Do you ever have days where you feel demotivated and overwhelmed by simple tasks?
Do you ever feel exhausted even though you really haven’t done anything?
Do you ever feel super emotional for no real reason and feel like EVERYTHING is a big deal?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be experiencing occasional acute bouts of depression (I call it "a FUNK")!
While some people suffer from chronic forms of depression which may require medical intervention, every single human on this planet will find themselves in a FUNK from time to time!
What causes acute bouts of depression?
While a wide variety of situations can trigger temporary bout of depression (including but not limited to work stress, relationship stress, lack of sleep, too much artificial lighting, poor quality of food intake, PMS), feelings of depression are caused by a decrease in serotonin and/or dopamine, often coupled with (or caused by) an increase in stress hormones!
What can you do to pull out of it?
While medication may be a necessary tool for those dealing with chronic forms of depression, most people can actually pull out of a depressive state utilizing one or more of the 5 steps listed below… medication free!
5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PULL OUT OF YOUR FUNK:
1. EAT- feeling *blah*? What did you eat today? Greasy food? Salty Carbs? Candy? Too much caffeine and not enough water?
Poor nutrition is one of the biggest contributors to feelings of depression! Greasy food can leave you feeling sluggish and lazy. Imbalanced blood sugar can leave you feeling exhausted and demotivated. Too much caffeine and not enough water can leave you feeling wired and cranky.
FIRST THING you should do when you are feeling depressed is upgrade your food quality and go have a glass of water. You will be so surprised by how much better you will feel when you have a portion of lean protein, some steamed veggies, and a nice filling serving of high fiber, nutrient dense, whole food carbs with a BIG OL’ glass of water. When your body is getting the nutrients and hydration it needs, you will feel so much better!
2. SLEEP- lack of sleep is one of the biggest contributors to feelings of depression due to the over stimulation of the adrenal glands! When you don’t get enough sleep, your adrenals pump stress hormones through your body in attempt to keep you awake throughout the day. When you add the normal stressors of your day into the mix, your adrenals kick into over drive. When your adrenals are used in excess, it often creates an equal and opposite slump in your serotonin. In order to combat feelings of depression, go to bed early! Commit to getting 8+ hours of sleep when you are attempting to pull out of a depression slump!! (***PRO TIP: turn off your screens when the sun sets! Blue lighting is one of the biggest contributors to insomnia as it delays melatonin production, which is the hormone that tells your body to go to sleep! If you are feeling depressed, commit to reading a book after the sun goes down to allow for better melatonin production!***)
3. MOVE- The human body was built to MOVE!! In fact, the human body was built for manual labor!! If you are spending the majority of your day seated in front of a computer and not making an effort to simulate the manual labor our bodies were designed for, this can create an imbalance in your stress hormones vs. your feel good hormones!! If you are feeling depressed, exercise is one of the BEST things you can do to quickly change your mood!! Exercise pumps serotonin and endorphins through your body while simultaneously reducing stress hormones!!! It is one of the only things that you can do that will immediately improve your mood! So, if you are feeling depressed, go workout! Don’t over think it either!! Do SOMETHING to move your body… whatever sounds enjoyable!
4. BREATHE- one of my FAVORITE things to do when I am feeling depressed or anxious is to take a moment to breathe. This can be done in a variety of ways…. I personally rotate through all of these options!
Take a moment to breathe by sitting outside and taking deep breaths while you soak up some sun. Take a moment to breathe by lying on the floor and doing some stretching. Take a moment to breathe by hiding in your closet and turning on a guided meditation. Take a moment to breathe by taking a bath or shower and focusing “washing away” my negative emotions! Breathing deeply is proven to increase feel good hormones while decreasing stress hormones! It is a very simple and powerful tool to use to pull out of a depressive state!
5. TALK- Sometimes the best way to pull out of an acute bout of depression is to talk to someone. One symptom of low serotonin is getting stuck in raw, unprocessed emotions. When this is happening, it feels like you are stuck in a high emotional state and you just can’t seem to push it through the processor, so to speak, so it keeps coming up to make you more and more upset! Interestingly enough, the reason why you can’t process the raw emotions is because your serotonin is low… so it is often a problem that feeds into itself. One way to increase your serotonin is to process a stuck emotion… and the best way to do this when you are feeling depressed it to use an external sounding board! In other words, TALK TO SOMEONE. Just make sure when you are deciding who to talk to that this person is NEUTRAL to your situation, that this person won’t judge you for your emotional state, and this person won’t try to fix you or the situation. Make sure this person is just available to listen, and to ask thought provoking questions! It could be a professional, just a really good friend, or (shameless plug) your personal trainer so you can talk and work it out at the same time!!! Whoever you end up choosing, you will find that simply talking through your feelings will make you feel so much better!!
You don’t have to sit and wait for your depressive state to pass!! You can take action to improve your mood in a much shorter amount of time!!! Please reach out if you need help with anything, and be sure to seek out professional medical advice if these steps do not help improve your situation!!