I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard someone unhappy with the idea of trying to breathe to manage anxiety or stress. It’s usually because what they’ve heard or learnt about breathing is incorrect- which is why it hasn’t helped.
It can be surprising that sometimes the simple things can speed up recovery.
Recovery from disordered eating is possible, although it can feel tough at times. While health professionals can view recovery in terms of symptom remission and reduction, Continue reading “Recovery from Eating Disorders”
When you’re physically sick, your body needs rest to fight off germs and heal. You can feel run down, exhausted, or unable to do much when you’re sick, so you don’t. And when you push yourself to do things, it can be draining and make you feel depleted or worse. It’s a pretty simple formula: when you get sick (or injured), you rest to recover/heal.
When you’re depressed, the symptoms can be quite physical too. Feeling lethargic, tired, and like everything is effortful; on top of changes in sleep, eating, and more. So it makes sense that when you feel like you’re physically struggling due to depression, you would rest and do less to recover. And here is the confusing part: if you feel awful and tired because you’re depressed and then take the time to rest or do less, you won’t get better. Resting actually maintains that lack of energy, so that the depression will either worsen or be maintained. The irony is that doing things (particularly physical activity) will improve your energy levels, rather than depleting them.
It can feel overwhelming or too hard to consider doing things, like housework, seeing friends, exercising, or working. So what can you do?
Remind yourself that something is better than nothing, and set small daily goals to kick-start your recovery. For example, if it is too hard to do the dishes: set a timer and just do what you can in 10 minutes, rather than trying to wash all of the dishes. If it feels too hard to exercise, aim small: walk to the end of the street and back, or around the block. If seeing friends is too hard: why not try responding to one or two text messages that have been left unanswered. If it feels too hard to work or study: set a timer again and do what you can in 20 minutes.
When you start doing things, several things happen. One, it improves your energy levels and motivation. Two, you gain momentum- getting started is often the problem, but it gets easier to do more and other things when you do get started. Three, you get opportunities for that low or flat mood to change- and there often is some improvement, even if slight. And finally: you get proof that you’re not useless, worthless or all the other nasty things that your mind is telling you, which also serves to start weakening the depression.
When you’re sick, resting gets you back on track. When you’re depressed, doing things (however small) will help give you the energy and motivation to get back on track. It can be hard work, but well worth doing.
Most of us have heard of premenstrual syndrome: becoming irritable, anxious, or moody right before your monthly cycle. Continue reading “Premenstrual symptoms”
Anxiety: it’s so physical. Anxiety activates your body’s fight or flight response, Continue reading “Four physiology hacks for anxiety”
Thoughts go through your mind all day, every day. Thoughts narrate our lives, and tell us stories about ourselves, other people, and the world. One narrative that I often hear from mothers is thinking or feeling they are being a bad mother, or Continue reading “The Bad Mother Story”
One thing I often hear from my clients is ‘I’m a bad mother’, or ‘I feel like a bad mother’. Why are so many women feeling this way? Commonly, the reasons behind these thoughts are things like: Continue reading “Good Mothers & Bad Mothers”