Control Your Morning – Win the Day

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I used to lay in bed, kept hitting snooze, rolling over and snuggling up even tighter in my blankets not wanting to start the day. My mind, immediately upon waking, started with negative thoughts: I don’t want to get up, F&*k it’s that time already, and a whole lot of other shitty thoughts. By the time I actually get my ass out of bed, I have started my day in a shitty mood and my mind full of negativity. That’s what living with depression starts out like in the morning; and the day that followed kept the same mood flowing all day.

That’s what no control looks like. I let my negative thoughts lead my life. One day, I said no more. I am taking control of thoughts, my mind, my life. Through research and reading, I found that successful and happy people had many things in common and one of those is they take control of their morning with a routine that sets them up for success. I made a conscious choice to wake with certain thoughts and take certain actions that would help me start my day in a positive way.

Here are 6 habits I have adopted in my morning to set my day up to win.

  1. My first thought when the alarm goes off is “I am grateful to wake up today. I am grateful I get this day with my husband and family. It’s going to be a great day.” Honesty disclaimer: I still would rather roll over and stay in bed. I really like my bed; but my mind no longer thinks about that. I do not allow negative thoughts in my mind and I focus on gratitude.
  2. Personal Development Reading. I read for at least 15 minutes in the morning. It sets my mind up to look for ways to grow in my life and set my mindset to serve others.
  3. Journal. I take at least 10 minutes to journal. I start with 3 things I’m grateful for, 3 things that would make the day great and then affirmations. This trains my mind to focus on the positive, on the person I want to be and what I want to do.
  4. Drink water. Our bodies wake dehydrated. To get my body awake on the inside, I drink a bottle of water when I wake. Honesty disclaimer: Then I reach for my morning cup of coffee 🙂
  5. Exercise. Exercising for even just a few minutes in the morning significantly boosts my energy, enhances my health, improves self-confidence, emotional well-being and enables my brain to function better. Exercise has become my new medicine for depression.
  6. Breakfast. Our bodies has been fasting for hours and needs fuel to get moving. My morning breakfast is a delicious super-food smoothie. This makes it simple to make, it includes foods that fuel my body and brain. This has been integral to my healing.

Creating a routine that includes all of these habits has helped my defeat depression. It changes my mindset when I take action. It changes my mindset because I am consciously controlling my thoughts and not slipping into my old negative thought patterns. It changes how I feel overall. My body feels good and I mentally feel good, because I have accomplished something to begin the day.

Try it for 21 days  (the amount of time the “experts” say it takes to create a new habit). You have nothing to lose, everything to gain.

If you have any questions or want help to set up a morning routine that will work for you, please message me. Nothing brings me greater joy than to share what I’ve learned about defeating depression and living a happy, purposeful life.

Wishing you blue skies and sunshine,

Dawn

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Exercise Helped Me Defeat Depression – It Can Help You Too!

designWhen I decided to take an active role in defeating depression, I did hundreds of hours of reading and researching. I knew I had to make big changes in my life, create new habits and create new thoughts. I came across two books that ‘spoke’ to me: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. The Miracle Morning is based on creating a morning routine that includes Silence, Affirmations, Visualizations, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing (SAVERS). I knew that starting the day differently would help me start the day with a more positive mindset, a different mindset. So this is where I started. I will get into the SAVRS in another post. This post is about the E.

But, I have to admit that exercise is of one of the hardest habits I started on my journey to take control of my life and defeat depression. It was also the most profound in helping me. This wasn’t about losing weight. This was about making healthy decisions for my body and mind that would be empowering, boost my self-confidence, and positively impact all areas of your life. It was much easier said than done. Motivation runs out and excuses get easier. I knew I had to just do it now matter how I felt. What I found was working out in the morning is energizing! It is also mentally satisfying, because it’s something BIG accomplished early and it give me the feeling that I can do anything that day! This was HUGE for me!

The problem I had when I started was that I knew I wanted to exercise at home. I didn’t want to drive to a gym in the morning. I don’t like working out at the gym. I know this because my husband is in the gym 4-5 days a week. I would go with him sometimes and I just find it intimidating. Having always been filled with self-doubt, I felt like I was doing things wrong, or I was self-conscious that didn’t look as good as the other ladies. It just added my more anxiety to my life instead of making me feel better. So, I started using YouTube videos and it worked fine; but it was still lots of work to find the days workout.

