Spring life hacks for depression and anxiety

birdsThe birds are singing outside my window in Lawrence, Kansas and yesterday I watched a male and female robin flirt. Today it’s going to be 55 degrees and all the snow has melted. It’s Spring.. Maybe not officially, but it’s on its way. I’m going to get out there, get some sun and a lot of exercise today, cause tomorrow it’s supposed to be cold again. For a lot of us Spring is a time of huge energy. It’s the time with Mother Nature is renewing; pushing out buds, shooting up sprouts, growing tiny animal families. The energy of Spring is near palpable. It’s an exciting time of year. The air holds possibility. Except, if you have anxiety or depression. Years ago I was told that my insomnia would get worse in the Spring, my ulcer would act up in the Spring, feelings of unease and difficulty adjustment would be stronger in the Spring. Spring and Fall tend to be the more difficult times for those of us who experience difficulty with anxiety and depression. And you don’t have to be chronically affected to feel the effects of the season. So what do we do? This is the time of year to be doubly vigilant. I do what I yogastretchknow works and do more of it. So, maybe add ten minutes onto your fitness routine. Going to Zumba? Maybe add ten minutes of stretching to the end or walk on the treadmill for ten minutes to warm-up beforehand.  I know that exercise is the number one thing I  can do to naturally manage my anxiety. It works even better for depression. I’m not suggesting you dump your meds. I’m just saying get in at least 30 minutes of intense exercise a  three times week-whatever intense means for you. Dr. Stephen Ilardi explains in one of my favorite TED talks. The other really big thing I can do is watch what I eat. For me I watch my carbs and sugars. I have an insulin issue (yes, the diabetes was a misdiagnosis) so this is super important, but for anyone dealing with depression and/or anxiety sugar can make all our feelings of high emotion feel even bigger. Sugar causes mood swings and a lot of us already have issues staying even. Sugar also depletes our energy and staying energized is important for managing our moods-and just for feeling good in general. We’re all individuals, though, and you probably know what makes you feel bad and what can make you feel better. At least for the Spring try to cut out the things that make you feel bad. I eat lots of fresh veggies and fruits. Luckily it’s so easy to eat well in the Spring. There are so many yummy veggies, think tiny asparagus and succulent lettuces. My doctor says forget the food pyramid. Try to get eight servings of veggies and eight servings of fruit a day. Getting 8 & 8 in makes me feel great! I also eat high protein and I try to skip the white rice, potatoes, desserts and candy snacks. Even chips can make me feel down and worry.  There are times when I can eat those things in small doses and know that there might be mild consequences, but not in the Spring. I’m certainly not perfect, in fact I’m writing this after a night that I had a few beers. I am the first one to want to grab a  slice of pizza or a night out with the girls, but for this time of year I need to weigh out whether it’s worth it or not. If I really need some girl time I plan for it.  I try to hydrate early in the girls  nightday. I make sure I eat lots of protein before and after and when I’m out I limit my drinking and resist the urge to munch on carbs that are so inticing when there’s alcohol in my system. While it’s really fun to cut loose, this time of the year it can be harder for me to recover. Being smart makes the difference between a difficult and a great day. It can also make the difference in spiraling deeper into anxious feelings. Once the spiral starts, it’s hard to get out. I’m human. I fail. I certainly still have nights where I don’t sleep because I can’t turn off my brain, days where I have trouble being productive. There are times where being in a new situation, a party where I don’t know many people or a networking event, makes me sweat and my heart pound and there are times when I just can’t. Learning these simple tools from dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and being a yogini has made all the difference in my anxiety. It’s what inspired me to teach Yoga for Anxiety and Yoga for Depression. I’m not a doctor. I’m not an expert. I’m someone who has been through a lot of difficult shit in her life that left some scars. legsupthewallIIInterested in learning more about what works for me? I’m working on private long distance learning, but for now join us for in Lawrence, KS  for workshops, Yoga for Depression March 7 and/or Yoga for Anxiety March 14. They are life changing! Questions? Interested in more info about long distance learning? I’m so excited about his new program. Let’s connect!


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