GROW: The Book
What do ya'll use to help with depression or anxiety? This isolation is really getting me down.
@rbusby01 I'm sorry things are still difficult for you with lockdown related issues! Are you able to go out any? Just getting some fresh air and sunshine can be very helpful.
There are a lot of herbs that can be helpful in your situation, but they may interact with other things you might use. I would definitely start with something simple, perhaps some oatstraw or tulsi tea. Some people find the ritual of making a cup of tea very healing in and of itself.
There are lots of things on The Grow Network that could keep your mind engaged. Mastering a new skill can really improve one's outlook. A lot of people in my family have found that turning off the news helps tremendously, as well.
Take care and keep us posted on what you find helpful.
@rbusby01 I find texting or calling a friend helps alot. I also go outside every day to water my plants and like @Gail H said I find it relaxing. I also recommend a cup of your favorite tea whichever that is (for me its peppermint).
@rbusby01 I too struggle with this, but for different reasons, some of which are coming to a head recently with unrelated events. I know it will all work out as it should in the end, even though it doesn't seem ideal at the moment.
I do understand what you are going through. Early on, I found some of the new strange confusing everythings difficult, but I do like some personal space (yeah, I have a "bubble" that not many can enter, haha), so in some ways, that was nice. Social distancing is a bit much, but I decided to prefer to look at it as a blessing, giving me more space than usual.
Do remember that this is temporary. Don't focus on it. Distract with enjoyable & interesting things to do.
Fill your time with getting outside if you are able. Walking amongst trees is really important. They are not only beautiful, they give off a special chemical that is so healthy for us and relaxes us. I think that I mentioned this in an old thread about forest bathing. This is a Japanese practice that recognizes the importance of being out in nature, observing the natural world around us through purposefully engaging all of our senses to notice the beautiful detail around us.
TGN has great resources to keep one busy. That was a great suggestion.
@torey & a few other herbalists here can recommend some herbs to try. Herbs as mentioned above can help a lot.
Routines can help.
Be silly sometimes. Take time to laugh or smile at something...a memory/anything. See if you can reconnect with old friends somehow. Encourage them in their day, randomly.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Tart cherry juice with a touch of freshly ground nutmeg is a good & tasty relaxant.
I should add that I have found the most harmonious & relaxing music to listen & sing to. We play it often to relax us, ground us & encourage us. You might want to find some music that appeals to you in this way. For us, it is a capela hymns with beautiful pictures & encouraging Bible verses in YouTube. For you, you might find another genre suits. If you wish to listen to what I do, I will gladly let you know how to find what I did. It has helped our whole family immensely. It has been amazing. We are starting to sing together more.
Hang in there. Somehow we are all in this together. You are certainly not alone in how you feel. If you need to chat, my pm is always open to members here. Supporting others is important.
@rbusby01 sorry to hear of your situation but I reckon you're in the right place. This forum is so supportive and there's lots to learn and keep motivated. I do hope you're able to get outside and be in a natural environment. Deep breaths and being in the moment always helps. I've found EFT or tapping to help, check it out. It has certainly helped me out in stressful times. I hope your diet is ok, healthy and nutritious food helps. I've found ashwaganda and rhodiola to be helpful herbs when feeling down. They are gentle and takes a while but very worth it. When I first got on board with TGN, I did the Making Home Medicine course and the first thing I did was make ashwaganda pills. I now put either powder in a daily smoothie. Ho shu wu(japanese knotweed) is also good. Over the last 6 months I've gone from feeling unexplainably down to feeling excellent. Remember, if you're in the right head space, you can do anything! I wish you all the best.
By the way, a big warm welcome to TGN.
Thanks Laurie! I would love to know what channel you listen to. It sounds like it would be a blessing. I'm getting outdoors every day which is helping. 😊
I try and keep a routine, I have to go to work(with a mask) which is kinda scary, take ashwagandha tablets and have tea with camomile or wellness herbs like Rooibos, echinacea, astragalus and elderberry. I especially keep my sleep/wake routine. Get outside! Enjoy. The breeze, the sunshine ( vitamin D) and keep moving in some fashion. We will get thru this! Hugs!
