Categories
Beat Depression

Finding Your Center: 5 Hobbies That Can Help You Overcome Depression and Anxiety

unconventional-ways-reduce-stressAnxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Approximately half of all individuals diagnosed with anxiety will also be diagnosed with depression, and vice versa.

If you have been diagnosed with depression or an anxiety disorder, involving yourself in a hobby can be an effective supplement to the treatment plan created by your mental health care provider. Here are five kinds of hobbies that can be effective in fighting anxiety and depression.

 

1. Improve Your Health

Depression and anxiety can make you lose motivation, often with the side effect of suffering health. Start improving your health through small goals, like getting more sunshine.

Exercise releases endorphins—forcing yourself to be active will give your body the tools to fight your depression. Individuals with lower levels of vitamin D are more likely to have depression—go out into the sunshine for a short time every day (yes, you do actually need to go outside: vitamin D can’t be gleaned through glass) to boost your body’s defense.

It may seem impossible to get out of the bed and out the door, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Remind yourself of your goals by posting them in high-traffic areas of your house (the bathroom mirror, the front of the fridge, and the inside of the front door) to help keep yourself motivated.

These hobbies include:

  • Going for a walk once a week in your neighborhood.
  • Researching, planning, and implementing a new diet.
  • Following along with an electronic exercise program several times a week.
  • Taking the trash out to the curb.
  • Jogging in the morning before work.

2. Take Care of Living Things

Depression and anxiety may make you feel unimportant, or even worthless. You may feel that what you do has no positive impact on the world around you. To counteract this negative thought process, one thing you can do is reach out with the intent to affect living things around you.

This can be as simple as gardening in your own backyard: planting flowers or vegetables, mowing your lawn, or pruning your trees. If you become more invested in the project of your own home garden, you may choose to consult with a specialist to help you keep your yard in great health.

Tending to living things which depend on you can help you feel connected and important.

These hobbies include:

  • Planting a vegetable garden.
  • Volunteering at a pet shelter.
  • Grooming your pet.
  • Babysitting.
  • Planting a flower bed.

3. Make Something

When your depression or anxiety became serious, you may have lost interest in old hobbies or feared that things you made weren’t important. Getting back into artistic hobbies you used to enjoy (or hobbies you’ve never tried) can rekindle lost passion and revitalize your energy. Activities that produce physical signs of progress—like creating journal pages or knitting a scarf—can be both gratifying and motivating.

These hobbies include:

  • Drawing or painting.
  • Baking.
  • Scrapbooking or crafting.
  • Sewing or knitting.
  • Singing or playing an instrument.

4. Join a Group

If you are having a hard time with self-motivation, consider looking for a group that shares your interests. Engaging with other people not only alleviates feelings of isolation, but also can help keep you motivated and focused on your goals. Volunteer for an organization you care about, whether it’s the local Habitat for Humanity or community library, and allow yourself to make new friends and develop camaraderie with your fellow volunteers.

These hobbies include:

  • Volunteering in your church or community.
  • Joining (or creating) a book club.
  • Attending support group meetings.
  • Joining a community league sports team.
  • Practicing a religion.

5. Fix Something

Activities that require constant use of your hands help fuel creativity and motivation, along with producing tangible progress. Find and fill a need. This can be as small as changing a light bulb or washing an elderly neighbor’s car, or as big as cleaning out and reorganizing your garage. The purpose of these hobbies is to give yourself something to do that produces visible, useful results.

These hobbies include:

  • Making repairs around your home.
  • Taking an automotive or woodshop class.
  • Working on your car or bike.
  • Making pottery dishes.
  • Up-cycling old possessions.

There is no one-size-fits-all cure for anxiety disorders or depression. Celebrate small victories: a finished scrapbook page, sprouts in your flower bed, or a walk in the sunshine. Develop a treatment plan with your mental health care provider and use these hobby ideas to find what works for you.

Author Bio: Erika Remmington is a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in linguistics with a minor in business. She is a wife, new mother, avid rock climber, and an independent free lance writer. She recommends Arborcare Tree Service Ltd. for yard maintenance projects.

