January 24th is on record as being the most depressing day of the year. On this day, suicide rates spike, reports of student apathy are at their highest and those suffering from mental health issues are at greater risk for behaviours that put their wellness at risk. This happens as we ease ourselves deeper into the winter months, and away from the light of earth’s greatest star; the sun. During this time, we yearn for the warmth and freedom of the summer. Often this yearning creates a void in our mind, leaving space for loneliness, sadness and ultimately, depression. Some things come to mind in considering this….Here are 4 manageable steps to enhancing your own personal resilience and wellbeing:
- Clean out mental and emotional clutter. A New Year brings new beginnings. This is a wonderful time to let go of anything that is not serving you physically or emotionally. Mental and emotional clutter can include thoughts, patterns of behaviour or emotional toxins that are hampering your wellness. The first step to the cleansing process is having an awareness of what you are holding on to that is not serving you. Set an intention for letting go and moving forward. Kambo treatments are an ideal way to cleanse your body of emotional and physical impurities. These impurities accumulate in our bodies and deny us of living a healthy and balanced life. When we begin to feel burdened by negative thought or action, Kambo will help us let go of what is holding us back. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/kambo-ceremony-alcoholism-purging-uk
- Be generous to yourself. Treat yourself with the kindness that you often afford others by forgiving yourself for mistakes you have made, and give yourself the space and time to move through the difficult phases. Make time to enjoy simple pleasures in life: a winter hike through the forest, a chat with a friend at a local coffeehouse, or treat yourself to a new indoor plant that you can nurture.
- Choose to avoid things that are detrimental to your wellbeing. Our personal resources are often stretched very thin over the holidays and we begin to resent the commitments we have made for ourselves. Resolve to avoid anything that you feel takes away from your health and happiness. When scheduling a commitment, ask yourself if the event gives your heart great joy, or if it makes you feel vulnerable or worn-out. Give yourself permission to say no.
- Learn something new. Our attempt to try something new can be not only uplifting to our spirits, but also rewire our ever-changing brain. Studies by Olena Bukalo and Doug Fields, neuroscientists at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, found that brain cells involved in learning a new skill are stronger and the neurons are more tightly wound together. Areas of the brain are activated when we perform any given task. Since our brains evolve along with our skills, I try to choose one new skill to learn every 6 months. This can be mastering a new pose in yoga class, a new piece on the piano, or a new recipe for a home-cooked meal for my family. The sense of accomplishment in meeting my goal reinforces my sense of self-worth, enhancing my emotional wellbeing. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/Pages/index.aspx
Here’s to beginning this new year by finding a gentle path, taking small and manageable steps to overall wellness and, ultimately, finding our highest and best self!
For further reading on ancient cures for depression: The Ancient Cure for Depression