@rbusby01 It is on YouTube, I search for Mennonite a capella hymns. It is the SE Samonte playlists that we listen to. If there is an ad (they are so noisy, and we try to skip them quickly) and if there is "contemporary christian" styles, we skip them too. Oh, and if someone is really off tune, 😬 I need to skip it. That is just me.
One of our favorite songs is "Higher Ground"/"I'm Pressing on the Upward Way" by the Smucker family. If only the distortion wasn't there at the end. It is beautifully done & the base for the end chorus is to die for. I wish that I could sing base, but I'm a soprano. 🤣 I have fun anyway.
It has become even our kids' preferred music. Our indoor serama chickens are much calmed by it too. 🙂
@rbusby01 Welcome to TGN! I am sorry that you are suffering from the isolation. it has become an issue for so many. However, you have taken the biggest, most important step and that is asking for assistance. Too many people suffer silently and alone.
The suggestions made about the TGN Academy courses are good ones. They will give you something to focus on that is full of positive growth. You might find some herbal answers to your mental/emotional health issues in the courses. Check through the blog articles as well.
If you can get outside into a forested area, @LaurieLovesLearning's suggestion of forest bathing is a very good one. Following is a link if you are unfamiliar with this practice. https://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/
EFT is a great technique as @jodienancarrow suggests. If you are allowed to see practitioners in your area, you could look into other forms of energy medicine, Touch for Health, Reiki, Body Talk, etc. Biofeedback is something that is being more main-stream accepted, even endorsed by our provincial health department. Following is a link to the Biofeedback page at the Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/biofeedback/about/pac-20384664 You can learn to do biofeedback at home.
Nutrition is very important to focus on. There is a lot of talk about nourishing our immune systems so that we can be proactive in prevention of physical health issues but this works just the same for maintaining good mental/emotional health as well. Most of us are low in magnesium and many reports are now saying that it should be the first line of treatment in cases of depression instead of going straight to pharmaceuticals. There are many kinds of magnesium supplements, Check them out and find the one that is most appropriate for you. Zinc is recommended as a mineral to take for stress and anxiety, possibly reducing social anxiety in groups. Calcium helps keep the nerves steady. Make sure that you are getting the RDA of omega fatty acids.Vitamin C helps with oxidative stress. A B-complex vitamin is recommended for high stress situations. B vitamins are necessary for the production and breakdown of neurotransmitters involved in modulating anxiety.Most of us in northern latitudes should be getting Vitamin D supplementation for at least part of the year. If you haven't been getting outside to get your sun, then you might need a supplement. Usually a good fish oil will give you both Vitamin D and omegas. I usually recommend that you try to get as many of these nutrients in food but in times of stress we may not be able to eat properly so supplementation may be advised.
There may be some essential oils that could help. I am not an aromatherapist but do know that lavender is one of the top relaxation EOs. But EOs are quite specific to the individual sometimes. What works for some, may irritate others. I like the smell of the forest so would personally use something like balsam fir or cedarwood.
Bach Flower Essences work very well for some people. Rescue Remedy would be a good place to start, although there are others that might be more specific for you. Following is a link to the Bach website. http://www.bachflower.com/
As to herbs, there are many that can help. For starters, I would suggest lemon balm tea. It is calming but uplifting at the same time. Oatstraw, stinging nettle, red clover and linden flowers also make good teas (or nourishing herbal infusions) and help support the nervous system. Oatstraw and stinging nettle are high in calcium. Chamomile is often thought of as a children's herb but can be just as effective at calming in adults. Could be blended with catnip. Motherwort taken as a tincture can be quite helpful with anxiety without being sedating. Adaptogen herbs help with stress; tulsi, astragalus root, reishi and/or one of the other medicinal mushrooms, ashwaganda, schisandra. There are many other herbs that can be taken for stress, anxiety or depression but would be based more on your symptoms. Sleep issues, digestive issues, etc. If you would like to PM me, I could make more suggestions.