Categories
Deal With Stress

What’s Keeping You Awake At Night – and How to Fix it?

What's keeping you awake at night, and how can you fix it?Sleep is a fundamental human need, but sometimes it feels like a luxury. With the constant murmur of life all around, women often find that sleep is unfortunately missing from their lives.

Women often prove excellent jugglers when it comes to work, being social, raising a family, maintaining a marriage, focusing on healthy living, etc. But while busy multitasking, their sleeping habits may be suffering.

The National Sleep Foundation discovered that the average woman aged 30-60 sleeps only six hours and forty-one minutes during the work week when their body needs at least seven to nine hours each night. Without proper sleep, there is a greater likelihood of accidents, concentration issues, sickness, weight gain, and poor performance at work.

Since sleep is absolutely vital, it is important to get to the bottom of what is keeping you awake at night. Here are several common causes for what might be disturbing your sleep:

Insomnia

One of the most common sleep disorders which more women than men experience is insomnia. The symptoms of insomnia can severely disrupt normal sleeping patterns. The symptoms include:

•Difficulty falling asleep

•Waking up often during the night without ease of falling back asleep

•Waking up too early in the morning

•Feeling tired and sluggish upon waking up

There are two basic types of insomnia: primary and secondary. Primary insomnia describes a sleep issue rather than a health issue. But secondary insomnia is due to a prior condition such as asthma, cancer, depression, heartburn, or arthritis. Contacting a primary healthcare physician can aid in the diagnosis of insomnia and suggest lifestyle changes or medication for a persistent condition.

Pain

About 58% of women complain of pain upsetting their sleep. In 2000, research revealed one in four women reported that physical discomfort had interrupted their sleep at least three nights a week or more.

Whether it is migraines, tension headaches, carpal tunnel, back ache, frozen shoulder, or arthritis, the culprits behind an inability to stay asleep prove exhausting over time. Pain can seem exacerbated at night making it much harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. With these types of ailments there are a number of ideas to try such as performing relaxation techniques, stretching, or over-the-counter prescription medicines to block pain.

Hormones

Other times, biology is a cause for struggle with sleep. Hormonal shifts and physical changes disrupt natural sleep patterns. Pregnancy, menstruation, or menopause can change the way a woman’s body deals with sleep.

During menopause, hot flashes can prove one of the chief sleep offenders as the spiking and falling of estrogen and progesterone levels awaken the brain at night. Unfortunately, after menopause, sleep problems can persist because there is still an imbalance of hormones.

Treating menopause and post-menopausal symptoms can be tricky, but there are a few tips to reduce how uncomfortable it can make the body and mind at night. Eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet has been shown to control hot flashes and lower estrogen levels. Special cooling pillows might recognize rising internal temperature and naturally cool the body down. And some herbal supplements such as black cohosh have demonstrated a profound ability to help women deal the symptoms of menopause.

Stress

Because of the many internal and external factors at work in and around the body, stress often runs high and can play a huge role in the quality of sleep. Stress can cause or amplify insomnia, aggravate menopause symptoms, and increase pain.

From problems at work to chaos at home, a high stress level can hurt the body by preventing it from sleeping well. In order to decrease stress in favor of sleeping, first assess what is specifically stressful. From there, a solution can be found by mitigating the reason for stress, mentally releasing the issue, or trying to work through the problem. Exercise, eating healthy, and relaxation techniques such as breathing, stretching, quiet time, or aroma therapy are all proven tools for stress relief.

Many people are in love with sleep because it provides necessary rest. So it can be incredible frustrating when staying asleep throughout the night seems just out of reach. Biological, environmental, and emotional matters easily impinge on sleep. By assessing what could potentially be the problem, there are steps to take that might improve sleep. For better health and happiness, finding sleep solutions can help ensure an adequate amount of sleep for maximum function during the day.

 

Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who enjoys discovering health solutions. Currently, she is researching the advantages of direct primary healthcare. You can connect with her on Google+.