If you follow me on social media, you will know that I have been battling depression and anxiety for over a year, after my husband left for deployment. He is since home, and things are better- however, depression and anxiety are things that I will be battling for some time.
I thought that I would share some ways to help you combat these, in case there is someone else that is battling these that I might be able to help.
1. Exercise-The very best thing you can do for yourself is to get up and start moving. This does not mean just running errands with your kids. This means taking at least 30 minutes for yourself to exercise without distraction. The movement helps to get the anxiousness physically out of your body, while at the same time suppressing stress hormones and releasing feel good hormones and natural pain killers. Remember the scene in “Legally Blonde?”
If you need help with workouts that can even be done at home, I can help!
2. Meditation- Constant thoughts of the past and worry of the future are the base of anxiety, which is why clearing your mind through meditation can be so effective. There are plenty of apps you can download that can help guide you- most of them for free.
3. Yoga- Also considered a type of meditation, focusing on your breath with movement helps to relax tense muscles and clear your head through the mind-body connection. It help you to think about something else instead of worrying about the cause of your anxiety. Taking a deep breath also allows more oxygen into your body and to your brain to allow you to think more clear. There are also apps for free to practice deep breathing. You can use them to practice or even in the moment of anxiety where it is really needed.
4. Make plans- The worst thing you can do is sit at home by yourself thinking about how depressed you are or going over and over something in your head. Get out and call a friend for coffee, head to the mall to window shop, meet up with friends for brunch, whatever it is you like to do to, to just get out of the house.
5. Watch your favorite show- Reality TV gets a bad wrap for being brainless and mind numbingly dumb, but sometimes you just don’t want to think, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to sit back and binge watch your favorite show to get lost in the lives of your favorite characters.
6. Eat healthy- Many people will turn to unhealthy comfort food when they are feeling down or anxious. Think about your future self and how much worse you will feel after inhaling a pint of ice cream or pizza. When we focus on eating healthy foods, or bodies are better able to handle stress and stay on on even keel without the sugar highs and crashes- coupled with the guilt of having indulged in an entire bowl of raw cookie dough.
7. Avoid binge drinking- A glass of wine or two a day is considered to be heart healthy. However, many people turn to excessive alcohol intake to “numb feelings” or to be able to sleep. This will make you feel a thousand times worse the next day for a few reasons. One, alcohol is a depressant in itself and will make you feel more depressed. Two, when you drink alcohol before bed it disturbs deep REM sleep, and you will wake up less rested and more anxious the next morning regardless of how many hours you spent in bed. Three, alcohol will dehydrate you, so you wake up in the morning feeling thirsty with a headache.
Sometimes we still need extra help, even after taking these self care tips. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from a doctor or family. Please don’t suffer in silence.