First remember: It is a bad day, not a bad life.
If you’re experiencing PCS symptoms (Post concussion syndrome) like myself, depressed feelings, or just having an off day, ask yourself these questions:
1) Am I hydrated?
“Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.”
2) Have I eaten in the past 3 hours?
Here is an incredible article about the similarities between starvation and depression:
The Effects of Lack of Food By W.R. Aykroyd, The Conquest of Famine, Chapter 2
3) How is my sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene encompasses “a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.”
4) Have I moved my body today?
“Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety.”
5) Have I said something nice to myself or someone I love?
Positive self-talk and a more optimistic outlook can have other health benefits, including:
- Increased vitality
- Greater life satisfaction
- Improved immune function
- Reduced pain
- Better cardiovascular health
- Better physical well-being
- Reduced risk for death
- Less stress and distress
- “It is not clear why optimists and individuals with more positive self-talk experience these benefits. However, research suggests people with positive self-talk may have mental skills that allow them to solve problems, think differently, and be more efficient at coping with hardships or challenges.”
6) Have I been outside/in nature?
“Research suggests that mood disorders can be lifted by spending more time outdoors.” The rest of the article you have to login to read but I just wanted to show that Harvard is saying it too 🙂
7) Have I spent too much time online?
I do not believe electronics are a completely negative experiences. With that being said, here are some things to think about and analyze your own time spent on electronics.
8) Do I need a hug or cuddles?
Physical touch can work wonders for your mental being and stress levels through the physiological changes that take place. Such as releasing oxytocin which is known as the “cuddle hormone” . Oxytocin can be released through romantic touch (with a partner), loving/caring touch (from family, friend, or infant), healing touch (through massage or other modalities) or even cuddling your pets. Here are a couple sources to read through from Harvard and Oregon state University:
“It is important to note that the physical touch or hug effects are positive only in those that there is a caring relationship not from unwanted touching. In fact, undesired physical contact can have the opposite effect by increasing cortisol levels and stress.”
9) Have I practiced one of my hobbies or passions?
“Both health and wellness are constantly interacting hence optimal wellness can only be obtained through a balance of physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual.” This is a great article to read about over all well being. Practicing your hobbies or passions can help your over all well being:
10) Do I have future goals to work towards?
“Working toward specific goals can help you live the life you want while managing your mental illness. You may start with setting one small goal to accomplish each day (e.g. writing down 3-5 things you’re grateful for in a journal or going to sleep an hour earlier than usual). Ask yourself, “What’s one thing I can do today that helps me get closer to where I want to be?” Once you become more confident, you can work on accomplishing larger, more long-term goals”. This article not only teaches you about the connection but also gives you small to medium to large goal examples/ideas:
We each have a “tool box”. This tool box is filled with activities/habits/practices that you know brings you joy or clarity. My tool box consist of going on a walk, doing yoga, journaling, baking, calling a friend or family member, snuggling with my husband, going snowboarding, etc. Use this list of questions above to start building your tool box. Write down a list your own tools (unique to you) and use them on those harder days.