A Checklist For People With Depression (So You Can Get Out Of Your Funk ASAP)

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The Depression Checklist
Self

How to help yourself out of the darkness and back into life.

Having been through many bouts of depression myself — some severe and some more like a lingering sadness — I have found that there are a few basics that need to be in place for you to keep your emotions balanced and to get the most out of your depression.

And so I have created a depression checklist for myself to ensure that I take the necessary steps to get myself out of the black hole and back into life with my kids.

I hope you will find this list of depression treatments useful and keep it handy for the next time that the bad mood fairy comes visiting you or your family!

PHYSICAL

☐ Exercise/Movement: Are you moving or exercising regularly? This doesn’t have to be a major gym session — just a walk round the block or a short dance in the lounge. Even just wearing a step counter helps to make sure that you are keeping the energy flowing. Exercise is the most effective and also the most underutilized anti-depressant.

☐ Diet: Are you eating correctly? Are you limiting sugar (including alcohol) and refined carbs? Are you getting enough protein and fats? Do you have enough variety in your diet to ensure that you're getting everything you need?

Are you drinking enough water? Keeping a 2-litre bottle of water on your desk and finishing it within the day helps to keep track of this. There are also fun water apps available.

Is your gut healthy? There is ample evidence that gut health influences emotional and psychological well-being. If you feel my digestion is not at 100 percent, take digestive enzymes and probiotics to balance it out again. If it’s really bad, take L’Gluthamine to heal the gut lining.

RELATED: 7 Surprising Things That Make Your Depression Even WORSE

Are you supplementing enough? If you're feeling down, increase your daily dose of Omega 3’s to at least 3 times the recommended dose. Also, take Magnesium at night and high doses of Vitamin D in the morning. Omegas, Magnesium and Vitamin D all support the nervous system to function optimally.

Do you have inflammation in the body? You can tell by aching joints, allergic reactions, or poor digestion. Deal with this by cutting down on all grains and legumes, cutting out dairy, eating only grass-fed and free-range meats, and drinking turmeric tea.

Are there any possible toxins that you're ingesting? Have you eaten too much tuna or other fish that could have high mercury contents? Are there pesticides in your food? Are you using too much plastic or consuming too many goods that have been wrapped and stored in plastic? Toxic exposure can affect both hormonal and emotional well-being.

 
☐ Illness: Certain illnesses (like flu and migraines) can leave a lingering feeling of depression for a time afterward. Know that this will pass. Some medications also have depression as a side effect. In this case, speak to your prescribing doctor.
 
☐ Energy levels: Are you tired? Are you getting to bed early enough and sleeping until you're ready to wake up (without an alarm)? Are you taking sufficient time off? Are you looking after your own needs or only everyone else’s? Do you need a holiday? Can you take a day or two off and have a long weekend?

☐ Stress levels: Are you actively managing my stress levels? Are you doing some form of meditation or breathing daily? Are you bringing you cortisol levels down with the V position and using the Learning State to calm your system down? (Sign up for my newsletter for a description of how to use these tools.)

☐ Hormones: Is this a time of the month thing? Keep track of your cycle so you're aware of how your mood changes at different times of the month. Take note of anything that really upsets you when you're pre-menstrual and make a note to work on this during the month when you're calmer. Often the things that come up during PMS are things that we have been ignoring or brushing over the rest of the time.

☐ Appearance: Are you happy with the way you look right now? Do you need a haircut? Do you need to clear out some unsexy clothes or wax your legs or go for a manicure? How we look can affect how we feel — this is why actors do dress rehearsals. Dressing and looking like you’re feeling good often helps to set the scene for actually feeling that way.


 
EXISTENTIAL

☐ Purpose: Do you feel like you are on track and that you have meaning and purpose in life? If not, redo your values worksheet and see what has changed and if you can, tweak what you're doing to be more in line with your true calling. (If you want to learn how to figure out your true values and use these to enhance your purpose in life, book a two-hour session with me and I'll help you to figure this out.)

☐ Boredom: Are you bored and/or under stimulated? Do you need to take a new course or read a new book or anything else to enhance your mental well-being? Have you slipped into bad habits of watching series instead of learning new and exciting things?

☐ Daily Grind: Have you got caught up in too many trivial daily tasks that are not high priorities and that have you feeling like you're on the hamster wheel of meaninglessness? See which tasks you can delegate, which you can eliminate, and which you need to link to your highest values so that you can do them with gratitude instead of with resentment.

