a bike, work in your garden, play tennis, or go swimming. The important thing is to pick something you like. Then you’ll look forward to it and feel better when you do it.


Exercise With Others for Support

Connections with other people can help you overcome the sluggish, lonely feelings of depression. Join an exercise group or work out with a friend. You’ll stay in touch and have support to keep yourself on track.


Be Sure You Get Enough Sunlight

Do you feel more depressed during darker, cold months? You may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s most common in the winter, when there’s less sunlight. You can treat SAD with light therapy, antidepressants, and talk therapy.


Explore Your Creativity

Painting, photography, music, knitting, or writing in a journal are all ways you can explore your feelings and express what’s on your mind. The goal isn’t to create a masterpiece. Do something that gives you pleasure. It may help you better understand who you are and how you feel.


Make Time for Mindful Relaxation

Stress and anxiety can add to your depression symptoms and make it harder to recover. Learn to relax and you can help restore a sense of calm and control. You might consider a yoga or meditation class. Or you could simply listen to soothing music while you take a long, warm bath.


Get Involved in Your Community

When you spend time with people or causes you care about, you can regain a sense of purpose. And it doesn’t take much to get started. You can volunteer with a charity. Or join a discussion group at the library or at church. You’ll feel good about yourself when you meet new people and do new things.


Keep Friends and Family in Your Life

The people who love you want to support you. If you shut them out, they can’t. If you let them in, you’ll feel a lot better. Call a friend and go for a walk. Have a cup of coffee with your partner. You may find it helps to talk about your depression. It feels good to have someone listen.

Get the Sleep You Need

Depression makes it hard to get good rest. Some people sleep too much. Others can’t fall asleep easily. As you recover, relearn good nighttime habits. Start by going to bed and getting up the same times each day. Use relaxation techniques to help you drift off. Quality shut-eye makes your mind and body feel better.


Avoid Alcohol and Drugs

They can slow your recovery from depression or stop it in its tracks. They can also make the condition worse and keep antidepressants from working well. If you have a problem with substance abuse, ask for help now. You’ll have a far better chance of getting past depression.


Stick to Your Treatment

Exercise, a healthy diet, and other good habits may help you feel positive about your life. But they won’t replace medical treatment or talk therapy. Depression is a serious illness, and it carries a risk of suicide. If you are thinking about harming yourself, get help right away. And never stop or change your treatment without discussing it with your doctor.

If you would like to speak to a Counsellor for free telephonic counselling call the Substance Abuse Helpline 0800 21 22 23/Destiny Helpline 0800 41 42 43, or SMS 31393.  SADAG is open 7 days a week, every day of the year from 8am-8pm. SADAG provides FREE telephonic counselling, referrals to Support Groups, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Clinics, etc. We also have brochures, self-help tips & online resources at

Diet and Nutrition for Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality due to noncommunicable diseases in Africa. As in treatment of different diseases, nutrition is a vital part in cancer treatment. Feeding on right variety of foods help a person feel better and stronger, before, during and after treatment. The diet and nutrition information for cancer in this article is not meant to replace the advice of a medical practitioner specialized in cancer therapy.

Good nutrition is especially important if you are a cancer patient because both the illness and its treatments can change the way you eat. Cancer and its treatments can also affect the way your body performs different metabolic activities like digestion of foods and utilization of nutrients. The nutrients needs of people with cancer differ from one another. Your cancer care team can help you identify your nutrition goals and plan ways to help you meet them.

Feeding on the right foods as directed, when you are in cancer treatment might help you feel better, keep up your strength and energy, maintain your weight and your body’s store of nutrients, tolerate treatment-related side effects like fatigue & anaemia, lower your risk of infection, heal and recover faster. Good diet and nutrition for cancer means eating a variety of foods to get the nutrients your body needs to fight cancer. These nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, water, vitamins and minerals.

Choose high-protein and high-calorie foods to increase energy and help wounds heal

We need protein for growth, to repair body tissues and to keep our immune systems healthy. Good sources of protein include fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy products, nuts and butters, dried beans, peas and lentils and soy foods. When your body lacks enough proteins, it might break down muscle to quench its thirst. This slows the speed of recovery from illnesses and lowers body’s immunity. People with cancer often need more protein than usual because cancer treatment might involve surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, normally extra protein is highly needed to heal tissues and help fight infection.

Carbohydrates are the body’s major source of energy. They also supply needed vitamins and minerals, fiber and phytonutrients to the body cells. For physical and proper organ function the body obtains its fuel from carbohydrates. The best sources of carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice and whole grains.

Fats and oils are made of fatty acids and serve as a rich source of energy for the body. Fats are usually broken down and utilized to store energy, insulate body tissues and transport some types of vitamins through the blood.

Drink lots of fluids

All body cells need water to function. If you don’t drink enough water or of you lose fluids through vomiting or diarrhoea you can be dehydrated. If this happens the fluids and minerals that help keep your body working can become dangerously out of balance. Dry mouth is often caused by radiation therapy to the head and neck and by certain medicines. It may cause altered speech, taste, and the ability to swallow or to use dentures. There is also an increased
risk of dental decay (cavities) and gum disease. A person should drink about 8-ounce glasses of liquid each day to be sure that the body cells get the fluid they need. Keep in mind that all liquids like soups, milk, ice cream and gelatin count toward your fluid goals.

Heal well

For the body to function properly it needs small amounts of vitamins and minerals. They help the body to utilize energy (calories) found in foods. Most of them are found naturally in foods though they are also supplements in pill and liquid form. A person who eats a balanced diet with enough carbohydrates and proteins usually gets plenty of vitamins and minerals. But for cancer patients your doctor or dietitian may suggest daily multivitamin and mineral supplements. If you are thinking of taking a vitamin or supplement, be sure to discuss this with your doctor first.

Nowadays, herbs have been so famous though they have been used to treat disease for hundreds of years, with mixed results. Today, herbs are found in many products, like pills, liquid extracts, teas, and ointments. Many of these products are harmless and safe to use, but others can cause harmful side effects. Some may even interfere with proven cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and recovery from surgery. If you’re interested in using products containing herbs, talk about it with your health worker first.