I always tell my clients that if when we were born, we all had to pick an emotional illness to carry with us throughout our lives; depression/anxiety would be the one to choose. Why? Because there are so many things we can do to deal with it and heal from it. Read through the following and pick at least one to start with.
1. See your physician!
There are many causes of depression, some of them medical. I recommend that all of my clients have a physical if they have been suffering from depression for longer than two weeks. If they recommend medication, at least listen and do some research.
2. Look at your lifestyle!
Are you sleeping enough? Eating nutritious meals? Moving your body enough? Getting outside in the sunshine? Interacting with supportive, loving friends and family? When we stop doing these things, they can cause depression or be signs of depression. Add them to your list of “prescriptions”.
3. Find someone you trust to talk to.
Anyone. If you need the help of a qualified therapist, get recommendations and seek one out. Think of it as an hour that someone is there just for you.
4. Yes, it is true we are what we eat.
If you don’t believe it look in your refrigerator and your pantry. Then look in the mirror. Switch as much as possible to health-full foods that give your body the nutrients it needs to function. Many of us treat our cars and pets better than our own bodies. Right off the bat, some recommendations:
- Cut out sugar in all forms, even substitutes.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is rampant. Our cells need this essential fluid.
- Try the following supplements: (talk to your doctor first! And always choose a reputable company to purchase from, check out their manufacturing process)
- Essential fatty acids
- Calcium Magnesium with Vitamin D3
5. Consider alternative modalities.
Acupuncture is a proven adjunct in the healing of depression and anxiety due to the release of neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, and its balancing action on the body. Seek out a licensed practitioner (if possible, a physician trained in Oriental medicine) who can also provide you with supplemental herbs. Many insurance companies cover sessions and if you fear needles, they are thinner than your hair!
Meditation, massage and other relaxing forms of bodywork, breathwork and energy healing modalities are also wonderful ways to complement your depression “prescription”.
6. Attend to your spiritual life.
Disconnection from your personal relationship with God eliminates one of the best supports in dealing with depression and the issues that may be its cause. Recreate comforting rituals from your childhood or early spiritual/religious experiences. Be open to a renewing process from this most important source of strength. Look for a licensed pastoral counselor or spiritual director to support you in this area.
7. When was the last time you did something creative?
This does not restrict you to art or music! Creative pursuits reach into the area of our lives that is most often ignored because we are too busy. Anything that brings passion and childlike delight to its pursuit is creative and allows you to experience a flow of peacefulness (and endorphins!)
8. Take a break! Use your vacation time!
Plan it ahead of time. Anticipation is many times just as wonderful as the vacation itself. Remember looking forward to things when you were a kid? The energy generated when we anticipate is full of motivating positivity! Even if you can only plan a few hours out of your normal schedule, it will do wonders for your outlook.
9. Get organized!
Clutter causes stress and comes in many forms, physical clutter of our space and mental clutter of our mind and emotions. Get going and get rid of it a little at a time.
10. Stop procrastinating!
Putting things off creates mental clutter and big stress. Make a list of what you need to get done in every area of your life (family, spiritual, personal, work…note I put work last!) and put the items in your planner/calendar on the day that you plan to do them, then, DO THEM! You will be amazed at the amount of energy is freed up when we get things done; procrastinating takes more energy than doing the task!
11. Hit the library…or your Kindle/Nook store!
There are many wonderful books about healing from depression/anxiety. Pick one you like and start implementing the information they have for you. If you are seeing a therapist, share the information with them so you can get the full benefit and support for your learning.
12. And if you are not getting relief, reconsider medication.
Learn about it and talk to your doctor about a psychiatrist that will be able to tailor your medication to YOUR needs.
Okay, there you are. I know you may be thinking, ‘How can she expect me to do these things? I’m depressed!!’ Well, the most important factor in your healing is you. You will be the one to enlist the support you need from your family and healthcare providers. And, oh yeah, don’t forget about #6…the easiest support system to implement! Sometimes, at the beginning of our healing we have to push ourselves, even if the starting point is getting help with the pushing ourselves to get help.
I wish you much grace and comfort in this journey!