Remember that some of these suggestions may take time to have effect.
Hope some of this helps and you are feeling better soon. You have a new team and we are all here for you.
This entire time has been crazy! I love to play my flute and sing. Sometimes my husband and I play and sing together. We've recorded hymns to share with our friends on facebook and the music his kids played at school last year so they could practice with it.
I've found WholeTones to be very calming. He's had several songs on sale for cheap during this which I bought to play for my cats as well as us. He also has a Love Giveaway right now where he has 2 long pieces that you can play for free to help everyone relieve stress and anxiety. We like listening to them.
Another good thing is to turn off the news. If our tv is on we have it on cooking or travel.
Niacinamide is very good for anxiety. It has helped my daughter. You can find video on youtube from Dr. Andrew Saul and Niacin.
@rbusby01 I have been struggling with depression and anxiety and currently am dealing with a variety of health issues, childcare and employment issues (who doesn't right now?). The added complications to life that Covid has brought - as well as the constant anxiety - has not done well for my mental health. A friend of mine died on July 4th, which I didn't find out until Tuesday or Wednesday and I've been incredibly sad and angry.
I've been taking a lot of time to be present - playing with my daughter, reading books, going on walks. I'm glad I have my daughter (and it used to be my cat or my dog) because her little heart is so light. To go back to basics - blowing bubbles, drawing, watching stand-up comedy until the wee hours (ok that one I made up, but it helps me a lot) - it feels calming to think of just the moment you're in and also incredibly difficult to accomplish.
I hope things get better soon for you and anyone else struggling right now. They'll get better eventually 👍✌☺
@rbusby01, I hear you! It sounds like there are a lot of great suggestions here.
It is a crazy time, unchartered waters. So, we need to reach deeper than usual. May I suggest that you think about, even if it's just an hour, what really lights you up? What is it that gives you joy? What works for others may not work for you. I tend to think gardening is on top of the list. This may sound strange, but have you shared your thoughts with your plants? I talk to mine, though that may be why they aren't doing so well :)
How about trying something completely new? There are many online classes. I know I've taken advantage of classes online on Thursdays. There are so many of them, ranging from cooking, to language, to exercise, leadership, and so many others and they are all free. You may want to check out edu.perksatwork.com, and then go to Community OnLine Academy. There is one class I love: Gratitude. You can share with others if you like, or just listen. It's wonderful! Anyway, if you have any questions about it, let me know. PS: I don't make any money suggesting this. I just find it something to look forward to and it gets me out of my head!
Feel secure this crazy time will end, as will your state of mind. Nothing lasts forever...hang in there!
The virus has certainly affected me, as well... more disruption than anything else. My business has been reduced dramatically, as has my income. The isolation is part of it, but lack of normalcy or being able to make plans for a week or two ahead have been very unsettling. Health concerns are less so. I've come very close to dying several times in life... I suppose I got past any fear of death when I was a child and have been resigned to its inevitability since. That is not to say that I am sanguine or so stoic or spiritual that I don't worry. But, I worry more about not accomplishing the things that really matter to me than about death. What matters to me most is very much out of my control - relationships are tricky. Beyond that, I am a practicing Catholic, and not having been to Mass since March is very difficult. I know that non-Catholic folks won't understand, but the Eucharist is the greatest salve for the heart, and the greatest support for human frailty that has ever, or will ever exist. Lack of access to the sacraments is very difficult... non-Catholics may not understand, or may strongly disagree, but I can only say that only one who has lost something, or has been separated from something they care deeply about) knows the pain of that loss. I read the Bible and pray the Rosary, and that helps a lot. I have recommended the Rosary to Protestants (it is merely a recitation of Bible verses and a meditation on the life of Christ) and to non-Christians whom I truly respect and love, in times of hardship and sadness. All who have tried it have told me it helped a great deal.... that was quite a shock to a friend of mine who was an agnostic of Jewish heritage. One need not believe to be soothed by the meditative prayers. As far as herbs, I find that St. John's Wort is very