Most Americans deal with or will deal with depression and anxiety at some point in their lives. 40 million adults every year suffer from one or the other, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America – and that’s only what is reported!
While we always encourage that you seek help from a professional in our field when you feel your quality of life declining, there are also strategies you can employ right now to begin the healing process for yourself (and they cost little to nothing!)
1. Drink Water, A LOT of Water – yes yes, you’ve heard it before and maybe rolled your eyes and scrolled past. How could drinking a bland fluid help change anything except the color of your urine? You’d be amazed. Most of us walk around dehydrated and most of us have gotten so used to it that we accept the physical and psychological symptoms of it as NORMAL. Water is a huge fuel source for our mind and body – when you don’t have enough of it, your mind and body panic which, you guessed it, effects mood. It also negatively impacts concentration and creates fatigue. If you’re dealing with emotional stress from outside sources and your body and mind are freaking out because they don’t have basic fuel – that emotional stress will and do, only get worse! So drink up. Help your mind help itself.
2. Exercise – oh you KNEW it was coming didn’t you? First the water, NOW the exercise. Look, I’m not recommending you start doing CrossFit – though you could and it would be effective also. I’m really only recommending you take a walk once a day. Why? Anxiety is often the result of having a lot of physical/emotional energy all trapped up inside of us. Depression is often the result of feeling stuck or worthless. Physical exercise, even something as simple as a walk, allows you to release some of that pent up energy. It builds strength in your body which helps with the empowerment necessary to come out of depression and it also builds on mindfulness. Mindfulness might be the most powerful tool for helping you help yourself to overcome mental illness! Walking to some relaxing music is a great way to go or maybe listening to an audiobook!
3. Start or Continue to Build a Skillset in Something You’re Passionate About – Depression is a complex issue, stemming from many different places for many different people. But for many, Depression can be as simple as under-expression. Especially for adults. The older we get the more people around us encourage to put down our dreams and passions for the sake of our responsibilities. Our jobs, our children our credit score etc. become the sole targets of our time and energy. While it’s important to prioritize our responsibilities, it’s also our responsibility to take care of ourselves. To do things that nourish ourselves. There is, in my opinion, no better way to do this than to get good at something that brings you joy – and yes you DO have time for it. Skip an episode of your favorite show two to three times a week and get better at photography, dance or knitting or fill in the blank with your passion! It will be a fantastic outlet for your pain, tension, fear AND it will empower you and give you something to be really proud of in yourself!
And that’s that! You have literally nothing to lose by trying these out. Do yourself a favor and try to follow through on these for two weeks – even journal your results and see what happens! You might be very pleasantly surprised.