The geese and ducks are starting to go south, and if you battle seasonal depression like I do...so is everything else. Actually, depression is a condition I manage on an ongoing basis--but winter makes it worse. So every fall I gear up for the winter by reviewing my mental health checklist, and especially by turning on my light therapy lamp.
That's why I contacted NatureBright this week to see if they would donate a lamp for my giveaway. I know it's a great product because I use it all the time. And thanks to their generosity, I get to put one of these sweet babies in the hands of a lucky reader--to use for herself or to give to someone she loves.
Lately I've been spending the first half of every day wanting to sleep, or cry, or both. Whichever comes first, really. And though it's a little early for SAD to kick in, it's not off the charts. So as I am reviewing and re-implementing mental health basics that have saved me over and over again, I thought I'd share them with you.
So are we talking about the winter blues, seasonal depression, or major depressive disorder? The answer is...yes! They share the same causes, symptoms, and treatments, so--all of the above. If you're reading this article in the middle of summer, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. The practices outlined here improve overall mental health, period--so whether you get slightly blue from time to time or whether you suffer constantly from the enormous weight of major depression, this post is for you.
The book is heavily based on research conducted on modern hunter-gatherer societies, noting a marked absence of symptoms indicating depression. When we contrast the hardships suffered by these groups with the ease and prosperity enjoyed by the typical American, it is strange to report that Americans are the ones who suffer from depression! These findings lead researchers to formulate a treatment plan based on the hunter-gatherer lifestyle including: dietary omega-3 fatty acids, engaging activity, physical exercise, social support, adequate sleep, and sunlight exposure. For many people missing only one or two of these elements, addressing just those is enough to affect powerful and lasting change. We'll spend time on each of these elements in coming weeks here on the blog.
But first, here's my caveat: anti-depressant medications are sometimes the very best first step on the road back to mental health. They were life savers for me, and I've talked to many who have felt the same way. If you've found medication that works for you, then there's really no reason to look elsewhere. I am writing this post because many, like me, come to a point where the medication no longer works well enough to make them willing to put up with the side effects. I will also say that the steps I will outline consistently out-perform medication in terms of resulting wellness. But it takes practice and sometimes a little money to develop these life habits. In the meantime, I am in full support of whatever you can do to feel well. You deserve to be healthy.
This is the first of seven post on beating depression without meds. Come back next week and learn how beneficial light therapy can be for depression, and especially for SAD. And...don't forget to share!
Share any one of my posts in this series on depression on Pinterest or Facebook, and then let me know you've done so by commenting here on the blog. Each share is worth one entry, so if you share each of the seven articles on both sites, you'll be entered fourteen times.
And just so you know...I'm not getting anything from NatureBright or from the publishers of The Depression Cure. I just get a kick out helping others beat depression. Somehow it makes what I go through worthwhile. Almost. :)
Post edit: The Sun Touch Lamp Giveaway concluded in the fall. But feel free to share anyway. :)