Sometimes, putting one foot in front of the other can be a challenge. It is called depression and there are varying types of it.
Clinically, there are many types of depression. Major depressive disorder is one of the biggies. A lot of us experience dysthymia, which is a low-grade depression, allowing those who have it to be able to function in their lives. After giving birth to a child, a woman can experience post-partum depression. Another type of depression is seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which it is believed is related to changes in seasons and we can see a lot of this in the Okanagan, with our cloudy winters.
So – what to do? There are no magic solutions, but there are things you can do to help yourself to bump back into a happier state of mind. If you have a major depression and take meds, please stay on your meds and if they are not helping, make an appointment to see your physician to have an adjustment. You can also call a Crisis Line if you feel you have reached a point where you are thinking of suicide (1-888-353-2275).
If you feel you are sliding and fragmenting emotionally, try grounding yourself – in other words, bring yourself into the moment by doing the following: Look around you and name three things you see. Then, name three sounds you hear. Move three parts of your body – your ankle, fingers or arm. You could touch three things that are near you.
Google ‘grounding exercises’ and you’ll find a lot more of them.
Take yourself for a walk – if it is too cold outside, consider going to Kal Tire Place where you can walk from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (check the webpage).
Go to a card shop and read all the funny cards and laugh out loud. Laughter bumps up your endorphins (the feel-good neurotransmitter in your brain). You can fake laugh as your brain cannot differentiate between the real thing from the fake giggles.
Keep a ‘happy journal.’ Write down every single good thing you experience every day. We sometimes forget to notice. If you live in a warm home – that’s one. If you have food – that’s two. If you have friends or family – that’s three. If someone smiles at you – that’s four. If you laugh – that’s five. I think you get the idea.
Notice all the good stuff – it’s a powerful gift for the mind and will train your brain to see the positive.
Reach out to a friend to have a chat, volunteer at a non profit organization, bake cookies for your neighbour.
Then, start picking up little things whenever you go to the dollar store, or garage sales, or consignment stores. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Take them home and wrap them in Christmas paper (do it right away) and then put them in a box for next Christmas.
Next Christmas you can sit somewhere comfy with some yummy snacks and a favourite drink and open them. Lots of fun!
In the meantime, know that someone loves you, cares for you and hopes you have a pleasant Christmas. If you are a person who celebrates the ‘reason for the season,’ head to a church and spend time with like-minded people.
If not, remember it is just another day. This too shall pass. But you can enjoy some of the benefits that come with the holiday – fun movies, yummy treats, time with friends, and a celebration that comes with living in our beautiful valley.
Sending out my very best wishes to everyone. Please stay safe in your celebrations. Be gentle and kind with one another.
See you next year!
Carole Fawcett is a counsellor, hypnotherapist, freelance writer.