By now, you all know that I am a family child care provider, which means I provide child care in my home. I work alone caring for up to 6 children at one time, up to 10 if I took on school age children. That is a lot, and while most days are wonderful, silly, and rewarding, some days I just feel down. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for a very long time, and recently, it has just dragged me down far enough that I have asked for help. What a tough thing that was! Here I am with an amazing family, safe and secure home life, and a thriving business, so what do i have to be depressed about?
Well, despite all the great things going for me, I have no control over this illness. Believe me, I have tried to “talk myself out of it” and guess what? That only makes me sink deeper and deeper into the darkness. And I’ve come to realize that a lot of us are in the same darkness. When we choose to care for others, we often neglect to care for ourselves, not always, but some of us are predisposed to it. And have you ever noticed that some of us who choose to provide care for others are trying to make up for a time we felt our needs were not met? It’s true for me…how about you?
So the other day, I was talking with another family child care provider and mentioned that I had been having a hard time lately. I mentioned that I just had no desire to do anything. She replies to me, “now that you mention it, I’ve been kinda feeling that way too.” Whoa…💡 moment here! She’s likely experiencing symptoms of depression and here is an opportunity to bring it to light. And suddenly, just like that, I am wanting to share my struggle and help others to see if what they are feeling is in fact depression. So here we go…
What does depression look like? Feel like? Lack of interest
- Lack of motivation
- Irritability, feeling agitated and unsettled
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Empty mood or feeling
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Problems concentrating, making decisions, remembering things
- Change in eating habits, weight
- Too much or too little sleep
- Seeking isolation, wanting to be alone
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Physical ailments that do not respond to treatment, like headache, chronic pain, digestive problems
- Changes in personal appearance
- Frequent self criticism
- Chronic fatigue
- Difficulty maintaining boundaries
- Substance abuse, including self medication with food
This is by no means a complete list, and please consider that I am NOT a medical professional. Please see your primary doctor if you are concerned that you suffer from depression.
What can we do about it?
First, let’s acknowledge the stigma that is associated with depression, anxiety, or any mental health condition. It doesn’t mean that we are damaged or broken. Feelings of depression just reveal that we are human, and that we have to work extra hard to be our best selves. If anything, it shows that we feel deeper and have experiences in a profoundly unique way.
Here are some of the strategies that can help you feel more like yourself, but please keep in mind that depression is a mental illness and can require treatment by a doctor. This list is not meant as a substitute, but more as a support or supplement to treatment.
Tips for Mental Wellness. Spend more time with friends
- Go outside
- Get good sleep
- Eat more real food, and less junk food
- Move your body
- Drink more water
- Laugh out loud
- Remember your hopes and dreams
- Create something…art can be a powerful tool
- Listen to your favorite upbeat music
- Engage in leisure activities like spa treatments or going to the movies
- Invest in a full spectrum light to simulate sunshine
- Be brave. Reach out for help when you need it, and know that you are not alone.
Once again, this is not a complete list, but it’s a start! I have used many of these strategies, with a varying degree of success. I am currently on medication and seeing a counselor, and I’m proud to report that I’m beginning to feel more like myself.
< a href=”https://m.facebook.com/jennifer.cyr.family.child.care”>As always, you can find me on Facebook < a href=”http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jennifer-cyr/99/943/a3a”>Or on LinkedIn < a href=”https://m.facebook.com/jennifercyrccpmentoring/”>And check out my new mentoring page for child care providers