Why You Get Depressed!

This is my take on depression and why I experienced several episodes of depression.

Whilst there are some medical reasons that cause depression such as chemical imbalances, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease to name but a few, this article relates to Depression caused by lifestyle, environment and / or mindset.  Having dealt with depression on and off for many years, I have turned a corner in the past couple of years, my take on the causes of depression for many is relatively simple.

For me depression is a red flag, a warning  that something is wrong in your life, whether it’s the situation you are in, your environment, your mindset or a combination of these factors.  Whilst this is obvious to most, the key for me is that depression is your body’s (or mind’s) way of telling you something has got to change, in this respect I think depression is actually helpful.

I am not saying it is easy to change, but it can be done, for me I had several triggers for depression over the years, but the main one was my mindset, negative self-talk and feeling trapped.  What I have learned particularly the past 6 months, that it almost does not matter what happens in your life, you have to carry on, you owe it to yourself to fight on and live the best life you can.

You can give in to depression and suffer the consequences of that, which is a pretty miserable existence or you can take action to deal with what it is that is causing you to be in a depressed state.   You have to consider the cause first before you can take action, I believe if you contemplate and reflect, the cause will become clear, you may want to write down your feelings to try to get your answers.  Once you know your why, you can then go about trying to change either your situation or your mindset or often both.

We often make excuses as to why we can’t get out of certain situations, be clear they are excuses, not reasons.  If you are in a bad relationship, you can get out of it, I am not saying it is easy and hardships may initially follow, but the boost to your self-esteem for doing the right thing and the bravery that it takes to get out of a situation that is affecting your wellbeing will help you grow as a person.  This growth will not immediately be felt,  but over time you will slowly take steps to change your situation which feels like a great personal achievement, you will be doing your life a great service.

I know of women who have stayed in abusive, controlling and coercive relationships because of fear, fear of violence, fear of financial loss, fear of the loss of a certain lifestyle.  Staying in a bad situation, compromising your beliefs and values always comes at a cost to your wellbeing?  No lifestyle is worth paying that price.  I know personally I feared violence and financial hardship, the fear of violence was unfounded, my partner was a bully, he became powerless when I finally decided to stand up for myself.  I know there are plenty of women where the threats are very real, in these cases I would advise to seek professional help.  There will be local groups in your area, I used one local to me who gave me great advice with the primary aim of keeping me safe, along with that came excellent support which really gave me the strength to get out of the situation that was making me depressed and anxious.

I won’t lie the financial hardship followed, but I am now in a position where I am dealing with these and slowly but surely am feeling better off.  I am grateful for everything that I have and I have more than a lot of women out there, yes at the moment, I will probably be in debt until the day I die, I am doing everything I can to change this, but regardless I am no longer looking at my debt with anxiety, I did seek help from StepChange.org and whilst it was a very emotional time when I finally admitted I couldn’t carry on with the level of debit I was paying.   I was paying my debts, then living off credit cards, it was only when I ran out of credit that I admitted I had a serious problem, that is when I sought help.

Despite all this, I have freedom from a bad relationship that caused my more psychological damage that I cared to admit, damage I have mostly come through, not through counselling or therapy but through reflection, self care and self-love.  A weight has been lifted,, because i am living a life of my choice, it has taken a few years but my personal growth or awakening has been staggering, I look back at the person I used to be and don’t recognise myself.  I hit rock bottom but I never could of imagined the progress I have made, this progress took effort and time, it does not happen overnight, I associate my progress with focusing on improving my mindset.  I look back and am grateful for the bad relationship I had for it has taught me so much about myself.

I was depressed because I ignored my own feelings, I was unhappy but thought I had no choice, I felt trapped.  Don’t get me wrong this man was not all bad, he was a Jekyll and Hyde character which is probably why I put up with so much for so long.  When I realised I deserved better, that’s when I started taking action to get out of the situation, it was not easy, it took time and I still have a way to go, but I am in such a good place right now, things aren’t great but I know things are a world away from how they was and I will continue to grow as a person.  I have hope for the future.

For years I had lost myself, I was so suppressed, walking on eggshells, I didn’t even know what I liked anymore.  I have so much more awareness of myself and I accept my good and bad traits, I care less and less what people think, this doesn’t mean I disrespect people but if people don’t like or accept me its absolutely fine by me, I just don’t spend time with these people.  I do what’s best for me, what feels good to me, it’s that simple.

