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Am I Suffering From Depression?

Jan 20, 2017

This week brought us #BlueMonday.

According to the media, it’s the most depressing day of the year when the skies are dark and grey, Christmas and NYs celebrations are all wrapped up, we’re feeling low on motivation and many of us are still to receive our first paycheck of the year….

And whilst it’s wonderful that coverage like this helps raise general awareness of mental health issues like depression, it does trivialise depression to a certain degree.

So whenever we feel stressed, overwhelmed or even a bit sad, we panic and ask ourselves.. 'Am I suffering from depression?'.

But this is not necessarily the case.

Today I’m here to show you that your low mood, sadness, lack of enthusiasm, low energy or tears aren’t a worry sign that you’re suffering from depression, but rather a sign that you need to address an imbalance in your life. I’ll also show you exactly how you can go about doing this. Let’s find out more.

Why you're not necessarily suffering from depression…

Despite what you might have been lead to believe, no-one’s life is perfect.

No one goes around every day grinning from ear-to-ear and overflowing with happiness and contentment. If we did, we start to look a little strange, wouldn’t we?

Our emotions, both positive and negative, are part of the wonderful multicolour spectrum of life. They’re part of the human experience and without these moments we could never truly appreciate those shiny happy moments.

Those quieter moments when you feel sad, fearful, low, overwhelmed, upset, or even angry are perfectly normal.

Most importantly it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re suffering from depression, anxiety or stress. It’s far more likely to be a normal shift in your mood which you can lift with a few easy steps.

 

What triggers these low moods?

Your mood and emotions at any given time in the month can be affected a massive range of factors which might include:

Your hormonal balance

Changes in hormones are usually the prime trigger for low or rapidly changing moods. This might be because of your normal monthly hormonal fluctuations, PMT, the approach of the menopause, recovering from having a baby or other health issues.

Your life circumstances

Life happens. Both positive and negative events can shape the way you feel about life, yourself and the future. This might include divorce, bereavement, job loss, financial problems, relationship problems, and so on. These things can clearly all impact the way you feel at any given moment. You’re not superwoman, you’re not immune to these things. 

Your diet & lifestyle

Most of us don’t always practice excellent self-care. We try, but life gets busy and it stops feeling less important. But of course, if you’re not taking care of yourself then you’re bound to notice problems when it comes to your overall health, sleep patterns, mood and hormonal balance. It’s a vicious cycle which makes you feel even worse!

Eating junk food, skipping meals, not getting enough sleep, restricting your diet too much, drinking too much caffeine, taking drugs, overindulging in alcohol (yes, wine counts too!) all has an impact.

The seasons and/or a lack of natural light

Yes, the season plays a massive role in how we feel at any given time. We spend so much time inside, cramped in front of our computers and under artificial lights and starved of natural daylight so it’s no wonder we feel fed up. At this time of year when the skies are grey and it’s cold or rainy outside, it can be even worse!

 

7 Great Ways To Lift Your Mood 

OK, so we’ve looked at what can cause you to feel so fed up so now let’s think about how to help you feel better. Here are seven powerful ways you can lift that mood back up and start feeling better.

#1: Boost your nutrition

Your eating habits should be the first thing you tackle when you want to feel better, because it’s by far the easiest to change. Start eating more plants, include more healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds and coconut oil, include sources of omega 3s and try to cook from scratch more often.

#2: Clean up your lifestyle

It’s also a good idea to reduce or eliminate those foods and lifestyle habits which can have a negative impact upon your mood. Reduce your coffee intake, avoid alcohol or drink in moderation, ditch those fizzy drinks and also reduce the amount of processed sugar you’re eating.   

#3: Soothe your gut

The brain-gut connection is a strong one, so if you want to feel happier, give it some TLC. Start eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, tempeh or Kimchi…

#4: Get outside

It doesn’t matter what the weather is going- wrap up warm, take an umbrella and get outside. Fresh air, natural sunlight and green time will increase your serotonin levels, make you feel great, connected to the world and not so locked away inside.

#5: Listen to music!!

It’s time to dig out your old CDs, cassettes or even records (depending on your age!) and dance around in your living room! Music makes us feel great, but we often forget to listen as often once we leave our twenties. Even better if you can sing along at the top of your lungs!

#6: Do more of what you love

Start making ‘me’ time a priority in your day, and then fill it with things you love to do for an ultimate mood boost! This might mean taking long leisurely soaks in the bath, practicing yoga, reading, knitting, sewing, Sudoku, salsa dancing, learning Spanish, whatever!!

#7: Consider therapy

Sometimes changing your diet and lifestyle habits just aren’t enough and there are issues and troubles that need an extra helping hand to overcome. Don’t be afraid to seek therapy- I can help you through any deeper issues you might have. Contact me.
 

Don’t panic if you’re not feeling your usual happy self, or life feels like it’s getting on top of you. This doesn’t mean you're suffering from depression or that you need to start taking medication, but more that there is an imbalance in your life you need to address.

Start by following the tips I’ve shared- clean up your diet, quit the bad habits, get some fresh air, claim some ‘me’ time, and do more of what you love to feel better. Of course, if things are more serious and your struggles are greater or you’re considering suicide, please do get help.

 

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