Depression is a debilitating and serious mental disorder that touches the lives of millions of Americans each year. There are many different causes of depression including, obesity, chronic illness, nutritional deficiencies, stress, hormone imbalances and abnormal functioning of neurotransmitters in the brain. For reasons that are still being investigated, women are twice as likely to develop the signs of depression as men. Some studies indicated that the signs of depression in women may be related to genetics, pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, loss of a parent during childhood, roles within their families and careers, victimization and divorce.
Some of the most common signs of depression include feeling sad, or “blue”, every day, for most of the day, a reduced interest in favorite activities or hobbies, and a significant loss of energy. Other signs of depression include a significant change in weight, trouble sleeping, feelings of low self-worth and guilt and persistent thoughts of suicide. Further signs of depression include inability to concentrate and indecisiveness. A diagnosis of major depression may occur when an individual has 5 or more of the above signs of depression (not associated with the side effects of medications or the loss of a loved one) to a degree that interferes with the ability to function normally on a daily basis. Anyone who experiences 5 or more of these signs of depression on a daily basis should seek the services of a mental health professional.
Many women experience milder signs of depression which may involve the inability to feel happiness or joy at appropriate times, the inability to concentrate, memory loss, low self-esteem, lack of motivation for daily tasks and responsibilities, lack of creativity, problems sleeping, poor eating habits (too little, or too much) and lowered immune system function. Women who experience milder signs of depression may not lose the ability to function on a daily basis. However, these signs of depression can result in decreased productivity at home and at work, lack of energy and reduced pleasure in their daily lives and relationships. Anyone who experiences any of these signs of depression on a daily basis can take several steps to help improve their daily lives.
There are 5 steps women can take in order to fight the signs of depression.
Step one: Begin taking a whole food nutritional supplement.
Step two: Prepare a written inventory of daily eating habits for one week.
Step Two: Begin to replace simple carbohydrates (white rice, white flour, white sugar, etc.) with whole grains (whole grain breads, brown rice pasta, extra-long grain brown rice, etc.) and fiber rich foods (green leafy vegetables and fruits). Begin to replace sugar-filled drinks with water, sugarless tea, herbal teas and sugar-free energy drinks. Reduce coffee intake to one cup per day.
Step three: Begin to take one brisk ten-minute walk each day with the goal of increasing to three brisk ten minute walks each day 4-5 times each week.
Step Four: For twenty minutes each day (longer if possible), engage in an activity that promotes feelings of positive self-worth and self-esteem.
Step Five: Begin to explore spiritual growth, by attending Celebrate Recovery, attending church services, meeting with a member of the clergy, or working with a Life Coach.
Women who experience the signs of depression may have a hard time finding the motivation to take a brisk walk, due to lack of energy and fatigue. It may be necessary to focus on a good nutritional supplement and healthy eating habits for 30 days, before women who experience the signs of depression may feel like taking a brisk ten-minute walk. Further the lack of interest in enjoyable activities may discourage women who experience the signs of depression from attending church services or other spiritual growth groups. The increased energy from healthy eating and exercise is likely to increase feelings of interest and motivation for women who experience signs of depression. It is essential for women who experience the signs of depression to avoid feeling guilty if each step is not followed fully every day. Each day is a new day and a new opportunity to continue the battle against the signs of depression. Small attainable steps are more likely to result in long term success.
You or someone you know can work through these five steps to combat the signs of depression with a Health and Wellness Coach. Visit www.livewelldreambig.com .
Elliott, M. (2001). Gender differences in causes of depression. Women & Health, 33(3/4), 163-177. Retrieved from CINAHL Plus with Full Text database.
Romm, A. (2003). Women and depression: a phytotherapist’s approach. Complementary Health Practice Review, 8(1), 25-39. Retrieved from CINAHL Plus with Full Text database
STOPPARD, J. (2010). I. Moving Towards an Understanding of Women’s Depression. Feminism & Psychology, 20(2), 267-271. doi:10.1177/0959353509359966.