☐ Goals: Do you have current inspiring goals and vision? Find one thing to get excited about — put up pictures of it — and start working towards it. Take baby steps.


 
SITUATIONAL/ENVIRONMENT

☐ Trauma: Are there any current traumatic events — kids sick, accidents, deaths, or financial problems? Are you able to work through these things on my own or do you need to seek the help of a friend or professional? Make a list of the benefits of the current situation and how it is helping you grow, learn, progress, and change. 

☐ Seasonal: Is it not your favorite season? Is there anything you can do to make yourself more comfortable until the season changes?

☐ Socio-political: Are you being drawn in by other people’s fears and concerns about the future? Stop watching or listening to the news, focus on nature rather than headline posters, request a change of subject in social situations or point out the positive side.

☐ Clutter: Is my environment clutter free and a pleasure to be in? Do I need to clear out old stuff and shift the energy in my space a bit? I know that chaos around me makes it harder for me to feel internally at peace. Even cleaning up a small area or clearing out one drawer or cupboard can make a shift.

RELATED: 7 Easy Steps to Get Rid Of Stuff (Even When You Think You Just Can't Do It)

☐ Music: What music are you listening to? We tend to listen to music that reflects our mood, but this can also take us further down the spiral. Have a few mixes with uplifting, positive messages and upbeat sounds that you can put on if you need a mood lifter.

☐ Toxins: Have you recently done any painting? Or changed household products? Or beauty products? Toxins in the environment or in our products can affect our general health and emotional well-being.


 
FAMILY AND FRIENDS

☐ Connection: Do you feel a close connection with the people in your life? Are you spending decent quality time with the people who care about you? Are you getting enough hugs in a day? Do you have someone to talk to who will really listen? Are you all spending too much time behind screens and not enough connecting in person? Make connection a priority.

☐ Fun: Are you having fun with the people around you? Are you doing things together that you enjoy? Or is it all hard work and schedules and no time for spontaneity?

☐ Time: Do you feel like you don’t have time to do the important things in life like connecting with your family? What irrelevant things can you drop from my life that would free up some time? Are there things you can delegate?

☐ Worries: Are there specific things that you're worried about in terms of my family or kids? Are there any action steps that you can take to alleviate some of the concerns?

FAULTY THINKING

☐ Assumptions: Are you making false assumptions about the people or situations around you (for example, that the mess in the house means that nobody cares about you and what is important to you)? Take time to really examine what you're thinking and believing and if it is really true. Use Byron Katie’s questioning process to get your thinking back in line with reality. (See my articles on Parenting Myths to find some examples on how to use Byron Katie's Work.)

☐ Perfectionism: Are you expecting too much of yourself? Are you focusing on your failures rather than learning from them? Are you being too hard on yourself?

☐ Fantasy: Are you focusing on a fantasy of how your life "should" look or how you wish it would be instead of having gratitude for how it is? Keeping a gratitude journal daily goes a long way to making sure you're aware of how wonderful your life really is even if it doesn’t fit the ideal image in your head.

☐ Depression is bad: Do you believe that this depression is bad? Can you see the gifts that it is bringing in helping you redefine priorities, delegate tasks you don't enjoy, reassess your life, and make sure that you are healthy and focused on your goals? Can you appreciate that you need down times to help you grow and to keep you on track? If not, make a list of the benefits that you're getting from feeling bad and the drawbacks of always feeling good.

Work slowly through this list and make whichever changes you feel you can manage at the time, and adding the others one by one. Every small change helps lighten the load and gives you the energy to tackle the next thing on the list.

The main point is to take some form of action. Doing nothing makes us feel even more hopeless, helpless and out of control. Taking any action helps you to feel empowered.

So start anywhere on the list, but start somewhere. Depression, honestly, is a gift to make sure that you stay on track in your life and keep moving onward and upward. It is your barometer to ensure that you can forecast a meaningful and fulfilling life ahead (even if your current moment kinda sucks!).

Mia Von Scha works part-time at an Ibogaine Treatment Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ibogaine is known for it's amazing ability to transform depression and anxiety through rebalancing the brain and providing life insights needed for change. Find out about how Ibogaine can transform your depression.

Watch Dr. Susan Heilter's TED Talk on overcoming depression without using medication.

This article was originally published at Sangfroid Ibogaine Sanctuary. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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