5 Tips for Survival When Depression Creeps Up on You

5 Tips for Survival When Depression Creeps Up on You

5 Tips for Survival When Depression Creeps Up on You

Let’s just get the inevitable out of the way, I have depression. I think I’ve probably had it since I hit puberty at the ripe age of ten. It wasn’t diagnosed until my oldest boy was four months old but looking back I can see how kind of out of control I was emotionally. I am on medication and this post isn’t about me trying to get off of medication. I spent 16 years of my life being depressed and not medicated and I’m never going back there again. Living with depression is all part of a puzzle and so much of it means being in tune with yourself. For me, the months of February through April are the roughest. I live in Minnesota so the long, dark days, cold weather and lack of getting outside makes me prone to depression. I’m married to an accountant and this is by far the worst time of year for him and our family. Those contributing factors alone can create a huge mess for me if I’m not paying attention to how I’m feeling. How do I combat depression when it seems to be creeping up on me?

Five Tips to Survival When Depression Creeps Up On You.

Move Your Body

As much as I’d love to tell you that this isn’t an essential part of combating depression, that’s just not the truth. I have been working out, early in the morning every day since November of 2016. When I miss a day I can tell; I feel sluggish, lonely, and tired. Working out not only naturally increases your body’s endorphins but it creates a “high” so to speak that’s similar to morphine. From WebMD,

Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life. 

I experience this more on the days that I don’t get my booty out of bed to workout. Let me be perfectly clear though, when I am struggling with my depression the last thing I want to do is get out of bed. It is physically, brain chemistry related, difficult for me to get up. I’d love to tell you that the reason why I get out of bed is because I’m just that dedicated but that’s not the truth. The reason I get out of bed is because I belong to a gym, a community, and people are expecting me to be there. When I’m not in full depression mode having a community who expects something from me is sometimes the only reason I get out of bed.

5 Tips of Survival When Depression Creeps Up on You
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

I’m not saying that you need to go balls to the wall and kill yourself doing an incredibly intense workout if that’s not what you’re used to doing or if it isn’t your jam. What I am saying is that you should move your body every day for at least thirty minutes. Go for a walk with a friend, go for a walk with your stroller, join a group fitness class, DO SOMETHING.

Communicate with someone whom you trust.

I truly believe that communication is the key to being happy. We were made to be in community with others; Adam was lonely so God created Eve. We need human interaction and there’s a reason why isolation is a form of severe punishment. Find someone you trust and tell them about your struggle. For me, my people are my sister, mom and husband, as they’re the people I’ve known the longest and with whom I trust wholeheartedly. Part of the problem when you’re depressed is your inability to reason, your brain simply (or complexly) cannot move that one completely irrational thought over to the other side so that the thought can be put through reasoning. This is where communication and your person come into play; you need someone that you’ll trust and listen to when the going gets tough and you need a little reasoning. The relationship has to be strong and one that you feel safe with that’s why my people are my family.

Five Tips to Survival When Depression Creeps Up On You.

Set a Daily Routine.

Keeping myself on task and busy with a purpose dramatically helps me manage my depression. When I’m not busy I tend to become apathetic about life – the dishes pile up in the kitchen sink, there are mountains of laundry everywhere, the kids are pretty much feeding themselves, and I just lay around waiting for the night to come so I can just go to sleep. I’m not saying that the dishes piling up in the sink is always a sign that depression is looming around the corner, there are times when life happens and we’re just busy, the problem is when it becomes the norm and here’s the key: YOU DO NOT CARE. There’s a difference between not being able to keep up with part of your routine and feeling a little twinge of guilt because you’d like to still keep up with it and then there’s the other side of being apathetic. The problem happens when you become apathetic. Apathy means, “lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.”

Five Tips to Survival When Depression Creeps Up On You.

Fuel Your Body with Food

When I’m eating junk, guess what, I feel like junk. No really, I’m serious here. When I pig out on sugary treats (I’m not talking about one or two, I’m talking about binging) it messes with my attitude and outlook. I feel that sugar high and then the crash that comes afterwards. It’s not good to allow yourself to feel that rush because you can’t maintain it, right? You inevitably have to come off of that sugar high and that’s where problems arise for me. Again from WebMD, “Don’t rely on popular diets that cut out food groups and sharply restrict what you can eat. Just focus on the basics: watch your calories, eat lots of vegetables, whole grains, and fruits, and limit fat and sugar.” There is not a diet that can cure depression, some may say there is but nothing has been proven and my thought is that when it comes to brain chemistry you shouldn’t put yourself in a position to experiment without the help of a professional.

Five Tips to Survival When Depression Creeps Up On You.

Take Time to Relax

Resting is just as important as staying busy. It kind of forces you to decompress and take a little time for yourself. Sit down and read a book or read to your children if they’re home. Try to stay off of social media as it can sometimes be taxing mentally. Maybe get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Spend 15 minutes minimum daily, even multiple times a day, relaxing. Give yourself permission to not be everything for everybody 24/7.

Five Tips to Survival When Depression Creeps Up On You.

