We all have our moments of ups and downs in this beautiful thing called life. For some of us, the downs are a bit more challenging, and those ups we might need to fight for, and they are sometimes brief. It can sometimes feel like a dark cloud is all encompassing. You don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t find joy in the things you like doing anymore. More and more you want to be alone. The tightness in your chest begins as soon as you wake up. The mind ends up being so burnt out from all this energy spent on analysing, on just trying to get yourself ready to step out into the world. Every little thing can seem so hopeless, all you can think of is all the things that have went wrong in this life – you just think, what’s the point? What am I even doing here? Why am I doing this? Who even cares? These super dark, dark, dark times can pop up after a couple of months, maybe due to a trigger of a traumatic event, or they are just something to deal with on a constant basis. Does any of this resonate with you? If it does… I’m sure you already know what I’m referring to. Yes, that roommate you’ve had to live with, depression. There are many types of depression, so if you identify with any – I’m sure you’ll relate and appreciate this bloggy blog. Even if you don’t deal with depression, I’d thought I’d share my go-to tips for dealing with those down feelings and how to live your life in a preventative way to be happy and proactive.
I identify with (and have been diagnosed with) chronic depression – which is not easy to say, but I am becoming more open to sharing as I’ve realised I can help others by sharing.
Openness creates openness.
Chronic depression (dysthymia) can be a result of abnormal functioning in brain circuits or nerve cell pathways that connect different brain regions that regulate mood. Major life stressors, chronic illness, relationship or work problems may also increase the chances of dysthymia in people biologically predisposed to developing depression.
I have been dealing with depression since the age of 13. I have always been able to identify it, when it comes in hot (cue dark cloud), so I do certain things to stay on track. I have developed a plethoraaaa of tools to kick it’s butt.
I guess I’ll just get right into it;
- Therapy– 100% this is something I do regularly, even when I don’t need it. One moment can be so good, and then the next can be so dark. Nothing and everything can trigger these fluctuations in emotions (hormones… yaknow!) so it’s best to visit the therapist weekly or biweekly to just check in with what’s going on, thought processes, etc. Just to have someone to listen, to be there, to unload your baggage onto. You are heard.
- Essential oils and all those feel good smells– I took medication for depression for a little while when I was younger but I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do. So when one of the worst times of depression hit me, at the age of 21 in my senior year of college, in the dark, dark place of not being able to see an out, I almost said yes again to the medication. Doctors’ can be very convincing. So I went home and googled tools for happiness and saw the benefits of oils and scents that can be uplifting. I have used Doterra clary sage and lavender (find here- http://www.mydoterra.com/soulgypsyhealth) ever since. Life changing. I wear them on my body and use them in the diffuser while I’m at home. The oils just make me feel so calm. In the morning, I put wild orange and peppermint in the diffuser to uplift and energize me. Godsent.
- Waking up with the sun– this one here is so important to me. It is the number one reason why I just won’t stay up late. Waking up even before the sun is so important to me, to feel the stillness without the busyness. To feel so apart of the universe. To have a purpose as soon as you wake up, which brings me to my next ->
- Yoga, meditation, and exercise– Mooooveeeement !!! For the mind, body and soul! Energy can get stuck so we must move it – to be free of the stagnant, stuck energy that makes us not want to do anything. Clear the space. Renew. But remember, don’t deplete yourself. I think I have a tendency to be all or nothing, but I’m learning to take it easy on myself. I became obsessive for a bit and now am cool not to work out for a day or a couple… it’s balance.
- Community– be with people that do cool things rather than just get stoned and drunk. Get together for dinner parties, go on walks, go to church. That is what I did in that deep dark time. I actually went to church which was sooo insane for me. I just craved deep connection and people that cared about things in a deep way and wanted to be there for you. Wow. I swear I would not be alive today if I did not go to church on that whim… I am not a religious person persay any longer, I’d rather call myself spiritual.
- Nutrition– food is thy medicine. Try to stick to whole foods and avoid all that processed, sugary food. I like to have cold-pressed juices to feed my body with all the nutrients. If you’re eating food that is very tamasic (Ayurvedic work meaning dull, heavy) like meat and cheese, or eating too much, you’ll likely feel sleepy and an unwillingness to get off the couch. Eat light, nourishing foods that will help you be creative and want to move. Also a little tip – eat yooo cashews!!! Eating two handfuls of cashews is equivalent to taking a prescription dose of the antidepressant Prozac. Cashews are high in tryptophan which helps increase levels of that happiness-inducing neurotransmitter, serotonin.
- Supplements– I definitely have used my fair share of holistic supplements to keep me on the happy game. So a few of my faves are – CBD oil (taken orally), Kava – pill or tincture – to reduce anxiety, Gingko + gingseng (tea or tincture) for mental clarity, focus to want to do things and get me out of my cloudy headspace.
- Infrared Sauna– this currently is my absolute go-to feel good drug. It makes me feel soooo euphoric post-sauna and gives me such a boost of energy. The sauna helps promote relaxation and circulation – move that stagnant energy around bebeee! Sweating reguraly also promotes detoxification which is a good way of removing toxins and creating space for good energy. It is 45 minutes of letting go, sitting with yourself, with no device. Forced meditation – if you feel like you just can’t do the meditation thang in your own home. Try it… I’m obsessed. My go-to local is https://www.sweatboxsaunas.com.au in Cottesloe, Perth. I’m actually going this afternoon… yesssss! I go once or twice a week, especially now that it is cooler weather. As a vata, cooler weather can make me feel like I am stiff and want to do nothing.
I’ll leave it at that ya’ll! Be kind to yourself. Don’t shut yourself away. Do things that will help you out of those dark times, even when you don’t want to. Getting out of your bedroom or home will be medicine in it’s own right. Go on a walk. Breathe in the fresh air. Just take a breath and tell yourself: