9/23/13

Can You Fight Depression Naturally? Part Three: Reduce Stress

Busy Busy Busy! And the tasks never seem to get done. We take so much upon ourselves these days. Is it any wonder depression is so common among us? According to WebMD, "Sustained or chronic stress, in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the "stress hormone," and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters  in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression."  The article did go on to say that 10% of those who are clinically depressed do not seem to have stress as a trigger. My math says then that for the other 90% stress may be a major contributor. So, time to have a talk with your stress. It may be blocking the wonderful natural anti-depressants Serotonin and Dopamine that are so necessary to "don't worry, be happy!"


Thanks to your wonderful comments, we have been discussing this week strategies to deal with depression when you feel medication is not the answer. If any of you follow my blog regularly, you know that for me, medication for anything is rarely the answer.  We are all different and there are individualized treatments for everyone. Not all of us fit the mold of go to doctor, get pill, take pill. The end.  And hey, guess what! A pill will not take our stress away! There is rarely a one size fits all cure for anything and many times the answer is multifaceted.  Many parts of the puzzle come together for real results. For this issue, one part of the puzzle might be exercise! Another, reducing stress. And how, you may ask?

Learn to say no. Practice with me: NO!


No thanks, Sorry, I just can't. Uh uh. Nada, nope. 
Humans! We are super heroes! We are amazing. Awesome! Extraordinary. We can do so many things. We were born to be successful. We were born to excel. But I fear that many of us, including me, try to do too much.

This year alone, I have taken on two part time jobs while raising my four kids, serving in some demanding volunteer positions, and added a nephew to our family. This on top of growing a garden, milking goats, trying to cook real food, and all the other mundane duties of a stay at home mom. Oh, and my husband is gone for days at a time for his job. So, when the choir director at church asked me, please, please come to choir. I politely practiced that two letter word. No! I am sorry, it is just too much. Perhaps in another season, but not this one. Is it any wonder I refuse to get a puppy?

Some days I am so overwhelmed by all that I have taken on that I fall into a heap and just do nothing. Overburdening ourselves can lead to a lack of inner peace, which always lands us in depression. On the other hand, doing too little to contribute to society or our family leads to the same end. We need some stress for the good feelings from stress hormones to kick in. Ah, that elusive balance! Ugh.

The point is, if I have taken so much upon myself that I do not have time to read to my toddler,  to exercise, to pray, to meditate, to serve others, then it is too much. I do not have to make Pinterest worthy cupcakes for all five kid's class parties. I do not have to write five posts a week!

Additional ideas to cut out stress:

Can you hire help? There is someone out there who has less money than you do. They could use an honest job to boost their self worth and I could use a break from scrubbing the tub or weeding the flower beds.

Can you let some things go until a later season?

Can you eat take out once in awhile? But not too often as I will talk about next!

What strategies have you implemented to reduce your work load and your stress?

Note: Nothing I share here can or should be construed as medical advice. These are my thoughts and ideas only, meant to spur anyone interested into thinking outside the box of traditional health care. Take the time to do your own research and talk to your health care professional.

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18 comments:

  1. We do take out on average once a week and this week we bought laundry detergent instead of making it! I have started working full time so I have very little free time! Love the blog and look forward to your posts!

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    1. Aw thanks. There are a few things that I do not compromise on in favor of a healthier lifestyle. But there are others that I will give up in a heartbeat in favor of less stress in my life!

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  2. Definitely practicing the "no" thing. One of my favorite lines now is "Let me think about that". It's funny because most people know now that if I use that line, it really means "no".

    Sharon
    http://makeitorfixit.com

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  3. I like that line Sharon. I think I will try it out.

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  4. You are so right that medication won't take away the stress! Something I've been seeing in so many areas of life is that there is that fine balance, as you said. We can't be overloaded, but we can't be lazy. In regards to stress, I've been learning to avoid little things that bring added stress (like squeezing in a few errands before work). I think it helps. And then, exercise, as was pointed out in your other post. :)

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  5. Thank you: this post encouraged me to say "Sorry, but no" to a request for a volunteer job at school. It's tough to be uncharitable, though.

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    1. Saying "no" isn't being uncharitable! You can only do so much. If you keep saying yes to everyone that asks something of you, something's gonna break somewhere. You'll have less patience with your kids, less time for your marriage, or your physical health will suffer. Why do we view saying "no" as being stingy??

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  6. No seems to be the hardest word in the English Language. If I say it, it usually comes out as "Naaah" or "Nope!" I usually stick with "let me think about it" and avoidance.

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  7. This is a great post. I would just add that sometimes we say yes to the "can you help out with" questions for prideful reasons. As in: they must've asked me because I'm so talented, efficient, creative, kind, etc. We need to keep in mind that sometimes we're the one asked because, quite bluntly, they know we're the only sucker that'll say yes.

    And it's important to remember that "stress" is NOT mental illness. It's a condition caused by taking on more than we can handle and then getting overwhelmed. A pill won't help. Setting limits and not feeling bad about sticking to them will.

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    1. No, stress is not a mental illness, but for some, inability to say no may be. :) Thanks so much for your imput.

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  8. Good post! I'm doing a better job of saying no to stuff this fall. I'm also relaxing on the blogging front because I want to be doing, not just writing.

    Thanks for sharing your tips at Fabulously Frugal Thursday!

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    1. I am glad that you are taking time to do some other fun things. I am sure your kids love that too.

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  9. Janine I love this post. I am saying "no" more often and it has helped so much with my stress levels. It was difficult to do the first time, but I knew I needed to learn!

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    1. Good for you Helen. I am too, and finding that I fee less and less guilty about it.

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  10. Great post! I'm learning to say no more often and not feel guilty about it! thanks for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop, look forward to seeing what you share this week!
    Nancy HomeAcre Hop

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    1. Glad to hear that Nancy. Let go of the guilt.

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  11. Good post, I need to practice saying, "No." to myself I think. :)
    cass-eats.blogspot.com

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    1. Say it out loud a few times a day on your own, just to get the hang of it.

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