I was fortunate to stumble across a health and fitness coach who uses Beachbody programs, and said yes to that online workout program (hundreds of workouts), yes to proper nutrition, and yes to myself. The workouts are easy to stream on my TV or laptop, there are so many options, there are schedules (which I need) within each program, there are modifications in the workouts for beginners (like me), meal plans, recipes and lots of motivation. I needed EASY because I am really good at excuses. Having to only hit play and follow made it much harder to come up with excuses that I could live with.

What I also got was an amazing group of women on their fitness and wellness journey, too. I became part of an online community that supports each other, cheers each other on, and we even workout together online sometimes. I have made some wonderful friends along the way. I have learned that I am stronger than I believed I was (depression does that). I have learned that almost everyone has something they struggle with. I wasn’t alone in struggling with depression and self-doubt. I’ve been part of this group for one year now and not sure if I could have stayed committed without them.

I feel so strongly about how much this has helped me, that I have said YES to being a wellness coach with this fitness company. I am empowered by how it helped me defeat depression and I have to share it with everyone who is on a journey to feel better and stronger (mentally and physically), who are looking for a stepping stone for an overall happy, healthy life.

 

 

First Signs of Depression to Healing…..How I Changed My Life and You Can, too!

 

I’m so grateful to Laura Milkins who hosts The Depression Session  for interviewing me so I can share my story of depression on her live radio show and her podcast, Laura is on a mission to change the stigma of mental illness and depression by sharing stories of everyday people and their journey with depression.

I was excited to find someone who was also passionate about changing the stigma of depression. This is my passion; and also to help women on a path to wellness through routine, personal development, health and fitness.

I literally defeated depression by fueling my body with clean food that optimized my brain health and changed its chemistry, by exercising daily to make my body better and also produce the ‘happy’ chemicals our brains need to produce, and by spending time every day om personal development.

I want to help you do this, too. Please message me if you are looking for change in your life.

Here’s the link to the podcast:

The Depression Session – My Interview – My Depression Story

Meditating Your Way to Happiness

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When your brain works right, you work right. When your brain is troubled, you are most likely having trouble in life. Simple. It takes a healthy brain to be happy and to make better decisions. But, how do we get it healthy?

We get our brain healthy just like we do the rest of our body – with nutrition, exercise and healthy habits. Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. I don’t claim to be. I’m just a woman who has been struggling with depression for over 10 years and I’ve decided to do everything I can in my power to feel better. This blog is sharing what I’ve discovered, what is working for me and hopefully inspiring others to share.

One of the healthy habits I’ve started is meditation. It has become a part of my morning routine (thanks to Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning, you can get the first 2 chapters free on Hal’s website: http://halelrod.com/books/).  Studies have shown that meditation boosts blood flow to the prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is involved in a wide variety of functions, including:

– Coordinating and adjusting complex behavior
– Impulse control and control and organization of emotional reactions
– Personality
– Focusing and organizing attention
– Complex planning
– Considering and prioritizing competing and simultaneous information; the ability to ignore external distractions is partially influenced by the prefrontal cortex

After 8 weeks of daily meditation, the increased blood flow created a stronger prefrontal cortex at and also helped increase memories of those being studied.

It makes sense, when you think about your heart and blood flow. When blood flow is decrease the heart doesn’t work very well. When the blood flow is optimal (no restrictions, no blockages, no cholesterol build up) the heart is very healthy, the person is healthy. The same blood flow applies to the brain and every other organ in our body.

Give it a try, even for just 5 minutes a day. You have nothing to lose, it’s free! The worse thing that can happen is that you spent 5 minutes in silence with yourself. 🙂

Here are few places I started:

https://www.artofliving.org/us-en/8-tips-get-started-meditation

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-42/Meditation-Techniques-for-Beginners-5-Easy-Tips.html

http://www.chopra.com/articles/start-here-5-meditation-styles-for-beginners#sm.00016hcarl38ye3qy3n14ae6bqswe

Would love to hear from you after you try meditation and also from those that already practice this. I’m still very much a beginner; but I feel the benefits! It has been a key part of my overcoming my depression.

Blue skies and sunshine,

Dawn xo

Depression is My Gift

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I’m on a mission this year to transform my life and the lives of others seeking change. We all have a special gift. Those that use their gift, I believe, are blessed. That’s one of my goals: use my gifts to bless others.

I discovered my gifts when I hit my bottom emotionally. It’s then it hit me that I have gone through the events and trials in my life to gain strength, wisdom, empathy and use my life story to help other women.

I have depression. I thought it made me weak. I thought that because I couldn’t rid myself of the depression that I wasn’t good enough. So I hid it. I put on a great disguise; but it caused me to have low self esteem, to hide, to not be the person who I was put here to be.

