Today’s generation seems to have forgotten how to nurture and care for themselves. Seriously, it does seem that way. It’s all work with a hurried busy lunch break and as soon as the work day is over we rush home and seem to have a never-ending list of chores needing doing, or children to feed, bathe, help with homework, pick up from sports or a friends house. Before going to bed we have to make sure we have the family’s clothes ready for the next day, plus the children’s school bags and in between that we are always responding to texts, emails and so on.
When your system is in constant overdrive it will eventually forget to switch off. This is when we start to have trouble, often in the form of weight gain, trouble sleeping, digestive disorders, sensitivity to light or noise, food intolerances, skin irritations, irritability, booze binging or chocolate binging and of course – depression. Our mind needs to rest and recover as well as our body. Our system needs to reboot!
There are a number of things you can do for yourself to help shake this off – but it takes commitment on your part to yourself. A walk in fresh air is always good for you (if you have mobility issues find a way that suits you to go outside and enjoy fresh air), it helps get your circulation going as well as stretching out those muscles and it helps to clear your mind. If you live near a park, or a wooded area you can immerse yourself in nature and get away from the buzz and fuzz of traffic, television, music blaring, phones going off all the time – you can actually start to hear ‘YOU’. My ‘go-to’ place is Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire – there is a five mile walk (and shorter ones) and I always feel so much better in myself when I’ve done the walk. Even better if you have dogs – perhaps borrow a neighbours dog for a walk if you don’t have dogs! This action really does help lift and alleviate depression – but you need to make that commitment to yourself to do it.
Taking time out for yourself in other ways works too. Book yourself a facial treatment, or a massage once or twice a month. Give yourself that time to shut yourself down and switch off – be the one being pampered and taken care of. Sometimes we just need that sense of ‘being looked after’. As couples, you could book yourselves a Spa Day and take the time to communicate, relax and enjoy each others company.
Meditate. You can find guided meditations on the internet, so find one that works for you and commit yourself to making that time in your day to quietly meditate for 15 / 20 minutes.
Book on a Mindfulness workshop – or find a Mindfulness therapist who can help you be more aware of your thoughts and actions – and help you change them so that you are more positive and uplifted.
Volunteer with a charity that means a lot to you – do something nice for someone else… just because you can. Expect nothing back – just do something nice for someone every day for a week (why stop at one week – make a point of doing 20 nice things for people in one month!).
TURN OFF THE TELEVISION!
The beloved TV is the biggest killer of communication within the family. Make one evening every week TV FREE (including phones tablets laptops) and maybe play a board game – talk to each other about ‘stuff’. Check in with your children and actually spend quality time really listening to each other and sharing things that may be on your mind. When you are suffering depression some people tend to feel quite isolated – even with their family in the same room! This action plan can really help bring back a sense of togetherness and improve family relationships. Make it fun and enjoyable. What do I do? Once or twice a week the television is switched off – soft music plays in the background and we talk – and we listen – we share our ups and downs and it brings us all closer together. Try it.
Attitude of Gratitude! Give thanks every day for 5 or 10 things in your life. You’ll probably find that list growing to 15 or 20 things to be grateful for. This small action has a surprising way of helping you to see the good that you have in your life already. The more you show your gratitude the more you have to be grateful for. You may think this is a load of bottlewash – but you try it for a month!
Counselling, or Talking Therapies will always have their good place in the world. It used to be taboo to admit you have seen a counsellor or that you need to see one – but things are changing rapidly. People are becoming more and more aware of how trained therapists can help – its all about Mental Health Awareness and suffering depression is so much more common that people realise. The causes for depression vary so much and it recognised now that it is not something that you can ‘snap out of’. Find a therapist that you really ‘resonate or click with’ and try to hold the belief that you are taking responsibility for yourself by seeking help. That is such a courageous first step!
There are a number of therapies or modalities you can try, from Hypnotherapy, Spiritual Healing, Art Therapy, Mindfulness Coaching, PSYCH-K(R), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. There is so much more out there that may be your key to stepping away from the use of drugs to manage and cope with depression.
I know that sometimes the use of Anti-Depressants is actually a good thing – but SHORT TERM to help you through a really rough patch, unless specifically required for medical reasons.
I do believe that too many people have become increasingly reliant or dependant on Anti-Depressants/drugs to help them cope, when they really could and should be making lifestyle changes, choosing a more natural way and taking responsibility for their own lives, for themselves. I do not, in any way, mean to discredit people who are currently taking drugs for their depression. For many, it is necessary and they are unable to cope without the drugs. There are also many people in my life, though, that could make a choice – but they don’t.
I must say here – do NOT just take yourself off any medicated drugs you are currently taking as you absolutely need to wean yourself off anti-depressants with your GPs consent. With your GPs supervision you could try to reduce the dosage whilst you make a few positive adjustments in your lifestyle and habits, try a few of the things I’ve mentioned above – try them all. Just try.
Self Care and Self Love is an incredibly valuable commitment worth making.