Ahhhhh spring! The flowers are blooming, grass is getting green again, leaves are blossoming on the trees, and the sun is shining – except on you. If you seem to have lost that spring in your step or usual happy, positive outlook on life, you could be suffering from depression.
Sometimes there are reasons to feel this way, like the loss of a loved one, a difficult break-up, or life-altering change. But often there are no explanations for the grey outlook that has become your unwelcome friend. If you are feeling the ‘blahhhs’ instead of the ‘ahhhs’, the first step should be a trip to your doctor to rule out any condition that could warrant feelings of this nature. A physical examination is a good place to start.
Now, you’ve seen your family physician and they can’t find anything out of the ordinary to explain your blues. What do you do next? Take a good hard look at how you are fuelling your body. Is your diet well balanced? Sitting on the couch eating potato chips won’t do you much good if you aspire to anything more than being a couch potato. Neither will drinking sugar-loaded soft drinks or anything containing caffeine, especially if not kept in moderation.
Start your day off right, and that means breakfast. Far too many of us skip our morning meal and think we can make up for it later. This can lead to denying ourselves with the recommended daily amounts of nutrients, protein or carbohydrates our bodies require. A good first step is allowing some breakfast time into our busy schedules. Eating a piece of fresh fruit and energy bar on your way to work, or consuming a protein shake or smoothie at your desk will suffice to put bodies into go-mode.
Ok, so you’ve been for a check-up, and you’re doing pretty good in the balanced diet department (which includes drinking enough plain old water, too) but you are still feeling off. Now what? Ask yourself if you are getting enough exercise – and pushing a pencil doesn’t count.
Making exercise a daily habit pays big dividends in the well-being stock market. If your doctor approves, physical exercise can be as powerful as an antidepressant. Even a brisk walk outdoors for 30 minutes can do wonders for your mood, and doesn’t hurt your waistline either.
You don’t have to be hardcore lifting weights in a gym in order to get the benefit of exercise. Aerobic (cardio training) activity has shown more progress in improving moods than anaerobic (strength training) activity. If possible, exercise earlier in the day since it can be stimulating and may interfere with sleep if done later in the evening.