Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Top 5 Depression-Busters

Okay, if you've read any of my posts or book, you already know about my battle with postpartum depression. In fact, I'm still fighting. The struggle is getting easier each day, but there are still days, sometimes weeks, when I feel like I'm at trudging through a sea of molasses. On these days, I turn to one or more of these 5 Super Depression Busters which I know will give me quick results.


1. Nap- This is my number one because I ALWAYS feel better after a nap, even a 15 minute cat wink. If I'm at work, I'll grab my black shawl and phone with a pair of headphones and lay down on the couch in the break room for my 30 minute lunch. I set my alarm for 25 minutes (so I have 5 minutes to "wake" up before jumping back into my work), put on my favorite relaxing album (Erik Wollo's Emotional Landscapes),
and cover my head with the shawl to create a warm dark space for me to rest in. I did this throughout my pregnancy and even now on the days I'm in the office I still use that same album and shawl when I need a quick snooze.
On my days off, I catch a nap with my daughter. The dishes, laundry, writing, and whatever else needs to be done can wait, especially when I'm feeling down and don't want to do any of those things anyways.

2. Bath- Whether I'm tired or wired, a bath seems to always get me into whatever mood desired; even a 10 minute hot soak will do the trick. I've even taken them while my daughter is up and I don't have any childcare. Essential oils and sea salts are the key. Lavender is my #1 go-to oil because of it's balancing properties. If I need to get going it will energize, while most of the time I need to relax the aroma will calm my nerves.

For an energizing bath, I'll add 5-10 drops of tangerine. For deep relaxation, 5-10 drops of camomile. Both in addition to the lavender. If I'm congested, 5-10 drops of eucalyptus will clear out my sinuses so I can breath the rest of the night.
For me bath time is my "me time," quiet time, and mediation time all in one. If I really want to get crazy, I'll light some candles and pour myself a glass of wine, but most of the time just having those 10-15 minutes to myself so I could find my center make the world of difference in my day.

3. Talk to a friend- I have at least 3 friends I know I can call any time and they will be there to listen to me. Sometimes just talking to someone seems to lighten my load or release the pressure I'm feeling. Of course, I'm not going to call my friends and burn them out with my problems every day- I have a wonderful therapist for that, but sometimes you just need to talk to someone who loves you and will listen without judgement. Two of these women are mothers and totally get it. I love that I have them in my corner rooting for me. The other one is will so be a mommy and I'm going to be there to return the favor. :)

4. Yoga- This is my favorite form of exercise. I do yoga stretches everyday, because if I don't, I'll be stiff and achy thanks to fibromyalgia. But if I'm really in a funk going to an hour yoga class at my gym works wonders on my body, mind, and spirit as the poses connect the three and help me find my center. Unfortunately I'm not able to always go to my class, so I improvise at home instead. Even 15 minutes of sun salutes give me the energy and calmness I need to get through my day.

5. Nature- Long before I got knocked up and had a baby, hiking in the mountains or taking a long
walk on the beach were my depression therapy. When I was nineteen I was diagnosed with seasonal affect disorder, a winter depression. I used to go to tanning beds in the cold months, until I go a job for a dermatologist...
When I moved to Portland the depression got worse, until one winter I said screw it to the rain and bought a good waterproof jacket. I hit the trails every week and guess what? That pretty much took care of the depression. Hiking in the rain gave me so much inspiration for my fiction novels and motivated me to write. There's something about connecting with Mother Nature that seems to energize, calm, and heal any emotional issues I may be dealing with at the time. Now that I'm a mom, spending time with the Mother is even more vital for my sanity. Like with the previous busters, I only need 15 minutes to feel the positive effects. Lucky for me I live in the Pacific Northwest where nature is right outside my front door.

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