Now what?

If you are still unsure, please seek professional help. Maybe seek out a counselor or speak with your physician? If you have a faith talk with one of the leaders at your church. Whatever you do, do not just wait for it to pass by. Unfortunately with the depression, despite how you’re feeling, you have to be active in recovery and this means understanding how you tick. Like I said, it’s really the LAST thing you want to do but you have to stay on top of how you’re feeling.

5 Tips for Survival When Depression Creeps Up on You

 

 

10 Children’s Books for the Winter

 

Children's books about winterWe are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

The days are short, the weather is down right frigid, and it’s easy to let Old Man Winter get you down. Instead of grumbling about the ridiculous temps and seemingly endless snowfalls, this year I’m trying to focus on the wonder and beauty of winter. In that spirit, I have 10 children’s books about the winter to help you and your family embrace winter. Grab a warm beverage, pull up your public library’s online card catalog (or Amazon wish list), and let’s go!

10 Children’s Books about the Winter

Kitten’s Winter written and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes – When reading to the littlest of audiences, you know little ones who may seem more interested in chewing on rather than listening to a book, I find it helpful to have what I call “quick flips.” Quick flips are books with only a couple of words per page. A good quick flip will be satisfying for both the reader and the listener and Kitten’s Winter is a wonderful quick flip. The illustrations are engaging and the story, though simple, is compelling. It’s been a winter favorite of ours ever since my son was a baby.

children's books about the winter
“You’re such a little snowplow,” the big trucks said. “Leave the heavy lifting to us.” from The Little Snowplow

The Little Snowplow by Lora Koehler, illustrated by Jake Parker – What a heart warming story! The Little Snowplow is the children’s book cross between Rocky and the Little Engine That Could. Trust me, if you have a kid who loves trucks or like a story about a hard-working underdog you’ll want to add this book to your kiddo’s library.

Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner – “What do snowmen do at night?” This imaginative story depicts a fun-filled night had by a boy’s neighborhood snowmen. With lilting rhymes, Snowmen at Night is a prefect bedtime story, especially after a day of snowmen building.

The Snowy Day written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats This Caldecott Medal winning book is a classic that will make it’s way onto any snow or winter themed reading list for kids. In perfect simplicity, The Snowy Day depicts a little boy playing outside in the snow. I found myself snickering as a read this to my son because Keats’ has an uncanny way of capturing boyhood innocence on a snowy day.

Knitty Kitty by David Elliott – As I said in my round up of favorite children’s books for cat-lovers, Knitty Kitty is the purrrfect read aloud for chilly winter days when all you want to do is stay inside and be cozy.

children's books about the winter
“Aha! Oho! A track in the snow! Whose is this track and where does it go?” from the Gruffalo’s Child

The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson illustrated by Axel Scheffler – My family are huge Julia Donaldson fans. I love her clever writing and lilting rhymes. My kids love her books so much they have some of them almost memorized. The Gruffalo’s Child is a sequel to Donaldson’s The Gruffalo. In this story, the curious Gruffalo’s child follows tracks, claw marks, and foot prints in the snow in hopes that they will lead her to “the big bad mouse.” After reading this book be ready to put on your snow gear and go looking for footprints in your backyard!

Owl Moon written by Jane Yolen illustrated by John Schoenherr – With beautifully descriptive writing that perks one’s senses, Jane Yolen takes her readers out owling on a crisp moonlit winter night. Owl Moon is one of our favorites and is a Caldecott Medal winning book.

Winter Days in the Big Wood adapted from the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Renée Graef (inspired by Garth Williams original illustrations) – I remember reading Little House in the Big Woods in elementary school and reenacting the winter scenes during Christmas vacation at my Nana’s farm. My First Little House Books bring Laura Ingalls’ timeless writing to a whole new audience. Winter Days in the Big Wood is appropriate for emerging readers and the wonderful illustrations captivate even preschool kiddos.

children's books about the winter

Snow Music by Lynne Rae Perkins – Winter is truly a feast for the senses and Snow Music captures the aural and visual beauty of the season. It reads like a modern poem and scene by scene brings you into a crisp winter day.

The Missing Mitten Mystery written and illustrated by Steven Kellogg – How many mittens have your kids lost this winter? In The Missing Mitten Mystery Annie’s lost five so she goes on a journey to find her mitten. I love Kellogg’s colorful illustrations and imaginative storytelling.

Fox’s Dream by Tejima – I found this gem of a book in a box of my husband’s childhood picture books. It takes you through a winter night with a solitary fox. The illustrations are gorgeous and the end gives you hope for the spring.

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger – While this book is not specifically about winter as it takes place in the Arctic. It’s a wonderful story about being true to yourself, even if you march to the beat of a different drummer. The eccentric, yet lovable Tacky the Penguin will warm your hearts even on the coldest winter days.

Whether you’re trying to embrace winter or wanting to whisk your children away to the crisp wonder of a snowy scene, I hope you and your family enjoys these children’s books for the winter season.

children's books about the winter