helpful, for emotional support. But, it does take a month or so of regular use to take effect. Daily expose to sunlight and a walk or some work in the garden begin to boost serotonin from day 1. A good meat based meal, with plenty of fat and interesting, flavorful vegetables, spices and herbs and a few glasses of wine or beer should never be underestimated - the healing powers of just a bowl of good soup are legendary! A good night's sleep is also important - melatonin and valerian help me when I have trouble sleeping (though valerian can cause stressful/intense dreams). Taking up a simple new hobby is very good... I've recently gotten back into net making and am exploring tenkara fishing. Cooking and gardening are always helpful. Reading some new books, taking a few classes, learning an instrument or a language help a lot. Pets are essential companions. Friends and family... just someone to talk to is extremely important. I have few of either, which may explain my involvement here. Also, upbeat music and funny movies are great for lifting the mood. I love Louis Armstrong, Bob Wills and the Bee Gees! The Marx Brothers, an old film called "Hellzapoppin" (which is probably the funniest movie ever made), The Thin Man series, Mel Brooks movies, "Airplane" and "Naked Gun", almost all movies that Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Gene Wilder and Gene Pryor did were hilarious!.... "Caddyshack", and "Joe Dirt" woould round out my list... a few others, sure... The Andy Griffith Show, Dick Van Dyke Show, Hee Haw and Sanford and Son are great tv picks to lift the mood... avoid crime drams, horror movies and the news. Seriously, don't watch or read the news.... if you have to, limit it to no more than 30 minutes of national news - local stuff is all crime and tragedy. And, hang in there. This, too, shall pass.
Hmm. All this talk about watching news. We disconnected our satellite because the price shot up. We no longer have that. It isn't quite as strange as I thought it would be, but shows have been full fillers lately for the most part, so it's not a loss. News is rarely upbeat.
I figure that if I need to hear the news, I can look it up, and only if I need to. I can just glance at headlines if need be. I am temporarily getting a province wide digital newspaper in my inbox once daily & I do legitimate online surveys, so I get the feel for what's out there.
This is such a challenging time and threatening news reports are not the only cause for our anxiety and depression. The future is uncertain but one thing we can count on is that change will come. Therein we are found in a process of adjusting to all sorts of input coming through the media, and as well, it appears that our health choices and freedom to move are at stake. This is very disconcerting!
As we all might contribute then in supporting one another, thank goodness the plants are here to aid and heal us, and there are many. Melissa as well as Passionflower tinctures & teas are quite effective for soothing anxiety and depression.
Also, to focus on particular breathing processes as a daily practice will aid in grounding and oxygenating the body, which will then automatically impact the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This is super easy to do! Here’s one example: Begin by simply following the path of your breath from the tips of your nostrils to the base of the lungs and watch how it flows. Helps to have your eyes closed. Notice the quality of your breath, how long your breath is, or if it’s soft or choppy but with a neutral approach (no judging). Simply observe. That’s it. If distracted bring your awareness back to your breath.
When experiencing uncomfortable bouts of anxiety or panic please try this before bed & when awakening: Lay on your back with a bolster under your knees or sit comfortably. Place one hand just below your ribs & the other hand on your chest. Take nice smooth breaths through your nose focusing on breathing into your lower hand. When you get into the rhythm of your belly rising with every inhale then relax on the trying part & place both hands below your ribs or on your belly. Begin to lengthen your exhalation. The process will relax your nervous system.
In order to relax through the process of lengthening your exhalation start first by counting slowly on your next inhalation. If you counted to 5 in your inhalation then you will add 1 or 2 to the count on your exhalation thereby extending the length of the exhalation beyond the inhalation.
Every round will change and gradually you will release the counting part. If you are seated you can also close down your throat or glottis slightly while breathing in this manner, or diaphragmatically, & the vibration created in your throat will help to ease depression & fatigue.
For mood swings and depression daily sunshine is super important as well as exercise...so to walk or lift weights to get the circulatory system going is always a good thing particularly if you can get into a daily schedule.
