In these days of COVID-19, we all face a daily inner battle: we face many fears, doubts, and questions. Some days, our energy is very high while other days, for many people, it feels impossible to get out of bed.
Fatigue and depression can be an important mountain for us to climb every day.
Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Here are few key facts about depression from the World Health Organization:
- More than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
- Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
- More women are affected by depression than men.
- Depression can lead to suicide.
- There are effective psychological and pharmacological treatments for moderate and severe depression.
How do you deal with these difficult emotions? How can you move forward if the only thing you can think of is collapsing into bed?
While we recommend seeking professional medical help to support you in addressing the underlying issues and, sometimes, chemical causes of depression, we strongly believe in the power of self-help.
5 things you can do right now
There are many little things you can do to support yourself when you are going through depression, while at the same time, seeking professional medical support. On top of regular physical activity and a healthy diet, which are the best tools to support your body, here are 5 little things you can do right now.
Breathing is intimately connected with life functions. In ancient eastern philosophies, the act of breathing is an essential aspect of meditative practices, and is considered a crucial factor for reaching the meditative state of consciousness.
The breath is often called “Prana,” which means both “breath” and “energy”. There are many breathing techniques in yoga traditions. A simple one requires you to breathe with your belly, count to six while inhaling, pause, exhale and count to six, pause – repeat at least 20-30 times.
2) Connect with your 5 senses:
One of the simplest ways to practice mindfulness and calm your mind is to connect with one or more of your 5 senses. How? Here are a few simple steps:
- Touch: Notice the sense of touch, for example, by noticing how the part of your body in contact with the bed, sofa or chair feels; or maybe you can feel the soft touch of the wind on your skin; or you might notice the temperature of different parts of your body and observe how they pulse in sync with your heart beat.
- Sight: Notice 3 objects around you. Slow down to observe the details, the colors, the materials. Notice the emotions you feel by observing them.
- Sound: Notice at least five different sounds. Some of them might be close to you, others can be far. Notice the distance of each one. It could be the sound of your heart beat or your breathing. It could be the sound of the birds or traffic outside your window.
- Smell: Repeat the same process again but with three different scents. Notice the differences and how they impact your emotions. Some scents may bring up some memories. Let them surface, and just observe what’s showing up with no judgment.
- Taste: If you are having a meal or a drink, try the same process this time with three different tastes.
3) Set a time limit on self-pity
Sometimes, it may feel nearly impossible to get out of bed. Has this ever happened to you? What can we do to help ourselves in this situation?
First, recognize that it is totally fine to not feel good. It’s totally OK and also healthy to allow yourself to observe these emotions. The trick is to give yourself a time limit for staying down in the valley of despair.
Keep a watch close to your bed, and take a look at it from time to time. Now, decide how long you plan on staying in your dark place: it could be 30 minutes, or 2 hours, you decide: but when the time runs up, it’s important that you respect the time limit you set and the commitment of standing up.
4) 3 small actions everyday
An inch of action is worth a mile of intention, a famous quote goes.
Inch by inch, you’ll cover several feet, then many miles, without even realizing it.
- Start with one little act of love for yourself. It could be taking a shower, eating your favorite meal, or wearing your best clothes.
- Your next action could be to help someone. It turns out that an act of loving kindness to someone else is actually good for you. An act of kindness will produce endorphins, an amazing brain chemical that gets produced when you’re on a three-mile run.
- Lastly, consider making a little progress on your personal project. If you don’t have one, start a little one. It could be reconnecting with a friend, painting a picture, reading a book, or cooking your favorite meal. Reaching a goal makes you feel good about yourself and helps you develop self-esteem.
This is about changing your life, one inch at the time.
It is by doing that you can change your current situation. It requires only 3 inches a day.
5) Draw your daily energy graph:
Drawing your energy graph on a daily basis can help you spot the patterns that are getting your energy down. This exercise, coupled with a daily diary, is a great gym for your self awareness.
Here’s an example of my energy graph from yesterday:
I woke up, feeling rough, at 8AM. I did some pranic breathing, connected with my senses, gave myself 30 minutes in the valley of despair and stood up. I took care of myself by taking a shower, dressing elegantly and having a healthy breakfast. Then I helped my wife with her goal setting, that left me feeling good and her feeling grateful.
Moving on, I did some good productive work for a while, until I realized that I was not on track. I’m an achiever and when I don’t reach my goals, my energy levels drop, that’s one of my patterns.
When I realized this, I returned to my breathing. My energy returned to positive levels and I went to bed in a nice mood.
This method, repeated with discipline, helps me improve my daily energy trends and build awareness around what keeps my energy up, and what brings it down.
Depression is telling us something important – something that requires our immediate attention
All negative events contain a hidden lesson and a buried treasure. There is an important piece of information hidden for us, waiting to be discovered. It could be a fear we are not facing, a relationship we are not nurturing, a sabotaging voice that we are listening to too much.
Ask yourself: What is the hidden message? What needs my immediate attention?
Try these 5 tips for a week and observe how it impacts your life.
Keep a diary, be curious, make notes, and observe what happens without judgement.
Remember that you are not alone. Many people are around you, love you, and want to see you shine and be successful.
If you need an extra hand with this, Lea is here for you: book a free session today with us. We will help you to find the best strategies to rise and move forward!