7 Tips for Depression

Depression. I work with this quite a bit in my practice as an acupuncturist. Depression is exhausting, draining, and un-motivating. Like there's a dark cloud following you around everywhere you go so all you want to do is lie down and do nothing. 

Patients come see me because they either want to get off anti-depressant medication, or don't want to start it to begin with. If you are on medication and want to get off, please make sure you do it with the help of your doctor to gently wean you off it over time. Acupuncture can really help with that transition and works great for those who aren't on any medications. 

Here are 7 tips you can do on your own that will help with depression:

◈ First, accept it. You're human, it's ok to feel like this from time to time, but at some point the pity party that your ego has conjured up, has to stop. Even if some very serious stuff has happened in your life, you owe it to yourself to be happy. 

◈ Workout: Depression is a Qi (pronounced Chee) deficiency, Qi is our life/energy force. Qi likes to move, if it doesn't, then we don't feel so great and all the energy is down bearing. It doesn't have to be CrossFit or anything too hard (or hey, Cross Fit is awesome so maybe give it a try!) But, commit to something, anything at least once a week to start. It can be a Martial Arts class (tai chi is great especially if you're limited because of physical pain),  yoga,  a dance class, anything, just get moving.

◈ Cultivate an interest: Write, paint, learn a new language, volunteer, join a book club, etc. Give your brain a break from overthinking and get to doing something instead 

◈ Nourish: Life has so many simple pleasures! I'm also an esthetician and had given a sample of this really lovely nourishing oil to a client for her skin and the next time she came in for a facial, I asked how she liked it and she admitted she was "saving it". Saving it for what I wonder? Take baths, use the samples, actually use the nice soap and the nice towels in the bathroom, take a spa day, book a massage or an acupuncture appointment, get that tattoo you've been thinking about. There are so many little gifts you can give yourself every day, so get creative about it. Anything that makes you feel good is what you're aiming for. 

◈Express gratitude: it's not easy coming up with things to be grateful for when you're going through a rough patch, but it's important to train your brain to find the happy in everyday. Pick 2 things every single day to be grateful for. It can be something super simple like, 'I'm grateful for not having to wait for my train', or 'I'm grateful I have a job and roof over my head'.

◈Set an intention for your day as soon as you wake up: Again, keep it simple. "I want to feel happy today.", "I want to take that new yoga class", "I want to be a good son/daughter/husband/wife today" These are just some examples of setting the pace for your day. It's your daily goal and it's personal. Do whatever feels right for you. 

◈ Meditate: There are many forms of mediation, try them all until you find one that works for you. The goal here isn't to control your thoughts, it's the opposite. Let go of your thoughts.  

Bonus tip:

☯ At the very tippy top of your head is an acupressure point to lift your Qi. You can find this point by putting your thumbs at the top of your ears, where your middle fingers meet at the top of your scalp is the Lift Qi point. This point is great for depression. Gently tap at this point for about a minute and you should feel more alert, alive and ready to shake off the blues.