Also, the physical act of smiling helps to activate & release hormones that aid in enhancing mood. 🥰
I also included some entertaining plant pics for cheering purposes.
There are so many good suggestions here so I'll keep mine short and sweet. Try ashwaganda for the anxiety. For the isolation, try to see it as a spiritual retreat of sorts. Depending on your spiritual bent you might focus on Buddhist meditation, or the Spiritual Exercise of St. Ignatius, or doing classical yoga and mantra meditation, etc.
This is not something that I use but it is something that I do...each day after I wake up I write a short piece that helps me to be grounded and present with what is going on with me. Some days I look for a prompt. It may be about having meaningfulness in life, reflections on my previous week, or what I have to look forward to that day. I jot down things that I am grateful for and why I am grateful for those things. Keeping positive thoughts and ideas in my head helps distract those negative ruminations. I also took part in a study about how to look for things in our everyday life that bring AWE to us, it was very interesting as we learned how to pay Attention to something ordinary and Wait with that attention . Raising eyebrows, smiling at that particular thing and then Exhaling with that feeling of AWE in mind. The AWE stood for Attention Wait and Exhale. It was very interesting to see how the negativity of my depression seemed to fade as I payed more attention to the good or pleasant things that surrounded me. Also practicing self compassion has helped me a great deal as well.
@rbusby01 Thank you for bringing this to light. Yes, I think we all are a little taken back by the unexpected changes that covid has brought about. It gives us a chance to re-evaluate our priorities. The suggestions noted by the other community members: humor, reaching out to like minded people, taking advantage of on line learning, getting outside - all good ideas. Don't forget people in this community are already ahead of the curve. How many times have our ideas have labeled us oddballs? Self-reliance, sustainability, growing your own food, making your own medicines have been outside the norm. Today, we are the heroes of tomorrow. Sweet! Embrace that.
My son has always told me that I was "eccentric" (polite way of saying odd). Okay, I'm good with that. I also can get my food and medicine from the woods, raise and process my own animals and a bunch of other things that have more value than the dollar. Eccentric is a good thing. Feel free to call yourselves "amazing"!
@Nancy Carter thank you for the self compassion notation - using it helps me to keep my balance. So - the focus on compassion and self care - are great concepts to remember. I appreciated your post. Thank you.
Thank you so much Torey for all the suggestions! super helpful :)
Thanks so much Judson! As a practicing Catholic myself, I understand the pain of being separated from the Eucharist. I'm currently living in Central Texas and our churches are open now with precautions. So, being able to go to mass again is very healing to my soul. I hope you can go again soon too :)
Our churches are open, but only at 30% capacity. They added two masses, but if you don't get there early, you cant go in. Most folks here are elderly. They get there very early and need to sit after waiting in line to get in. I'm not going to take a seat or compete with them. Besides, I have bad asthma... so I'm waiting a bit longer.
I also find it helps instead of calling friends or family to use skype or zoom. I didn't realize how much of a difference it makes until I tried it
Thank you so much for all these suggestions! I have noticed focusing on breathing does help! What would I do with Melissa EO. I use essential oils sometimes. Usually topical blends or diffuser. I've heard Melissa is helpful, but haven't tried it yet. 😊
so many great suggestions and so much love poured out here.
It IS to be commended to reach out when you're needing it. and from what I've seen/read thus far, you're not alone and there's lots of love and understanding for you.
I cant emphasize enough about jsut getting outside! the sun, the air, the smells and sounds. Take it all in. BREATHE DEEP.
unplug ESPECIALLY from the news
relaxing Music! easy to get stuck listening to depressing music when you're down, but shake that and find something that actually FEEDS your spirit. ENYA, perhaps? look into Michael Tyrell's Wholetones. he records music of specific frequencies to heal organs, help w/ sleep, anxiet, etc.. There's hour-long 'samples' of it on Youtube. it'll cost you nothing.