My advice to anyone either suffering from depression or being in a situation that causes them to feel bad or anxious is to listen to your gut, just like physical pain is telling you something is wrong with your body, emotional pain is a warning something is wrong, face your fears and you will reap rewards.   I would rather be poor and happy than rich and depressed.

The main difference in me now is I am more spiritual, I trust the universe and that everything that happens to me is for my benefit, that goes for good and bad things.  If someone upsets me, I feel sorry for them because if someone is nasty it is they that are in a ‘bad place’ not you, so I recover from setbacks very quickly now.

I face the prospect of redundancy in 12 months time, I am not worried about this, I will use that as an opportunity for a career change, I want to work with animals and am laying the foundations for this now.  I am currently volunteering in my spare time at an animal rescue with farm animals, dogs and cats, I am looking at a second volunteer opportunity with dogs, apart from enjoying my time on the rescue farm I am preparing for my career change by gaining experience and I’m currently exploring my options of getting qualifications in animal care.  I am no longer waiting for a lottery win to change my life, I am changing it anyway!

Advertisements

Why Failure is a Good Thing!

Failure is a good thing, if you don’t give up, even if you repeatedly fail, it can mean you are moving closer to your dream.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Failure – Good or Bad?

Most of us seem to associate failure as a bad thing, but if you talk to most successful people, they will probably tell you of their many so-called ‘failures’ and ‘rejections’.  By success, I mean whatever success means to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean fame or wealth.  Your idea of success will be based around your core values.  If ‘success’ was easy, it would not be worth having or at least it would have little value to you, you simply would not appreciate it and that is something we all do, until whatever we have is gone.

“99 percent of success is built on failure.” – Charles Kettering

What Failure Means to you

The Oxford Dictionary online  gives 3 explanations; 1. Lack of Success, 2. The neglect or omission of expected or required action, 3. The action or state of not functioning.  Failure is simply describing a moment in time, yes in terms of someone’s heart failing, that will be permanent, but in terms of ‘lacking success’, it is not. Just because you fail at something once, twice or a hundred times, it does not mean that you will never succeed, in fact each failure means you are getting closer to success and if your mind truly believes that, you will achieve your goal.

“The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” – Thomas Watson, (Founder of IBM)

Dedicate Yourself

The things we work the hardest for are the most rewarding, even if we consistently fail, each failure is a lesson, but failure can be disheartening, when we lose sight of what we are striving for.  This is why it is important to keep the end goal in mind in difficult times.  The lyrics of The Script’s ‘Hall of Fame’ comes to mind ‘you can be the greatest, you can be the best, you can be the king kong banging on your chest ……. dedicate yourself and you could find yourself living in the hall of fame ……….’ Dedicate yourself to ‘your’ cause, whatever that is.

“I failed my way to success.” – Thomas Edison

Successful Failures

I know this is stating the ‘bleeding obvious’ but most successful people have previous failures under their belt, whereas had they given up, they would have never succeeded in what they did.  Some famous ‘failures’ that never gave up and it paid off include; J. K. Rowling, Harrison Ford, Stephen King, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Elvis, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein ………. the list goes on and on.  For every famous ‘successful failure’, there will be many ordinary men and women that have been their own heroes, that have carried on regardless, despite obstacles in their path.

“Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.” – Robert H. Schuller

Be Inspired

I don’t know about you, but knowing the above extremely successful people in their field did not have an easy ride, but reached their destination regardless, really inspires me.  It gives me hope that my life can change, if I never give up.

“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” – C. S. Lewis

Believe in Yourself

So what do these ‘successful failures’ have that differ from those of us that do give up, I believe they have, above anything else an unshakable self-belief and this belief drives their determination to follow their dream, making the rejections and obstacles they face merely stepping-stones and learning curves in achieving what they want.

“When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work.” – George Bernard Shaw

Change Your Perspective

The lesson here is to take a different perspective on failure, failure is merely a chapter, not a book.  I now view failure not as the end of the road, but as another step taking me closer to my dreams.

If nothing else, try to take a piece of inspiration from this article and you too may be living in your own ‘hall of fame’ wherever that may be.

 

Ways To Simplify Your Life ‘Reduce The Traffic!’

