My biggest encouragement to others is GET MOVING!!! The mind and body benefit so much when you do, so make a date with yourself and better yet, get at least two friends to buddy up with (this will make you more accountable and less likely to blow it off!).
Here are 5 things to avoid doing:
- Lack of exercise: Your body is made to move. Research shows that the anti-depressant effects of exercise are so strong that not exercising is like TAKING A DEPPRESSANT. Research also shows that being sedentary for more than 30 minutes begins to make the brain less efficient and increases the release of cortisol (hormone for stress) in your body. Not exercising puts you into a vicious spiral. Since your body isn’t moving it has less energy, since it has less energy it’s harder to get yourself to move, which gives you even less energy. Taking the stairs, parking farther away, walking the dog…you don’t have to join a gym to be active. Choose to be active!
- Avoidance: People experiencing depression are more likely to avoid behavior to change things, thus they procrastinate. Their mind chatter convinces them out of it. “Why bother going to that event tonight. No one is going to talk to you. You’re going to have a miserable time,” says the brain, and the depressed person buys into the excuse. Encourage yourself to step out of your comfort zone with the desire to learn and grow. This will be challenging in the beginning but once there, you’ll most likely be happy you attended.
- Social isolation: Less “tech” more “connect”! Nurture the relationships you currently have. We are social creatures. Our primitive brain gets confused and often depressed when we don’t spend enough time with people or feel we don’t have close bonds to others that we can turn to for support. Make authentic connections with people a priority. Meet new people.
- Lacking creative expression: Humans have an innate drive to use their creativity. It often gets stifled in the world of to-do lists, families, internet and other distractions. One way of describing depression is that it is a form of learned helplessness, learning that nothing you do matters. When you are using your creativity, making or doing things in the world, it is harder to feel that like nothing you do matters. You become inspired and will have a sense of accomplishment. Perhaps it might be art, writing, cooking, gardening, dancing, whatever, simply use your creativity, let the kid in you come out and have some fun with it!
- Junk food and drinks: The food industry does not have your health or best interests in mind. They simply want to sell more product. Cheap fast foods are low in nutrition and high in calories. They don’t fill you up so you continue to eat more and more and thus we have a society that suffers from being over-weight and under-nourished. With less nutrition in our body, we have less energy, and the cycle begins. The best advice I can give others is to be aware of your daily food choices. Journal everything you eat and the time you eat. Not the patterns. Then, look at ways to tweak the patterns. If you simply start replacing the caffeine with water, you’ll see a boost in your energy (those caffeine jolts are temporary folks), mental clarity and probably notice some weight loss (that sugar not only adds on pounds but greatly impacts your blood sugar levels). Baby steps…be aware and then make small adjustments each week. TCOY!
REWARD YOURSELF FOR YOUR GOOD CHOICES!!!!