by Karl Perera
In this brief article I would like to talk about how important it is to take care of yourself. Not taking care of yourself properly is a symptom of depression as well as a cause of depression.
Cause of Depression
In this modern society we live in, not taking care of yourself can lead to many problems. One of the most common problems is steadily increasing levels of stress. Many experts agree that there is a close connection between stress and depression. As is often the case with most disorders this connection is two-way. What I mean to say is, stress can cause depression and also depression can cause stress.
The problem with our lives today is that we’re often in a rush. We’ve always got lots and lots of things to do and our minds are always filled with the various problems that we face each day. Technology, especially the internet and smartphones, are keeping us busy and connected for much of the day. Work never seems to stop. there is no time for our minds to relax and experience peace.
Modern life is extremely stressful because it is extremely challenging and we are faced with so many rapid changes each day. Somehow, you’ve got to slow down, you’ve got to take a break, you’ve got to take time out to relax a little. If you don’t, if you try to keep continuing at this frenetic pace you’ll find that slowly slowly you will become weakened to the point where you get extremely tired and frustrated. this is how people can get burned out.
If you suffer from stress for a while you are much more susceptible to depression. Some people can take high levels of stress for a long period of time, whereas some people are much more sensitive.
Symptoms of Depression
If you are depressed, chances are that you are tired and frustrated with your life, perhaps even at a loss as to what to do. As you get tired and frustrated you will also become very stressed. Because you feel this way you are likely to ignore your needs and you will not take care of yourself very well. The other problem with stress is that it leads to indecision as well, and not taking decisions can frustrate you even more. This a downward spiral into physical and mental tiredness, with stress draining your energy levels.
Not taking care of yourself means that your situation will get worse, your depression will become more severe. It is essential, no matter how low your motivation is, that you do something to look after yourself even if it is just taking a shower, or getting some fresh air. The mere fact that you have made the effort to do something for you will make you just a little bit less depressed.
You have lots of responsibilities in your life. Everyone does. Parents, students, single mothers, house owners, business owners, workers all have different responsibilities. With the pace of life today it is difficult to take care of yourself as well as your responsibilities. Perhaps you sometimes feel that your responsibilities are getting on top of you. Well, if you are not careful, your life can make demands on you that you feel overwhelmed and things seem out of control. Life and work needs to be in balance, and if not you may need to check your priorities. What is your top priority? You and your health? Your family? Work? Getting your life back in balance is a question of correcting your priorities. You cannot be of use to others or in your work if you don’t first take care of your needs and well-being.
Feeling like you can’t cope with your responsibilities and knowing that you are not looking after yourself the way you should can make you depressed. This feeling should cause you to stop and think about your life and what you are feeling is a symptom of how you are attending to or ignoring your wishes and needs.
Why You Need to Take Care of Yourself
Here are a few of the most important reasons:
- If you are recovering from depression you need to relax and regain your strength
- Exercise can make you feel happier and make you think much more positively
- You’ll feel better about yourself because you are giving yourself what you need
- In order to cope with your responsibilities you need first to prioritise your own health
- When you are less tired or stressed you will feel less depressed and you will have hope that you can recover
The Problem of Depression
As you can see above, if you are going to get over depression it’s extremely important to take steps to look after yourself. The problem with depression is that you don’t feel like doing anything, you have no motivation, no desire. The hardest thing is getting up in the first place to do something positive. However, almost any positive step will make you feel better and start on the road to recovery.
If you’re severely depressed you are probably at home doing nothing, feeling down and a mess. What you should do is push yourself. Take a look in the mirror, what do you see? There is a close connection between body and mind so if you don’t look nice you won’t feel good. I guarantee that if you make the effort to look after yourself you will definitely start to feel better and your depression will weaken.
Taking care of yourself is not just about appearance but also about improving the health of your mind. Your attitude and your thinking can trap you in your depression.
Here are a few quick suggestions of ways in which you can start to look after yourself better:
- Take a shower.
- Try out a new hairstyle.
- Listen to some inspiring music.
- Try meditation – here is an excellent guided video to help you get started!
- Stop working for a few minutes and relax.
- Go for a walk.
- If you’ve got a pet, spend some time with it.
- Schedule some time to do something that you really want to do!
The Most Important Tip of All…Get a Good Night’s Sleep!
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All the best,