These are some of the things I do to be more organised and make life that little bit easier

These are some things I do, partially do or aspire to, which help me to be more organised, therefore making my life just that little bit simpler, these are mainly recent things I have implemented.  Some of these are just common sense, but sometimes we all need reminding.  I hope you  take on board and apply some of them to simplify your life, if you don’t already:

Go Paperless

  • Go paperless with any online accounts such as banks and utility bills, most have the option to turn on paperless.
  • Write to the companies / organizations that don’t provide the online paperless option, advising them you do not wish to receive correspondence via post but want to receive via email, advise them that you want to reduce your carbon footprint on the environment, they should do this as it will save them money in paper, postage etc.  Click to download Email Correspondence Template for my free template to get you started.
  • I have created folders in my email account, e.g. Bills, then sub-folders e.g. Gas, Water etc. and as correspondence comes I simply move to the appropriate folder.  I now have copies of all correspondence that is super easy to find.

Top Tip

You can also get a door sign from Amazon, requesting no junk mail, cold callers etc.  I like this one, it’s clear and discreet, £5.50 with free delivery, click link ‘No Junk Mail / Cold Callers Sign’  

Digital Storage

  • For those physical documents you already have or can’t go paperless with, invest in a small home scanner. You can scan and save documents electronically, don’t forget to back up in case your computer crashes.  Alternatively you can take a photograph of the document on your phone and download on to your computer.

Top Tip

It works out cheaper to purchase a printer with built-in scanner than a stand alone scanner for home use.  I have this one, it’s cheap and does the job ‘Canon MG3050 All in One Printer’

Journeys

  • Try to plan your journeys to do your errands in one go, plan your week and put in your diary, phone, calendar or whatever method you use to remember things to do. This will not only save on petrol, but time also.  This is even more efficient if you haven’t got a car.  By doing this you will be super productive, a top achiever some might say, well mainly me!

Top Tip

If anyone else is going your way, for example the post office and you need stamps, ask them to get them for you.

Online Shopping

  • Order your shopping online, create a favorites or shopping list in your favorite online supermarket. This reduces petrol, time, you don’t forget essentials and you tend not to be tempted by extras such as cream cakes, as if I would!

Top Tip

I have a complete list of all foods, toiletries etc. that I order and simply add to trolley delete off what I don’t need that week.

Pre-Scheduling Appointments

Okay, this is for the obsessive compulsive organizer, don’t look at me!

  • Book your regular appointments for 6-12 months in advance, this will work for hairdressing appointments, dog grooming, dentist, health checks etc.
  • Type them out to give to your hairdresser for example, put them in your diary, phone, or calendar. This avoids not being able to get the appointment date / time you want.

Top Tip

Set reminders in your calendar / Phone just so you don’t forget because they were booked so far in advance,

Meal Planning / Prepping

  • Plan your meals at least one week ahead if you can, you can then prep to make your working week easier. I often cook 2 or 3 meals in one go, for example if I make cottage pie, I make three, have one that night, one for dinner the next day at work and one for the following evening, some people would not like the same meal on the run like that, but I don’t mind it because I enjoy the meal.
  • Also prepare your work lunch the night before, this feels so good knowing you are saving precious morning time and money too.

Top Tip

I also prepare my smoothies by putting my frozen fruit and veg in a smoothie cup in the fridge, so in the morning I just have to add the liquid, blend and take to work, I have as soon as I get to work, easy, healthy and delicious too!

Birthdays and Occasions

  • Go to the card shop and buy all your birthday cards in one go, you have them in then for the year.

Top Tip

If you gifting cash or gift cards buy one each payday and put in relevant card, just make sure the expiry date on the gift card won’t expire.

Planners and Diaries

Oh my god, don’t you just love planners!

  • Plan your week ahead, I have a notebook where I brain dump everything, this evolves over time, some I add some I remove because I have changed my mind or simply don’t need to do anymore.
  • Use a planner or diary and once a week go through your brain dump and schedule some ‘to do’s in your diary.  For sheer beauty and to increase productivity I recommend the Deluxe Law of Attraction Planner by Freedom Mastery, it is undated and I use Frixion pens, so writing can be erased, click link ‘Deluxe Law of Attraction Planner’ and this link for ‘Frixion Pens’
  • Some people put three tasks a day in their planner, it really depends how big the tasks are (even after they are broken down).  I find I work best if I put one task in that is aligned with my goals, if I am having a particularly productive day, I will do things scheduled for other days.

Top Tips

I tend not to use my planner for menial must do things like cleaning tasks.  I put these on one sticky note in my planner so it does not fill my planner.

De-cluttering

  • Try to make de-cluttering part of your weekly schedule, Some people like to blitz the de-cluttering, this doesn’t work for me, I am little and often as clutter periodically builds up again.
  • De-clutter by category, e.g. clothes or books, this keeps it simple and ensures you don’t make more of a mess trying to sort everything at once.

