Recently, we introduced Dr. Erika Forbes, a professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Now that you know a little bit more about her and the studies she conducts, we wanted to share some of the pointers she had for adolescents and young adults coping with depression.
Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.
― Eleanor Brownn
What does this quote mean to you? Imagine you have a big bowl of punch. You made an awesome punch with orange and pink sherbet, Sprite, orange juice, pineapple juice…you even put grenadine syrup – this stuff is good. You’re so excited about having everyone try some. So you throw a party and you invite your relatives, your kids’ friends, and the neighbors. Everyone is free and excited about the punch. They even bring people you didn’t invite and some take the punch home with them before they leave. You are busy talking to everyone and pretty soon, you realize there is none left, and you haven’t even tried any yourself. You feel tired, worn out, defeated.
Sometimes we want to give and give and give more of ourselves. Especially if your child is struggling, you may feel like the best thing to do is everything you humanly can. But if we don’t feel good, there is not as much of us to give, and if we don’t work hard on filling up our own cup, we are running on empty most of the time.
Many people are surprised to learn that the diagnoses of depression and anxiety include physical symptoms as well as mental symptoms.
Depression includes psychomotor retardation – which means that your body moves at a slower pace than normal. You might talk slower and not be quick to react.
Anxiety includes feeling restless, easily fatigued, muscle tension, and unsatisfying sleep.
Have you ever noticed if you feel wound up about something, and then try to take some deep breaths to calm down, only then do you realize that you have been holding your shoulders tight all day. Over and over, our mental health symptoms can be expressed in our bodies – on the outside and even on the inside through stress hormones, our immune system, and our gastrointestinal system.
We’ve posted a few times now about self-care. But why is it so important to our mental health? One reason is self-care can help us take care of our bodies and mind. Its helpful to think about our minds in the context of our bodies. When we feel strong emotions, what happens to our physical bodies? You might feel your chest get tighter, your breathing quicken, or your stomach churning. In the same way, when we take care of our bodies by relaxation methods, deep breathing, or eating healthy, we can also help our minds be healthy.
Have you found this applies in your life? What ways have you noticed that your mind and body are connected?
Here is a smoothie for when you’re feeling distracted. The complex carbs present in the oat will help your brain and the amino acid tyrosine present in the protein powder will make you mentally alert. Something for those days when your to-do list is miles long!
Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie
½ cup oats
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
1 cup skim milk,
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
Handful of ice
Blend the first five ingredients until smooth and add the ice and then blend and serve.
Did you sip your way to a distraction-free day? What are other mood-boosting healthy foods that you reach for?