5 Natural Helps With Depression

by | Jun 5, 2024

I struggle with clinical depression, as well as circumstantial depression thrown in the mix at times. What this means is this… I struggle medically with depression (regardless of what is going on in my life) and I receive medical treatment for this. But at times, circumstances and situations in my life add to this and can exacerbate the problem.

I take medication for depression and am so glad that I do. People around me should be glad I do too, because it really does help me, and thereby it helps all of the people I interact with. I’ve gone off of the medication before, just to see if I could or should, and the result wasn’t good. So, I have accepted the idea of staying on medication long term and I don’t feel any angst at all about that, any more than I would taking a pill for any other ailment. I don’t see depression any differently than diabetes or heart disease or any other things a person might struggle with.

At times, circumstances happen in my life and become overwhelming and even with being on medication for depression, I find myself in an intense struggle. It is sometimes as if my meds don’t phase me when this happens. A few things have happened lately that have resulted in circumstantial depression, and I’ve had to be more intentional about taking additional steps in order to overcome it. In reality, I should be taking these steps all the time. They are good for me, and I know this. But during times like these, I have to be super intentional about them, or how I am feeling becomes debilitating. I need to keep getting up out of bed in the morning and working and going to church and all the things, so…

These are five things that help me when I am grappling with both types of depression:

Daily walking

Hippocrates once said, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” When I am struggling with circumstantial depression I try to walk an hour a day. It is super hot here in Florida right now — almost 100 degrees, and it can be unbearable at times. I try to get up early and walk an hour, or do an hour as the sun is setting when temps are a little bit cooler. This makes all the difference in the world for me. I feel an immediate lift in my spirit after the walk is done, and it also helps me get better rest at night.

Spend time outside

I can walk indoors with a treadmill or a walking exercise video, but I much prefer outdoors. I’ve shared about the value of forest bathing (which you can do even if you don’t live in the forest!) and the benefit of getting outside. Fresh air does wonders for a person, not just a depressed person, but anyone. As Laura Ingalls Wilder explained, “Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”

Increase water intake

The National Library of Medicine reports that drinking water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults. I notice it does help me to drink more water. I try to minimize my intake of diet soda in particular (I’m a Dr. Pepper Zero drinker), and limit myself to one cup of coffee a day.

Resist binging on sugar

Sugar brings me an immediate high and then an almost as immediate low. I crave it but then feel terrible once I consume it. I do not totally swear off sugar as some do, but I try to use it sparingly. I already knew how sugar made me feel, but upon researching it I found these is something scientific to it. Recent medical research reveals a link between sugar consumption and symptoms of depression and anxiety. This explains why I crave my favorite sweet treat (chocolate frosted donuts) when I’m depressed but as soon as I eat one, I feel worse than before.


I ask my closest friend Laura to hold me accountable for these things and more — particularly getting off my butt and going outside to walk. She’s good at asking if I’m doing what I need to do to stay on track, and giving me a good talking to when I am slacking. George Washington Carver once said, “Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.” I don’t want to make excuses. I know from experience that they only lead to more heartache. I’m committed to telling my friend the truth about what I have done or not done, and only in that can I move forward.

You might wonder…

Why haven’t I listed prayer among these helps? Why haven’t I included Bible reading? Because those things are a given. I do those daily…all the time. I am already incorporating those things intentionally. And at times I do increase them, but understand — I’m already doing that — A LOT.

Yes, you can be a person who loves Jesus, reads large amounts of the Bible, and prays constantly — and still struggle with depression.

And, you can overcome.

If you struggle today, I’m praying for you, too. The struggle is real, but God is more real!


  1. Laura Elizabeth Flora

    😢 I Feel this so Much Deanna 🫂.

    Depression is not easy to live with, Yet we must live!

    I know it’s God that keeps Us going’ Yes!!!

    I Love this from Laura Ingalls Wilder “Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”
    I was named after her, it was my mom’s favorite TV show and when Mom had me she knew she wanted to name me Laura and all of my childhood I grew up on repeats of Little House on the Prairie…..

    On my weight loss journey I have pretty much stuck to the gym mostly bike, some treadmill and on and off with the elliptical but over the past 2 weeks because of your post on forest bathing I’ve been walking outside more behind the apartments where there are lots of trees and Shade 🤗🥰.
    It really does help….

    I’m so sorry that you have to struggle with this… Depression sucks!

    BUT, I am so thankful for you for always being open and honest and for your blogs and everything you write.

    Because of you, I have been getting the help that I need and I will forever be grateful for your love, support and friendship 💕 🫂 💕

    • Dr. Deanna Shrodes

      You have come a long way! Your weight loss and determination is amazing. I am so proud of you. Keep going and growing! Love you!

      • Violet Waswa

        this is wonderful news for me coz currently av been struggling with alot of stuff which has been so overwhelming, let me try the five steps form where I sit, thanks Pastor Deanna, following you on social media has really changed my life, thanks alot dear

        • Dr. Deanna Shrodes

          I am so glad to hear that anything I’ve shared has helped you in your life. I am praying for you, Violet. <3


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