Depression (Check List)
"A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl." — Stephan Hoeller
This post I wanted to address Depression.
Most do not realize there are varying forms of depression. Types of depression include: Major Depression, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder (Depression), Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Psychotic Depression, Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), ‘Situational’ Depression, and Atypical Depression.
A basic definition: “A depressive disorder is not a passing blue mood but rather persistent feelings of sadness and worthlessness and a lack of desire to engage in formerly pleasurable activities. A complex mind/body illness, depression can be treated with drugs and/or therapy.” – Psychology Today
I am not going to go into the descriptions of the varying types of depression, rather I am going to share my version of a ‘Depression Check List’.
Obviously, what works for one person may not work another, but everything I am about to suggest have been proven to be effective depression ‘treatments’.
"A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you." — Joyce Meyer
(My) Depression Check List:
ü Set Limit on ‘Zero Days’ – I consider a Zero Day a day that you do absolutely nothing. Try to limit your Zero Days to 3 consecutive days, or 3 out of 7 days.
ü Get Out of Bed – Just getting out of bed can help lift mood.
ü Make Your Bed as soon as you get out of it – research has shown making your bed to help with mood as it checks something off our to-do list first thing.
ü Practice Self Care – wash your face, brush your teeth & hair, get dressed (even if it’s sweats), and if feeling up to it, take a shower/bath.
Did you know singing in the shower has been shown to lift mood, and actually help with Chronic Pain?
ü Get Outside! The fresh air WILL do you good J
ü Get Moving! Even if it is just housework, physical activity helps lift mood. As well, Exercise (when you can force yourself to do it) gets your feel good endorphins flowing which boosts mood, as well exercise helps with insomnia, stress, and anxiety.
"Keep yourself busy if you want to avoid depression. For me, inactivity is the enemy." — Matt Lucas
ü Meditate – Meditation is proven to help relieve stress, calm, improve mood, help with pain, among other health benefits. It helps us be more present, mindful, and in turn, more peaceful.
ü Eat 3 Square Meals a Day – while some over eat when depressed, others forget, or don’t want to eat. Please force yourself to eat three meals a day. Please try for at least 1200 calories a day (minimum), or if over-eating, do not go over 2000 calories a day. And Please try to balance your diet; it is recommended half your intake be vegetables & fruit, quarter should be healthy grains, and the last quarter of you intake should be healthy proteins. Why is this important? Maintaining blood sugar levels improves moods; lower the level, the worse we feel mentally and physically. Balance in what we consume is important as our brain & body need a balance of all food groups so we give our brain & body what they need to function effectively. As I like to say, “if we consume crap, we will feel like crap.”
Health professionals all agree that an all natural, organic, low-glycemic, gmo-free diet is optimal. They also understand, due to cost and availability, some can not afford to eat this way all the time. The way we afford to stick to these ‘rules of thumb’, as well (we are) gluten free and dairy free; Sales! We do not meal plan, we buy what is on sale and meal plan from there. I make sure we always have a balance of all food groups in the house so as that we can make almost anything we want, barring herbs and similar that we need to pick up for more tailored recipes. With herbs we will buy many dried (fresh, store bought herbs tend to go bad on us before we use them all), especially when we are not growing our own. (I enjoy growing basil, cilantro, sprouts, and similar. Our window sills are perfect for them.) When we buy herbs, we purchase organic when it is one sale, and/or find coupons and store deals.
ü Avoid Depressant, and Stimulants – You are probably confused about why I would say avoid stimulants, but here is why: the crash that comes when the high wears off.
Examples of Depressants include: Alcohol (and many street drugs), certain strains of Cannabis (when used excessively), Prescriptions like opiates, anti-anxiety medications, barbituates, tranquilizers, some Foods – among others.
“Consuming refined or processed carbohydrates — such as white bread, cereal, pasta, or snack foods — is going to cause the same impact on your blood sugar levels as eating a basket of jelly beans. Bagels are processed the same way donuts are.” – Psychology Today
ü Force Yourself To Smile:
"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." — Thich Nhat Hanh
ü Take (Whole Food) Supplements & Vitamins – Many of us are low or deficient in regards to mineral and supplement levels in our blood stream/body. When we are low/deficient there is a downward spiral effect. Example: Magnesium is required for our bodies to make Vitamin D, K and Calcium usable. As well, Calcium/K is required for Vitamin D absorption and metabolization. There is very much a ‘cause & effect’ when our vitamin and mineral levels are off, even a little bit.