Essential oils suggestions:
wild orange +peppermint (clinically proven effective for depression)
any citrus is uplifting and energizing. lots of options. Try lemon, tangerine, mandarin, grapefruit.
finally, dont think anyone's mentioned Grounding yet. simply go barefoot regularly on the ground -- a natural surface, not concrete. if possible, lay down on grass/ground with as much (bare) skin touching as possible. it's fascinating just how much it can do. Search Youtube for "Earthing". You might even catch glimpse of Earthing documentary that came out last year or so. interestingly, the ions on a beach are pretty high, so grounding on a sandy beach is especially good. Dr Mercola does it daily for this reason.
hugs, my fellow TGN community companion.
What a lovely variety of helpful and encouraging suggestions are in this thread!
As an "essential" worker who is working longer/harder than pre-COVID, I have not suffered much from isolation or feeling of lack in my life (although my income WAS negatively affected for awhile). Yes, there was anxiety at first, but recognizing and accepting that this "pandemic" was outside of my control helped me to refocus on what I DO control: my own thoughts, feelings and actions! Instead of getting sucked into the bad news that reverberated on media, I chose to lean into what am able to do (many of these activities were already suggested), and find as much delight as possible in my daily movements.
One of the most helpful actions I took was to invite friends to join in an outdoor circle to share thoughts about how we wish to move forward safely as a local community. This was very empowering, as we came up with good ideas about what we could do, vs. what we have been told we cannot do. I am in an area that has not had wildfire COVID infection, so this felt safe. If you would not feel safe with an in-person circle outdoors, you might consider something similar via an online conferencing platform.
@sunflowerstressrelief Please tell us more about those wild photos! Where are those amazing trees?
Thank you so much for your comment. Strangely enough, I am an energy worker being a Reiki master and certified in Emotion Code/Body Code, along with training in EFT and several other healing modalities. I am also an avid student of Doc Jones in a quest to become an herbalist, growing my own herbs and making them into various medications and such.
All of that being said -- I do a lot better at helping my clients than I do at helping myself. These are long days and I am completely isolated due to being high risk. I am grateful for this thread and will try to remember to follow some of the advice given here.
Another thing that I have found useful is actually a book that was written to help blocked artists. It is called "The Artists Way" and teaches us to write daily. It talks about writing 3 or more longhand pages daily. One of the ideas behind this is that a person is writing so much in volume that eventually one stops writing about the weather and such and eventually starts writing about the things that really matter to them. I call my own writing my "Picture pages" (a written "picture" of me, my thoughts, and my life at any given moment). There are so many benefits to following this practice that I can't list them all here, but it does seem to help with the stress of our current times.
Thanks Nancy. I do this as well in a separate "gratitude journal".
Well, how old r u? I am 77, can relate. What do u eat? I eat ONLY the best for myself, what I choose as unprocessed and most healthy, eliminating many foods (never miss them one bit), say, juicing, my own, such as carrot, beet, green smoothies, but much starchy food and many salads and greens. Yes, strange to some, no dairy or meat, being inflammatory. What u eat: Most important for mental health! Then, move around, walk outside, hug a tree, love nature, barefoot, smell flowers, forest. Some type of exercise, daily, write 3 pages (I like that one, found it here), went to Wholetones, got the tunes (found here) and the forestry site (also found here), then, perhaps most important: have within your own body (called temple in Bible), the very Creator of the Universe, called God (or Jesus, His Name on earth); just, in your kitchen, perhaps, all calm, relaxed, silent, talk to Him, mention your sin, invite Him in, u can 'live in the house of mourning' (Ecclesiastes) and be just fine with it, for all the joy u have within (in Jesus, Holy Spirit!) Truly, GREAT! VICTORY! Just for u! @rbusby01 u have helped me immensely, going over this thread just now, finding so many new ideas and helps, it is God Who confirms in His Way-saying, yes, go this way! U have made me happy, bringing me here with u, being open, vulnerable, TGN, our virtual garden, our therapy & help, though our greatest Help comes from the Lord! Be well!ps. no tv, seriously, & Jesus will show u who is behind our present distress, that is a great boon also.