If you’ve had a look at my about me page, then you’ll probably know that I suffer from depression. I can’t remember when it specifically started. I’ve definitely had it since my early teens and thinking back even before that. As a lot of sufferers know, it can go hand in hand with anxiety sometimes which I also suffer with. Which, as those who know who suffer with it can be a real pain in the bum! I always tented to manage it by myself as a rule with exercise being an absolute godsend for my symptoms. Until of course like a lot of you who do suffer with it know, if left untreated these conditions like many others can become worse over time. Mine got so bad one Winter I couldn’t get out of bed and my mum had to look after me. Since then I’ve tried a variety of things to try & manage them the best I can and by just making some minor changes you can help give yourself a bit of relief from these conditions.
Please note, I don’t claim to be an expert. Nor am I medically trained in any areas. But these are just things that have worked for me and if these things provide help or relief for someone, then it’s a blog worth doing.
- Green Tea
This has become one my must have items on my shopping list. The health benefits of Green Tea are outstanding. It’s one of the healthiest drinks you can get, is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients, has been clinically proven to do a variety of things such as improve brain function, increase fat burning, can help you lose weight and can actually make you live longer! Amazing, right? There are so many other amazing benefits to green tea. And one of them is that it can be good for anxiety & depression. It has something called L-theanine in which relaxes your mind and body. After a cup of green tea I feel less anxious, depressed & I have a clearer head. If you drink several cups a day you are supposed to really see the benefits, in all senses. I try to have 1 or 2 a day but am going to up my intake to see the benefits. I buy green tea with some sort of flavour in it like Jasmine or lemon so it tastes better. I couldn’t do without my green tea.
My God I can’t tell you how good exercise for my depression & anxiety has been over the years. I’ve always been a very active person either walking, dancing or going to the gym. And when I stop, boy does the old black cloud take it’s toll. Whenever I’m feeling low there’s nothing better than a good sesh at the gym or a dance class. If all else fails and you don’t have the time or money etc. a walk works wonders. And not only are you getting your body moving, the fresh air & sunlight really helps to make you feel better. Anyone have SAD syndrome? (Depression in the Winter due to lack of sunlight.) Yes, I suffer from that too. It’s amazing what a brisk walk outside can do for you. Get moving
3. See a doctor
After I had the episode one Winter of not being able to get out of bed, the doctor prescribed me with some antidepressants called Sertraline and they worked wonders for me. I know It’s not for everyone, and some people say that they didn’t get on with antidepressants at all, but it really helped A LOT. I was lucky that I had a good doctor. So, I went to see her and she put me on what she felt would be the best ones for me. She was right. Another option? Talk therapy. Therapy or counselling is not something I’ve looked in to before for some reason, but recently I thought I’d explore this. I’m now on the waiting list for the mental health nurse at my doctors and am due to see them in the next few weeks so it will be interesting to see what happens. I have spoken to many people who have concluded that talk therapy has really helped them.
4. Camomile Tea
Another good herbal tea for anxiety and depression – Chamomile. Recent clinical and laboratory research has shown that it can significantly reduce anxiety and even fight depression. It is incredibly relaxing and also perfect before bedtime. I regularly take a cup up with me to help relax & calm me before bed and it helps me drift off to sleep a bit better too.
5. Grounding technique
Those who have anxiety will have had at some point experienced an anxiety attack. I have these sometimes, they’re not in the form of a panic attack which I have also had a couple of in the past and they are awful, but I can feel fearful, apprehensive, tense, have heart palpitations & dizziness. Something which I heard of recently was a grounding technique. The technique works by taking the focus off your anxious feelings and causing you to focus on your surroundings instead. It takes your mind away from the feelings of being anxious & uneasy and helps you to come back to reality and focus. To do the grounding technique you name 5 things you can see, 5 things you can hear, 5 things you can feel, 5 things you can smell & if you can 5 things you can taste. I was so surprised to find that this really works for me and I’ve used this multiple times to calm down & come back to reality.
6. Keep Yourself Busy
One of the worst times my anxiety & depression kicks in is on my days/time off. When I’m doing nothing, that’s when it can creep up and take over. Hard not to just sit still, chill out & do nothing sometimes when you’ve been working so hard and been so busy, but sitting around doing nothing for too long can be a sufferer’s worst nightmare. Going back even to when I was at school I remember falling in to the grips of depression in the school holidays as I didn’t have routine and wasn’t doing as much activity. It can be vicious cycle/trap if you don’t learn to try and get a grip on it as best you can. Even if you do want to relax and just forget all responsibilities for one day, do something. Wash the pots, pop to the shops, tidy some things up, rearrange your wardrobe. If you keep yourself busy like these activities, you are doing something which will have a positive effect on your mind, body & wellbeing. Hey, It’s not the same as going at it full guns a blazing on a treadmill but trust me It will help.
Listening to music, reading, watching some TV or a film & writing are all distractions. Distractions take your mind off your anxiety which will make you feel less stressed, anxious & happier. Things that I regularly like to do are listening to music, watching a good film or programme & experimenting with makeup. It’s things that I enjoy and it takes my mind of the anxiety. I have recently decided to try some art journaling and revisit my arty side which I did well at and enjoyed at school. Art Journaling is a journal in which you combine art and words to express yourself. You can put down your thoughts, memories and emotions through images, art & words and some people say that they find it very therapeutic and good for stress. Distraction is a great tool for anxiety.
8. Bubble Baths
One of the great pleasures in life for me is a bubble bath. I take more baths then I shower as I love them so much. A few moments of sitting in the bath and all your troubles melt away. Super relaxing, calming, indulging without the spa budget and they’re great for sore muscles too. I always feel less anxious and relaxed after a bath and look forward to my bath time EVERY time. It works wonders for my anxiety and there are also products available such as bath oils, bath salts and bath & shower gels that have certain ingredients that can help aid your relaxation experience. My personal favourite is a Radox bath or a Lush bath bomb. You can’t go wrong.
9. Get a cat
I remember going through a stressful time in an old job. I was plugging away for something else but in the meantime had to endure the stress that came with it as I needed the money. I used to come home hating every inch of working in that job and used to sometimes flop on the sofa and stroke my cat. My anxiety was bad at the time and I remember after stroking her for a while my anxiety went away. They are also associated with emotional support and are supposed to have healing powers. Purring alone has been proven to be medically therapeutic for lowering stress, pain, blood pressure and can even help heal broken bones from the hertz frequency of their purrs. Crazy huh? They reduce stress, boost your mood, get you more active & give unconditional love. In fact cats, dogs and other animals are regularly used a therapy pets and have multiple therapeutic and calming benefits. I find my cat Snowball very comforting & therapeutic. And even my boyfriend who is a stress head agrees!