I have talked a number of people lately and each one has indicated that the shorter days and the waning of summer have triggered some emotional responses in them.
If you are prone to depression, September is like the transitioning month. The days are significantly shorter. The leaves are already turning and soon will be falling. And even though you may love fall, it can be a tough time.
So what is one to do?
Summers are so hectic and we try so hard to cram in a lot of outdoor time and then fall hits and if you’re not a fan of cooler weather, you start to cocoon.
This is exactly what not to do. Fall is the time to schedule lots of things to distract you. It’s all about getting into a new rhythm, a healthy one.
Fall is also not the time to sleep in later than usual.
Fall is not the time to quit getting outside.
Fall is not the time to withdraw.
Fall is not the time to quit exercising.
For those prone to depression, fall is the time to kick yourself in the “you-know-what” and refuse to let depression take control.
I found a most wonderful verse this morning in my Bible reading. It’s Acts 9:34. Now, I’ve probably read this more times than I can count but today this hit me right between the eyes and I knew what I needed to write about today.
“Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.” Immediately he got up,
“MAKE YOUR BED!!!!!!”
Making our bed in the morning is one of the most important habits a depression-prone person needs to do. It has nothing to do with making the bed, you know. It has everything to do with sending a message to our brains (and then consequently our feelings), that we are closing the door on depression, on lying around like a comatose person, on behaving as if we have no options,…..
Of course, there was that famous military general who just gave a commencement speech called, “Make your bed”. I was surprised at the number of people who didn’t know this depression-fighting strategy. It’s nothing new. I’ve been telling people this for years.
Making your bed in the morning says, “This is a new day.” Some people, myself included, actually close the door as well. It’s another symbolic way of telling myself, there’s no hopping back in bed. (Actually, that’s something I never did anyway.)
The “getting up” is recorded as a general rule for many of those healed in the New Testament.
Finally, don’t feel bad or that you’re not a good Christian if you have to take anti-depressants now that the days are shorter.
While I believe and have often written, our depression does have our footsteps all over it.
We all play a part in exacerbating and sometimes even bringing on an episode. BUT, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other factors involved. There is even some recent research evidence that past trauma can permanently change our brain chemistry. PTSD isn’t just a diagnosis for the military or for those who’ve been a victim of or witness of a mass shooting, trauma, etc. A traumatic childhood qualifies as well.
Can I just say, trauma, like depression, knows no boundaries. Some of us had enough childhood trauma to equal a battlefield anyway. So let’s not chastise ourselves for needing help.
At the same time, when we receive that help, be it medication or counseling or both, let’s not take the responsibility completely off our own shoulders either. When we start feeling better, is the time to start looking at ourselves, to look at our habits, our thought processes, our general health routines.
Do you wonder if I made my bed this morning?
Absolutely. I make it every morning and have pretty much my entire adult life. I’ve learned that for me, it’s crucial to get my day started off right.
So today my advice to you, is, “Get up and make your bed”. I can guarantee you this one simple step will make a huge difference,
God bless and have a good day.
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