Warning: naughty language ahead.
We all go through down days when even a good downward dog, some sunshine or blue skies won’t take our blue mood away.
Those are the days we want to crawl back into bed—if we’ve even managed to get out from under the covers—and plant ourselves there until our Mr. Sad Heart leaves.
And once in a while this is okay!
Sometimes, life situations are shitty enough to warrant this. Like if our dearest pet passes on or if we have a falling out with our BFF, or if we’ve been canned from a job we didn’t really like anyway, or when we step on the scale after working our butts off in our circuit works class only to see the number going the wrong way, (damn it).
Then, yes, take a lazy, me, nothing-productive-required day. (Singular.)
I’ve had a few of those kinds of days while I’ve struggled with being a reclusive writer and with the symptoms of hypothyroidism: weight gain, hair loss, lack of energy, mild but constant anxiety, waking up feeling lost and/or hopeless, along with several of the other shitty symptoms that accompany my thyroid dysfunction.
When Mr. Sad Heart takes over our lives for no good reason or worse, there’s a constant feeling of emptiness, then Mr. Depression may be squatting in residence, and that dude can be a quiet, sneaky, stealthy fucker.
Sometimes, serious depression is obvious.
For a time (thankfully, a long time ago now), while I was working my way through my unpacked luggage of childhood trauma, and before I got to the freedom in forgiveness, I was mired in the relentless, debilitating emotion. I had suicidal thoughts, constant despair, complete hopelessness and what’s-the-point thinking all the time.
Finally, someone who loved me and saw through my false front of “I’m okay” intervened and I got help. I was well past a do-it-myself plan and anti-depressants saved me. Fortunately, it was a temporary measure that worked.
Whether we have a thyroid issue, some other health issue, unresolved emotional luggage or have simply gone through a hell-of-a-lot for too damn long, there are some non-medication, natural things we can do to try to mitigate this depression monster.
If doing these 10 things don’t provide a pick-me-up, it may be time to get professional help:
Exercising releases those feel good-get-happy hormones: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Can’t imagine the thought of a whole cardio class? Do a simple 15 minute home routine today.
2. Sleep it off.
But not for days on end. If you’re wiped by 3:00 p.m. try a power nap. Not possible? Go to bed a little earlier. Soothing music might help.
3. Reduce the Commute.
Move closer to our day job or ask to change the hours so we can leave earlier/later to avoid the worst of traffic. If none of this is possible, at least listen to tunes that spark our spirit.
4. Friends and family.
Pick the ones who pick you up. Spending time with our special circle boosts our emotional immune system.
5. Get out!
No really, get out, as in outside. Rain or shine, fresh air, deep breathing and nature are a self-nurture necessity. The grass is greener when you’re actually on it, instead of carpet/concrete/corporate flooring.
Even if it’s kind of a sucky smile, giving someone else a sincere if wimpy effort connects us and our neurons respond and we might get a warm-hug-crinkley-eyes-smile back. Bonus: when we smile at those who probably rarely get one like the mangy-haired home-lacking dude.
7. Helping You Helps Me!
When we genuinely give of ourselves to others those same feel good-get-happy hormones kick in. Plus, it often kicks in for the other person, too!
Hey, if you’re not a sit-cross-legged-humming-OM kind of person, there are plenty of other things to do: gardening, crafting, wood-working, washing dishes (seriously), baking—though beware of too many sweet treats!
9. Get Grateful!
There is always something to be thankful for. Write out a list of everything and everyone we have that make us feel lucky to be alive. Refer back as necessary.
10. Take a Work Break.
If we simply can’t afford a holiday or weekend away, then at we can leave work at work and take a stroll on our break instead of standing around the water cooler or hiding in our cubicle.
Bonus: Here’s my 30 Day Dump the Dude Cleanse, which is really an empowerment program for anyone. (Men: no obligation to do the bubble bath thing, but know we’ll love you more if you do.)
If none of these work or if we can’t even rile up the effort to try some of them, then I say let us give ourselves permission to please seek out a shrink. And there’s no shame in traditional meds if that’s what makes us get out of bed!
As for me, Mr. Depression sometimes knocks at my door, but now I don’t answer.
As for Mr. Sad Heart, well, sometimes we have a visit but I know when it’s time to shuffle him out the Exit Only Please with my double punch prescription plan: follow the list of 10 above plus take the natural supplements specifically for my thyroid condition.
I’ve managed to avoid traditional prescription drugs. Some days are better than others, and I find that the more I (force myself to) do what’s on this list, the fewer days I can be found hiding under the sheets with Mr. Sad Heart and the more days I’m rewarded with moments of joy and even bliss. Yay!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Janell Gable/Pixoto