So, you’re depressed. Lots of people experience depression; many aren’t even aware of it. Doesn’t matter who you are. Anyone can develop depression. Whether or not you’ve taken medication, psychotherapy, pastoral care, or nothing at all, sometimes the depression returns or perhaps worsens.
But what if the depressive state you’re in doesn’t change all that much or becomes worse? What should be the first steps to regain balance in life and feel human again?
Ask yourself, “Could I be sabotaging my own depression (either accidentally or on purpose)? Am I making choices that are actually perpetuating my depression and making it worse? I have listed several possible saboteurs in this blog:
- Do you get enough sun in your life? Are you exposed to 15-20 minutes of sunlight each day? If you work primarily indoors or your depression keeps you in your home, perhaps with the drapes or blinds closed and you stay in bed too long, you’re doing more harm than good. Get out there and stand in the securing warmth of the sun a little bit every day.
- How are your eating habits? Make sure you are taking in a sufficient amount of protein and limiting your fats and carbohydrate intake. When depressed, it is common to reach for the cookies and potato chips (comfort foods in general). They stimulate “feel good” hormones within us, but they too have a kind of “side effect:” once the rush of the comfort foods has worn off, there tends to be a boomerang effect and a kind of energy “crash” that occurs, causing our bodies to want more comfort foods rather than addressing the problems which motivated us to reach for that kind of food to begin with. This cycle can become a downward spiral into even deeper depression very quickly.
- MOVE! Exercise is great and good, but even the word exercise is unmotivating for some, especially those with depression. So don’t exercise right now (you won’t get me to say that too often). Just move. Take a walk, do some gardening, play Frisbee with the dog. Just get up and do something. If your depression has led to obesity issues and you find it difficult to move that much right now, stand up and sit down twice where you are. Do it three times tomorrow…Next week walk 10 steps (5 forward and 5 back) and do that every day. The following week walk 20 steps,…you get the idea. Just get off your butt and move!
- Do you get quality sleep? Depression can require too much sleep in some people and too little in others. If you give into the hostage demands of depression, your entire life may feel like you are slowly self-destructing. But that’s not really true. A screwed up sleep cycle is just one of many problems often associated with depression. There are a number of things to consider for proper sleep (sleep environment, time you go to bed and/or get up, when you eat, what you eat, water intake,…). Aim for the number seven. Seven hours of sleep is ideal and healthy for a fully grown man; slightly more (7.5-8 hours) for an adult woman.
- Change your stinking thinking. If you see life as negative, it will always be negative, unless you make some changes in the way you think. Is the glass half-full or half-empty for you? No matter how you perceive the water in the glass, always remember that glasses can be refilled — but that requires a choice on your part.
- Dissolve or limit toxic relationships. “Toxic” doesn’t mean someone who doesn’t agree with you. A toxic relationship consistently brings out the worst in you. They label you, criticize rather than encourage, belittle you,…If this has been going on for some time and no amount of attempt to correct it has helped, abandon ship!
- Resolve burn out. Work, social, or relationship burn out is toxic in itself. If you find yourself not who you once were and/or don’t like who you are becoming in those situations, check for symptoms of burn out. When a rose fails to bloom, we don’t throw it away; we don’t try to fix the rose. We change the environmental conditions that enable the rose to flourish and thrive (e.g., water, sunlight, soil amendments…) If you find yourself completely burned out by your relationships, your work, whatever, do something about it. Stay in place and try to add a little sunshine to the mix. Fertilize a little bit. If nothing seems to work, you can always replant to a better flower garden! Feeling stuck and believe you can’t change? That’s bull! There are always options.
- Are you socializing with people? Are you surrounding yourself with healthy people? Often we isolate ourselves when we’re depressed. Socializing and finding ways to personally serve others helps us feel better about ourselves, even at the medical level. We can facilitate our own healing sometimes by simply serving other people.
“Feeling stuck and believe you can’t change? That’s bull!”
Don’t know how to do these things or many other solutions like them? Feeling incapacitated to do anything about your depression? Would you like some help through it? I can help you discover the real root causes of your depression (they’re probably not what you think they are). I will help you address and give you the tools necessary to tell your depression to take a hike. I want to teach you how to find and maintain a balanced life. And, I can be a sounding board and accountability partner you need in the future. Depression doesn’t stop overnight, but as long as you need my services, I can be there to help.
Make a connection in the CONTACTS section of my website, thepowerofbecoming.com, or see my Facebook page, Chrysalis Life Change Solutions@alifetransformed.grantray. As a bonus, I want to send you my free booklet, “Ten Prime Choices for Lasting Life Change.” In it are 10 simple things you can do even in the next hour to jumpstart the healing process. Ask for it by name. May God’s richest healing blessings be yours, starting today!