Congratulations on completing your round of TMS treatments!We want you to continue to feel as good in the future as you do now. Incorporating a couple changes into your life—or continuing some of the good things you’re already doing—can help boost the effects of TMS therapy and make its positive results even longer-lasting.
We recommend a broad, multi-level approach to dealing with depression, of which TMS treatment is an important part!
Maintaining a Depression-Free Lifestyle
There are many evidence-based ways to lead a lifestyle that will help you to either prevent a depressive relapse or manage your symptoms.
Exercise may not ‘fix’ your depression, but for many people, it works as well as antidepressants. Making regular exercise part of your routine can help lessen the symptoms of depression and keep them from interfering with your life.
Most studies on the effectiveness of exercise for depression focus on aerobic activity—something that gets your heart and lungs pumping. Research also shows that weight training (AKA resistance training or strength training) can also help to ease and prevent depression.
Regular exercise means 150 minutes a week, or 21 minutes a day, and it can be almost anything! Walking is a simple and effective way to start. Running is great, and so is swimming. But you could also:
- Join a dance class
- Take tennis lessons
- Go ice skating
- Chase after your children at the park
- Help a friend move
If you have severe depression, exercise alone might not be enough to offer you the relief you need. Combined with TMS therapy, it can make a big difference.
It can often seem like what is considered “healthy” and “unhealthy eating” changes all the time. But some things remain true. There is a depression, you should try to avoid:
- A high intake of refined sugar
- Fried foods
- Processed meats
- Processed grains
These foods contribute to depression because they result in low blood sugar, carry too few nutrients and minerals, and are physically draining. Undereating, overeating, and taking in too little fat are also patterns of eating that can make depression worse.
Foods that will help to improve your mood include:
- Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and soybeans
- Whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish
A Good Night’s Sleep
Lack of proper sleep is often a symptom of depression. It also exacerbates the condition, which is why it’s important to live a lifestyle that promotes restful sleep. Regular exercise and a good diet will help to ensure you feel ready for bed at the right time and not restless or agitated. If you’re a coffee- or tea-drinker, it could be a good idea to avoid moderate to high levels of caffeine, as these have been shown to result in sleep problems.
Browsing the internet on your laptop or devices late at night is tempting, but try to avoid it. Computers and smartphones emit blue light, which tells your brain it’s daytime, increasing your alertness. Try to put your devices away a few hours before you plan to sleep. Otherwise, you’ll find it harder to fall asleep, and your rest will be less restorative.
You don’t have to live in a monastery to make meditation a daily part of your life. Mindfulness meditation simply involves calmly noticing, without judgment, what is going on in the present moment. Traditionally, you would sit cross-legged with eyes closed and pay attention to your breathing. But you can also meditate lying down. If you get distracted, note the distraction, then bring your focus back to your breath.
Mindfulness-based therapy has been shown to be remarkably effective in the treatment of depression, working as well as antidepressants in preventing a relapse. For this reason, many psychotherapists now incorporate mindfulness as part of their practices.
The Signs of Returning Depression
Maintaining a healthy routine helps combat and prevent depression. Being aware of the signs of returning depression can empower you even more!
Keep an eye out for:
- Persistent low mood
- Increased social withdrawal
- Feelings of isolation, loneliness, and alienation
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling tired a lot, regardless of sleep and diet
- Sleep problems
- Low self-esteem
- Constant negative thoughts
Next Steps If You Feel Your Depression Symptoms Returning
If you feel that your depression is returning, booster treatments of TMS therapy may be an option. We’re always happy to schedule a check-up to see how you’re getting on! Our psychiatrist will sit down with you and discuss what benefits you received from the treatment; what life has been like since the sessions (including details about your lifestyle); and in what ways your mood, thinking, and behaviors are being negatively impacted.
Most people who require booster treatments need only a couple consecutive sessions a year. Insurance usually covers them. And many of our patients find that follow-up therapy is a reliable way to manage their depression, prevent relapse, and live a happy and stable life!