Top Tip

Keep a bag in your wardrobe (out of sight) for charity, so that whenever you have a little de-cluttering session, put it in,then when a charity comes to collect you have items already sorted or you can drop off at the charity shop whilst out on your errands. 

Emails

  • Unsubscribe from emails you don’t want and schedule in deal with, file, delete or junk your emails at least weekly, you can even do this on your phone when you have some downtime, in a queue, waiting for a bus, the doctor’s surgery etc.

Top Tip

Stop over-subscribing to websites, add a site to your reading list if you want to revisit, don’t subscribe just so you remember to return to it.

Pomodoro Method

  • I use the pomodoro method to do things I really don’t want to do, for example I set timers on my watch say for 10 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins or 1 hour depending on what I am doing.  So when I really need to iron (because I have no clothes), I set my timer for at least 10 mins, sometimes 20 mins, you iron quicker as it’s a race against the clock, I find this method works very well for me, occasionally I even keep going once the time is up (Yaay me!)
  • To find out if the Pomodoro method can work for you, click link https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/the-pomodoro-technique-is-it-right-for-you.html

Top Tip

Use the timer on your phone to apply the pomodoro method.

Create a Capsule Wardrobe

  • I admit this is still on my wish list, once I started to research it seamed more complicated than I thought.  However I have implemented some aspects, my colour palette has reduced from the colours of the rainbow to black, white, blue and pink and everything coordinates much better.  I have also sold about 40 items of clothing, shoes and bags on Ebay, so my clothes don’t need ironing again once hung.  I have lost count of how much I give to charity but overall I have taken the first steps to a capsule wardrobe.

Top Tip

Start selling on Ebay, if you don’t already, it’s not a great way to make money, but it’s a great way to de-clutter.

Social media

  • I must admit, I am not a great fan of social media, I just find unless you are extremely disciplined, you can waste a lot of hours with no output.  Whatever social media platform it is, ask yourself do you use it? is it good for you? or do you waste time?  I recently deleted my Facebook account, because it didn’t add any real value to my life so after saying for a long time I would delete I finally did.

Top Tip

Facebook allows you to save all your content into one file including pictures before you delete your account, so you won’t lose everything

Learn to say “No”

  • Learn to say no to things you do not really want to do, if other people are regularly taking up your time or you feel obliged to attend an event or accompany someone and you don’t want to, learn to say no. This is your life, do what you want to do.

Top Tip

Practice saying no in a nice but assertive way, have excuses ready.

Simple Minds

  • Apart from the physical stuff, it is important to reduce the mental traffic.  The world we live in feeds our brain with stimuli overload.  The best way to do this is through mindfulness, particularly meditation.  I did an online course for ‘Wellbeing and Peak Performance’ on Future Learn  it’s completely free,
  • I also like the apps ‘Headspace’ and ‘Calm’
  • Get rid (and I don’t mean kill) the people who drain you, you know, the negative people who drain your brain or at least reduce the amount of time you spend with them.

Top Tip

Make your bed every morning, I don’t know why this reduces the traffic in your head but it works for me.

Prepare the night before

  • Pick out, lay out or hang out your clothes the night before, again I don’t know why this works but it does, it gives you that organized feeling first thing in the morning, what better way to start the day.

Top Tip

Check the weather forecast the night before, so you don’t put that dress on that easily rises with a gust of wind :O

Be an Early Riser

  • I am usually up by 6.00am, for someone who when I was younger used to sleep until midday, this is major for me, but it just goes to show people can change with practice.
  • Although I do slip at the weekends, my aim is to eventually get up at 5am, 7 days a week and use that time for me; meditation, exercise, yoga, journaling, gratitude, walking, all things that are not only good for me, but make me feel good.

Top Tip

Choose an ideal time you would like to get out of bed and slowly work towards it, start with getting up 10 minutes earlier than usual for one week, then 15 minutes etc. until you reach your chosen ideal time.

Final Tip

Only keep things you want, love or need!

# Challenge

My challenge to you is to choose one of the above ideas and start to implement, for example, if you want to write to companies to request they correspond by email, start now by writing a list who you want to write to.  Choose an idea that you feel will have either the biggest impact or you find the easiest to do, it doesn’t matter, it’s up to you. Take action, any action, just make a start.  Taking action feels so good, especially if it makes your life easier, because lets face it, life can be pretty overwhelming at times.  Good Luck!

Final Thoughts!

Don’t forget with all the free time and head space you clear from doing the above, make time for yourself, read, pamper yourself or let someone else pamper you, whatever it is you like to do to relax, do it!