Do you work yourself into depression?

We all have ‘down days’ now and then. In most cases, these moments are not diagnosed as an illness requiring medication. And yet, during these times we can’t shake our sense of doom and fatigue. We slog through each day feeling like we carry a hundred pounds on every limb.

In the medical world, we talk about two different types of depression: exhaustion depression, and endogenous depression. It’s clear from the name how the first comes about. But the second is tricky — nobody knows where it comes from. It’s just there.

Have you ever studied for an exam or put so much into a project that you neglected all your needs? You know what it feels like to be bone-deep tired after the exam or the deadline or whatever endeavor just sucked you dry. Instead of feeling elated, successful and free, you fall into a deep hole. Life is grey. You can’t sleep, or you sleep but don’t feel refreshed. Inside you are numb. Anxiety might raise its ugly head with panic attacks. The connection to your core is lost – at least for now.

To address exhaustion depression: Step up your self-care. No matter what you think, it’s not selfish, it’s necessary. I heard a friend say that once she had started taking care of herself properly, it was like her self-care rituals took on a life of their own; she craved more and more of them. This is actually a sign of how badly she had neglected herself.

In order to feel at peace again you need to re-establish your connection to your inside, to your core. You could write morning pages: a free flow of writing to fill a few pages first thing upon waking. I often recommend sitting still for five minutes and breathing deeply into your belly. This also helps with anxiety, even if you meditate for only a few minutes a day.

Nature has a way to bring our whole being back into balance and harmony — go out for a walk twice daily to reconnect with nature. Enjoy a relaxing massage, or create your own massage oil out of a drop of an essential oil you love mixed with almond oil and massage yourself.

While these are all little things, we forget the comfort they bring. Fight exhaustion by being kind to yourself. Try some of these for a few days in a row, and see how you feel. Ah, and definitely keep your online and TV time to a minimum while you re-energize.

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