It wasn’t until suffering the loss of my mother to cancer, my two only sisters to fast progressive disease, my father to heart failure (all at way too young ages), a divorce after 23 years, and hitting rock bottom financially that I feel like I have risen from the ashes and have to help others trying to find their way through depression and grief.

I’ve discovered that my gift is my story, my desire to lift other women, my will to make life the beautiful gift that it is.

So happy to be challenged by several beautiful woman in my life to be transparent and strong.

~ Wishing you blue skies and sunshine!

#GetGutsy #TribeBuildingChallengeDay1

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind?

I just don’t want to feel depressed anymore! What can I do?

Found out that I can do A LOT!

The light bulb went off in my head after trying a new medication. The medication helped me focus at first, but the side effects of feeling drugged and feeling nothing weren’t worth it. I hated it. Then it hit me! Why was I looking to medication first to fix my mind?

I think of it applied to, say, my car. When it runs out of gas, I don’t take it to the shop and ask for a new engine or a major repair. I instead, give it the proper fuel it needs and the car runs fine again. Or at an oil change, I request the high mileage oil because it helps the engine in my car run better than the low mile, low quality oil. I want the car to run well, so I put the best fuel in it and take care of it with regular maintenance.

I am doing some things to try to manage depression, like my morning routine, SAVERS, which I will share more on in another post. When I have bad days, though, my first thoughts are that my medication may need to be adjusted, or maybe try another one.

WHY did I not think to change my fuel?

WHY did I  not think I needed more “maintenance” aka exercise?

Maybe because I wanted an easy solution. Maybe because I just didn’t connect the dots.

In any case, I wasn’t doing that with my body which fuels my mind. I was eating kind of healthy and exercising kind of regular; which gave me kind of an OK result. I don’t want to feel OK. I want to feel good….. GREAT! So, when I realized I wasn’t giving my body all of the nutrients it needs to operate at its best, I set out to change it. I spent hours researching food nutrients, what my body needs, what helps boost the brain; and I created a list of foods I need everyday. It’s a process and I am spending 30 minutes everyday learning more and creating meal plans that fuel my body and mind (I will post this information in future posts).

I have also added at least 30 minutes of exercise a day into my schedule. This is a priority and cannot be skipped. I know that doing this daily will make me feel better mentally, and also make my body stronger and healthier. It’s just like taking my medication daily. I don’t skip that, so why would I skip exercise?

I guess its about taking responsibility for my mental health and doing everything I can to ward off depression. Instead of being passive and just letting life happen, letting depression happen; I am becoming an active participant in how I feel.  I have the power! I know I can’t just delete depression from my life; but I sure as hell can put up a better fight!

 

Depression: Struggling in Silence

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Why do we hide that we have depression? I can only answer for myself and it’s because I didn’t want people to look at me and see weakness. I didn’t want to be judged. I wanted people to think I had it all together. I wanted to believe I had it all together.

I had the best job in the world: I was a stay-at-home mom with 5 children, all active in sports, in 3 different schools, and managing our large suburban home. I, self-admittedly, was doing a really good job at it. People often complimented me on how well I ran the household. I loved my job. I loved being home with my children. As they started growing up, though, and becoming more independent and getting ready to leave the “nest”; they didn’t need  me as much. My role was changing. Then other life stressors happened, and over time I realized I was struggling with depression. But, I wanted to continue to live up to the image of a mom who had it all together, so admitting that I was depressed, wasn’t an option.

In my  mind, if I said it out loud – “I have depression and need help” – then it would be real.

The truth is, it is real. I have depression. Pretending that I didn’t, and then staying silent that I did, only created more darkness and anxiety. As the saying goes, you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge.

After struggling with depression for more than 10 years, I started talking about it in 2016. I actually started my blog in 2016; but I wasn’t ready. But, after a year of contemplating “coming out”, 2017 is my year. My year to be honest with myself about living with depression. My year to put my passion to work to bring awareness to depression and end the stigma. We, those of us living with depression, can  be open and honest and live with our heads held high. With the support, we can learn to  navigate this life – the only one we will ever have – and experience the joy we deserve.

It’s my life’s mission: I sharing the story of depression in order to help other women share their stories so they don’t have to struggle or suffer alone in silence. I do this because life is too short to not experience joy and happiness. We’ve been placed  on this earth for a purpose, and it’s not depression. Let’s take this journey together.

Please share your story, if you’re ready. Please comment or ask questions. Let me know what you need to hear that will help you.

Blue Skies & Hugs,

Dawn xoxo