“What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.
– A.A. Milne –
This month we are going to address a common side effect of Michigan winters: depression. Often it hits us out of the blue in March. Depression is a common and serious mental health disease. It is not simply a case of sadness that goes away after a while. It needs to be treated. If you have a loved one with depression or suspect you may have it, you can help in many ways. Common symptoms fall into three categories:
Emotional – feeling sad or hopeless, losing interest in things you used to enjoy or feeling worthless or guilty
Physical – eating or sleeping more or less than usual, feeling tired or lacking energy, or feeling agitated or restless
Mental – having trouble concentrating, having trouble making decisions and sometimes thinking about death or dying or suicide.
You or your loved one might avoid family and friends. This could make you think that your loved one doesn’t want your help. But that may not be the case. Your loved one just might not know how to ask for help.
What you can do:
Go to appointments with that person, help by getting involved in activities, active listen and be encouraging. Remind them to continue his or her therapy. It can help to make them feel better. Become mindful – note how you feel and what causes dips in your emotions is an important part of staying emotionally healthy. Meditation and yoga, incorporating stillness in your routine can play a vital role in this disease and mental health. Please consult a professional if you or someone you suspect is experiencing these symptoms.
Downward Facing Dog – combats anxiety and energizes your body
How to: Start by laying on your stomach placing your palms by the sides of your chest and spread your fingers wide. Next, come onto your hands and knees. Make sure your knees are directly below your hips and your hands are slightly forward of your shoulders. Put a blanket or two in line with your breastbone, high enough to support your head and low enough so that you can lengthen your neck. Turn your toes under and exhale as you raise your buttocks high in the air, moving your thighs up and back. Keep your elbows straight as you lift your buttocks up and release the crown of your head onto the blankets. The action of the arms and legs serves to elongate your spine and release your head. Hold for 30 seconds to one-minute breathing deeply.
Feel your chest expanding and moving toward your thighs. Heels reaching for the floor, longing to meet the mat and stretching back. The neck and head are a natural extension of the spine, relaxed and loose.
Yoga and meditation classes are offered on a regular schedule and by appointment. Call me at 248-390-8153 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.