Side Info: I have a chronic Vitamin D deficiency, and due to this have educated, and am still educating myself on vitamins, supplements, and their importance and (physical) uses.
Did you know the majority of health professionals recommend everyone take 2000 IU a day of Vitamin D? I do not know if I agree with this. I would suggest having your doctor test your Vitamin D level once a year, and if you are low/deficient take the required ‘dose’. As well, many only need extra Vitamin D during the winter months. Unfortunately though, due to how little most are outside, and the overuse of sunscreen, most have low Vitamin D levels. (My doctors told me to go outside 30-60 minutes a day with NO sunscreen. Since I do not use sunscreen, this was not an issue for me.) For your health, PLEASE only purchase non-toxic sunscreen with NON-nanoparticle zinc (and/or similar minerals). The nanoparticle version is the worst for us as it is literally pulverized shards going into our skin, into our blood stream, and collecting in fatty cells. (Gross!!!)
When purchasing vitamins & supplements buy Whole Food products that are Organic, and if possible, Non-GMO. (I also have to make sure they are gluten & dairy free.) Please do yourself a favor when buying supplements: if buying in a store, go to a store like Vitamin Cottage that has trained & informed employees that are equipped to help you find the most effective product(s) for you and your needs. If buying online, do your research!!! All companies have claims, only so many actually live up to those claims. My vitamins and supplements are made by; NOW, Garden of Life, Juice Plus+, and Source Naturals.
For my mental & physical disorders I take (per my docs): 5000 IU Vitamin D, Magnesium (Malate – do your research as there are different types, and have varying benefits), Selenium, CO-Q-10, Omegas, and Whole Food Nutrition Capsules.
ü Get Your Sleep, but Don’t Oversleep – as we know, too little sleep has negative effects, and on the opposite, too much sleep has negative effects as well. Put a maximum daily time limit on sleep: 10 hours, at most. Studies show that most people need 7-10 hours.
ü Find a Therapist and/or Psychiatrist – support from mental health professionals is VERY important! Total honesty: I couldn’t ‘do it’ without the support of my health team. If you need help finding resources in your area, please feel free to contact me for help.
ü Trust the Process – try not get judge yourself, your journey, and your progress. Learn to trust that things will move forward as they are meant to. Do not try to rush your recovery as 99% of the time this will ensure relapse (sooner than later).
One Step At A Time, One Breath At A Time
ü Hobbies – do the things you love, even when you have no interest.
This past month I forced myself to start painting again, to read, and to color, and I can absolutely say that doing this helped lift my depression. It did not cure it, but it sure as sh@t helped!
Don’t have a hobby? Try out different hobbies: art, crafts, reading, yoga, puzzles, snowboarding/skiing/hiking/camping/fishing and similar, build models (cars, buildings, etc), Legos, card games, photography, blogging – are a start. Keep trying out options until you find something you enjoy. Heck, you may find out that there are multiple hobbies you enjoy.
ü Learn to Love Yourself – or at least start the journey. I highly suggest you read Brene Brown’s, the Gifts of Imperfections, and find other books that are relatable, inspiring, and/or motivational. As well, learn self acceptance and respect; love will start blossoming from these roots.
ü Take a Deep Breath and keep on keeping on (as my friend Bryant always says).
I do not want to overwhelm, so I will end the check list here.
There are many things you can to help lift your depression, but I think the above list is a pretty good/effective start. And please do not think I am able to stick with this 100% of the time; we all have times we struggle to do what we know to be most effective for our health and happiness.
Do you have any suggestions for a Depression Check List? Please share with us.
"Getting better from depression demands a lifelong commitment. I've made that commitment for my life's sake and for the sake of those who love me." — Susan Polis Schutz
This quote couldn’t be any more true; Happiness & Health are a lifelong journey. The sooner we accept that truth, the sooner we find some happiness.
Until next time,
Live. Laugh. Love.