Saturday, April 11, 2015

Health and Wellness: Depression

It is another beautiful Spring day.  Today my husband and I are going to plant some more seeds in the garden. The tomatoes I started inside are just about ready to be planted.  With the coming of warmer weather and Spring, I've felt the need to be busy with things within the home.  One of my goals for life is to become more self-sustainable.  I want us to produce most of our own food, clothing, etc.  So, I've been working on creating.  I've been cleaning and designing our garden.  We took a drive to a lake northeast of us. It's been under construction and we wanted to see what's going on with it. Spring is beautiful in the mountainous regions of the desert. We had a wet winter so everything is greener than usual. The wild grasses are growing and the ground is peppered with wild flowers in yellows, whites, and purples.  As I write this we are on our way to a lake northwest of us to go fishing. Along the Gila River the soaring cottonwoods stretch their branches, now full of greenery, and let their cotton fall and collect like snow in the middle of summer. Getting out is a good feeling after a season of "winter blues" and doldrums.
Bill Evans Lake

I've thought long and hard about my next topic.  I thought maybe I would discuss sinus issues and allergies because it's the season for it.  One thing keeps coming back though.  Depression.  It is a difficult topic, but it is even more difficult to deal with.  Severe and debilitating depression should be discussed with a licensed professional such as a psychologist or counselor.  For more mild cases, there are things that can be done to help.  Or, you can use the information I provide here to discuss things with your mental healthcare provider.  (Please see my disclaimer).

One of my favorite books is Prescription for Herbal Healing.  It has an innumerable amount of valuable information in it.  I am providing a link to the edition I have, but there is a newer edition available.  This book contains information on all manner of herbs, how to prepare them in different ways, and a number of different health concerns.   Most herbs can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs. I have ordered from them and find quality herbs for good prices.  In the section on Depression, some herbs and herbal formulas are described.  There are two main herbs that have featured in research, St. John's Wort and Kava.  Both of these have shown to be beneficial in treating depression.  They are definitely something worth checking out with an herbalist or psychologist/counselor that specializes in natural remedies.

Another thing that this book has is a list of considerations and suggestions.  Balch (2002) suggests that getting at least 20 minutes of sun exposure a day can help with depression, and exercise helps as well.  I've talked about this before because being outside and going for walks are passions of mine, but it is definitely something that has shown to help.  This is usually my go-to for my doldrums and seasonal depressive feelings.  Sometimes I need to step out of the normal walking routine and get my husband to take me away to some place in nature to just soak in the clean air and peace.

Another thing that can help with depression is combining different practices such as meditation with the use of aromatherapy or essential oils.  DoTerra has essential oil blends such as Balance that promotes relaxation and feelings of peace and balance.  Serenity is another calming blend and PastTense is for easing tension.  Also, Elevation is a blend that elevates the mood and vitality.  All of these can be used in a diffuser for aromatherapy, or just open the bottle and smell.  They can also be used topically, rub some on your wrists or your neck.  If you do some these things combined with meditation, you will promote your own mental and emotional wellness.  I like to use nature sounds to help me focus on drowning out other things.  There is a wide variety of apps for computers, phones and tablets that help with nature sounds and white noise.

I think that one of the biggest things that can help with moods is to stop whatever is going on to encourage it and take time for yourself.  Take a steaming bath by candlelight, put a few drops of one of the essential oils listed above into your bath.  A friend of mine uses aromatic shower crystals.  I like to take a few minutes and journal what I'm feeling and thinking.  I also like to spend time in spiritual practice.  Say a prayer, light a candle, listen to spiritual music (I like Jason Upton for this purpose).  Life in today's society gives us a lot to handle and many times our natural responses are that of depression and anxiety.  While depression that is life debilitating should be discussed with a licensed professional, there are things we can do to help ourselves not feel overwhelmed.   Next time it hits you, try one of the things mentioned here, and if you find that your depression is so overwhelming that you cannot cope with life, please seek help with a counselor.

Light and Love,


** If you want more information on the research I have mentioned in this article, message me and I can give you the research.

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