When I think of depression, I see it as a murky moat around the castle of joy that is your life.
When you’re experiencing depression, you’re outside the castle. You’re an outlier, detached from your joy, standing on the other side of the moat. The drawbridge is up. You can see lights on in the castle and hear children playing and wafts of laughter. Nevertheless, no matter how much you want to be inside the castle, you can’t figure out how to get there. You feel exiled, unable to move, and hesitant to act. Your castle of joy feels far, far away.
Why are so many people experiencing depression?
The drug industry claims that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. But is that true?
Psychologists maintain that the causes of depression are unknown.
The antidepressant drug industry is driven by multibillion-dollar sales each year. Since 2008, depression has been on the rise.
What’s going on here?
In a nutshell: Drug companies are treating the symptoms, not the person.
As a Certified Holistic Health Consultant, my point of view is from a whole-person perspective. I don’t just look at the symptoms. I look at the person.
There are natural ways of dealing with depression. And one of the most inexpensive, and readily available means to ease depression is through sleep.
I’ll talk more about that later.
For now, let me ask:
Are you feeling sad or depressed?
We all feel sad, from time to time. Feeling sad is a normal part of life and living.
However, if you’re experiencing persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, and disinterest in things you once enjoyed, this is not normal.
Depression impacts you and everyone around you.
Whether you observe depression in others or know this about yourself, depression is
· Depression affects your ability to make affirmative, healthy decisions. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little or big decision.
· It negatively affects all your relationships, professional and personal.
· Depression affects your ability to love yourself. How can you love yourself when you’re in an emotional, mental and physical funk?
· It slows or impedes your ability to maintain healthy habits.
Depression is insidious and keeps you from experiencing joy.
Castle of Joy
If you’ve been experiencing depression, I have great news for you.
Today, I’m lowering that drawbridge.
I’ll help you cross over the moat and enter your castle of joy. I’ll show you how to interact with the world better; how to be clear-headed when making decisions; and start you on your way to incorporating healthy habits back into your life.
Here’s what you need to know: No matter how you’re feeling now, you deserve joy.
Let’s get started lowering the drawbridge!
Three Things You Can Do to Lower Your Drawbridge
Let’s face it: You can’t afford to allow depression to sabotage your professional and personal efforts.
Yet, it does.
According to the National Sleep Foundation: “The relationship between sleep and depressive illness is complex – depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders.”
So, the first thing to do is pay attention to your sleep, get it regulated and under control.
Follow these three tips to ease depression:
1. The most important thing is to make sleep a priority.
Because chronic stress elevates your cortisol levels. And since cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, when your cortisol levels are bumped up, day after day, your adrenal glands eventually poop-out. This is called Adrenal Fatigue.
Lack of sleep causes hormonal imbalances that affect brain activity and physiological responses.
Cortisol production should gradually decrease through the day until it reaches its lowest levels late in the evening when you’re ready for bed. However, if your cortisol levels don’t decrease in the evening because you’re stressed, this leads to you feeling more awake and energetic in the evening and less ready to go to sleep.
When cortisol production doesn’t get shut off, it leads to serious sleep issues. And when cortisol remains elevated, your body receives an energizing signal that makes it difficult to relax and fall asleep. Instead, you’ll be energized to get lots done.
There are supplements that help reduce cortisol levels and enable you to sleep better. Supplements vary for each person and depend on other health factors. Excellent choices are:
· Valerian root.
· Magnolia bark.
Take away: Make an agreement with yourself to make sleep a priority, no matter what.
2. One hour before bedtime, begin powering down. You can program your smartphone to alert you, get Alexia to set an alarm, or even set the good ole alarm clock to notify you when it’s one hour before bedtime.
When the alert, alarm, or notification goes off, that’s the cue for your body and mind to begin to wind down.
Just like when you were a child, you’ll create for yourself a bedtime ritual that is soothing, peaceful, and nourishing. You can do that by:
· Quieting your mind with meditation.
· Using relaxing scents in your room.
· Sipping comforting tea.
Take away: Honor the bedtime ritual.
3. Balance your body with healthy eating throughout the day.
I cannot say it enough: Good sleep begins with the first meal of the day.
In order to get a good night’s sleep, consume protein first thing in the morning.
Eating protein for breakfast or having a protein smoothie in the morning sets your body up for a restful sleep in the evening by balancing blood sugar levels.
Next, stop eating carbohydrates three-to-five hours before you go to bed.
Since carbohydrates cause your blood sugar to spike, if you eat carbs right before bed you’ll experience low blood sugar during your sleep cycle and that may cause you to get up and eat. Not only will that cause you to gain weight, it throws you out of the deeper sleep that is so needed.
Choose snacks before bed that ‘relax’ the body rather than stimulate it such as:
· A banana protein smoothie made with nut milk, whey or pea protein.
· A bowl of Kiwi.
· Peanut Butter on a spoon.
· Walnuts and Almonds.
· Sugar-free, organic yogurt or Greek yogurt with flaxseeds and oats.
Take away: Sleeping well requires that your body have the right mix of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, hormones, and neurochemicals.
So, before you go the traditional route and start taking prescription antidepressants or, if you’ve been prescribed antidepressants and aren’t seeing the results you expect, know that there are natural health and healing alternatives to ease depression. And one of the best ways is through sleep.
If you are struggling with depression and don’t know where to turn, Certified Holistic Health Consultants are here to help. They treat people, not just symptoms.
I’ll end with this:
A client of mine who suffered from periodic depression agreed to implement these natural health and healing steps so that she could experience more joy in her life. Several months later she found her professional purpose in life and became engaged to be married. I asked her how she was doing with her sleep cycle and she replied, “I depend on it. I have too many wonderful goals in life now. I want my happy goals, so I make sleep my priority."
My client deserved joy. So do you. You deserve all the joy that life and living have to offer.
In order to live fully in your castle of joy, you must first love yourself. Love yourself enough to give your body this time to rest. The drawbridge is down. Come in and enjoy your castle of joy!
Nicole Dennison is a Certified Holistic Health Consultant providing education, guidance, and mentoring primarily to women ready to holistically heal their body and emotions. If learning about natural and healing alternatives to ease depression is important to you, visit: http://nicoledennison.com/3-days-vibrant-health/ Sign up for her FREE video course, “Three Days to Your Vibrant Health.”