Tired, Depressed, or Both?
The holidays are over, you did everything you had to do for everyone else, so what about you? Why is it that we always put ourselves so far down on the “list” that we never get to us? This is a problem that many people suffer from, and bottling up the emotions does not make them go away.
Although many of us feel as if we are invincible and can do it all, we are not and cannot. Plummeting emotionally after the holidays is a common malady that we experience. Sometimes we try to write it off as just being tired, but the fact is, you may be depressed.
Depression is not black or white. There is a wide spectrum with an equally vast amount of ways to counteract it. The first step is, to be honest with yourself and identify the problem. Then, come up with ways you may need to try to get back on a positive track. Just like a physical condition, intervening earlier rather than later results in a speedier recovery.
Once you have admitted to yourself that you are not at the top of your game, it should be easy to list things that are a bit “off”. Some signs may be trouble getting back to your normal activities, poor eating habits, social isolation, procrastinating getting out of bed, and trouble sleeping, to name just a few.
You may also have trouble getting back to your regular schedule. Try making a commitment for two weeks to follow a strict schedule. This schedule should include when you wake up and when you go to bed, some form of exercise, even if it is just a walk around the neighborhood, homemade, healthy meals, and time for relaxation and socialization with friends. The first few days you may find it difficult to follow the schedule, but stick to it and you may be surprised by the end of the two weeks.
Lack of sleep seems to be the overwhelming cause of most secondary issues. If you are not getting enough sleep, it is probably affecting every part of your life. Sleeping is a habit. A lot of people stay awake watching television, playing on their devices, or doing tasks until they feel tired. The fact is, you need to retrain yourself to sleep. Set a reasonable time to go to bed. Turn off the television and put down your devices a good 30 minutes before bedtime. Put on your cozy pj’s and snuggle into a comfortable bed. It may take up to a week before you actually begin to fall asleep within a short time frame. Turn your clock around so you can’t watch the time and try to clear your mind of the craziness and focus on calm relaxing thoughts. Once your body realizes that this is a pattern, you should be able to fall asleep quickly and hopefully, stay asleep for the night.
Finally, find some ways to care for yourself. You are worth it. It may seem selfless to always be doing for others - but you can’t continue to do for others and let your own well being go. Find the time in your schedule to do some feel-good activities. Maybe a long bubble bath with your favorite music playing is your thing, or reading a good book in a quiet place with a yummy glass of wine, or perhaps booking, and looking forward to, a weekly massage takes you to that zen place. Whatever it is - do it.
Please keep in mind, that some short term depression is normal and can be handled by making some lifestyle changes. Depression can also be a very serious mental illness and must be addressed by professionals. If you don’t seem to be able to get back on track in a somewhat short period of time, please seek out those that can help you.