Hygiene Hacks for When You’re Depressed

Hygiene Hacks for When You’re Depressed

When the symptoms of depression start to take over, one of the main sets of activities that gets pushed to the back burner is your personal hygiene. No, this doesn’t mean you’re lazy or disgusting. You’ve probably tried time and time again to do what was needed. Despite your best efforts, maintaining personal hygiene can be taxing and exhausting when living with depression.

This article will offer some helpful tips and tricks on how you can take care of your personal hygiene, even when you’re feeling down and out.

Maintaining Good Hygiene Can Be Hard

Depression is a mental health disorder that can make it difficult to function normally at work or school. Depression can drain your motivation to carry out even the most basic and brief daily tasks. Taking care of yourself by maintaining good hygiene is an example of a set of activities that often fall by the wayside during bouts of depression.

If you struggle with a depressive disorder, you may also experience these signs and symptoms:

  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
  • Enduring sadness and low mood
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Wanting to die or attempting suicide
  • Experiencing irritability or restlessness
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns

You can overcome these symptoms and take care of your teeth, hair, and skin with the following helpful tips.

What to Do About Your Teeth

As the recommendation goes, you should brush your teeth and tongue thoroughly for at least two minutes twice a day and floss at least once a day to remove dental plaque. This quick and easy task is one of the least enjoyable daily routines of them all making it easier to forget and forego. When you simply cannot muster up the energy to clean properly, try at least one of these tips:

  • floss in bed
  • use mouthwash
  • use a dry toothbrush
  • use an electric toothbrush
  • brush when you feel up to it, even if it’s not a “normal” time like morning or night
  • chew sugar-free mint gum or breath mints

What to Do About Your Hair

Some people wash their hair every day while others only need to do so once or twice per week. Whatever your hair routine is, depression can make you want to throw it out the window. You might go days without washing or combing your hair, especially if it is long or gets easily tangled. The next time you can’t deal with your locks, consider the following:

  • use dry shampoo
  • wash your hair in the sink
  • ask your partner to comb your hair
  • use a deep condition to easily detangle
  • keep long hair in braids/buns to keep tidy

What to Do About Your Skin

It can be extremely embarrassing to have to interact with people if you haven’t bathed in a while. A blow to your self-confidence during a depressive episode can be devastating and cause you to feel even worse. In order to avoid this kind of situation and get yourself fairly clean, you can do a number of things:

  • take a bath instead of a shower
  • set candles around your bathtub
  • get your partner to help clean you
  • use body wash products that smell good
  • use a shower seat to sit while showering
  • use baby wipes or a rag to clean stinky spots
  • apply clean scented deodorant and body spray
  • trick yourself into showering by getting really dirty outside
  • get a comfy robe to wear after a bath/shower and lounge around in it
  • invest in good skincare products so you’ll look forward to washing your face

Other Helpful Tips

Before, during, and after your hygiene routine, there are other things you can do that’ll keep you motivated. For example, if you are prone to being forgetful, set a reminder on your phone. Write reminders on sticky notes and post them on your door or bathroom mirror.

It may be helpful to keep a short and simple list of your tasks so you can check them off, giving you a sense of accomplishment and lifting your mood. You can also combine hygiene chores with things that are positive like playing motivational videos or listening to uplighting music.

On days when you’re barely getting by, cut down on the steps needed to get the job done. For example, keep your toothbrush in the shower or pick out your clothes from the night before. You can compromise with yourself to do smaller versions of the task (i.e. get in the shower, but don’t wash your hair), making the unthinkable totally possible!

At the End of the Day…

Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s important to practice kindness and patience with yourself. You didn’t choose to have depression; depression chose you. By making headway in small but promising steps, you will discover that you really are capable of accomplishing much more than you think.

Depression is a mental health disorder that causes a person to have intense feelings of sadness and fatigue. For some people, this condition can make it impossible to pull oneself out of bed and take a shower or complete other daily hygiene tasks. Finding ways to get at least some of them done is important for a person’s health and self-esteem. At Sober Life, our approach is to provide a strong clinical program that uses evidence-based strategies to heal our clients in individual and group settings. We treat many mental health disorders including major depressive disorder. Our mental health programs offer outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization services. If you are looking for mental health services in the San Diego area, we’re here to help. You don’t need to suffer in isolation. Reach out as soon as possible to get the support you need and deserve. Call Sober Life today: (619) 542-9542.

How to Make a New Years Resolution That You’ll Conquer

There is something about the start of a new year that makes people feel like they have a fresh start, a new chapter to make some big changes in their life. Although the intention is admirable, too many times a long list of New Year’s resolutions is developed that is just not feasible and falls to the wayside by February.

It’s normal to want to see results quickly and feel good about your accomplishments, but when goals are just a little too far out of reach, it’s easy to start getting stressed and lose patience. Learning how to set up a list of goals that require effort and dedication but are feasible will enable you to stick to your goals and achieve what you set out to.

Step 1: Time to Brainstorm Ideas

Whenever you have a solid chunk of time, sit down in a quiet space with two pieces of paper and something to write with. This is the moment for you to reflect on your life and your progress in treatment or recovery over the past year.

Ask yourself: are you happy with where you’re at? What will you like to have accomplished by the end of next year? How will those accomplishments set you up for the next phase of your life?

Use these questions to start creating an outline of short- and long-term goals that you would like to accomplish. Use this brainstorm session to think up with the most ambitious dreams and desires you have, to the most insignificant and boring. Try to capture a range of possibilities. Don’t limit your options at this stage.

Step 2: Time to Outline in Detail & Narrow Down

Now that you have a long list of things you want to do, it’s time to reflect on each of these points and ask yourself some thought-provoking questions. For each goal, ask yourself:

  1. Why do I want to do this?
  2. How do I accomplish this?
  3. How will I know I’m making progress?
  4. When should I start seeing results?
  5. How will I address obstacles?

Once you start this process, you may find yourself needing to eliminate some goals, either because they are insignificant or too lofty. This step is critical; you want to avoid overburdening yourself with too many goals as it can cause you to spread your time, energy, and emotional resources thin.

Applying the Five Questions to “Getting in Shape”

Imagine one of your goals is to get into shape. You want to do this to feel more energized and improve cardiovascular health. To accomplish this, you will need to plan out when and how often you will exercise and determine which types of healthy foods to incorporate into your diet.

You will know you are making progress when you can run for thirty minutes straight and complete more tasks throughout the day without feeling tired. You decide you should start seeing results by June. An obstacle you foresee is being unable to start out running for thirty minutes, so you address this by deciding to start out at ten minutes and incrementally increasing the time over the next six months to thirty.

Step 3: Refine & Be Fluid to in the Face of Challenges

Now that you have a list of goals that have clear objectives and outcomes, it’s time to refine them if needed and re-write them neatly on the second sheet of paper. Are you happy with the goals you’ve come up with? Can any be eliminated or expanded into further detail? The handful of goals that you end up with should be practical but inspiring.

An important thing to imagine at this point is the potential for your goals to not materialize as planned. If you are well into working towards a goal but find that it’s not working out as planned, you may need to revisit your outline and determine if there is a way you can adjust a particular goal. This is called Plan B.

For example, maybe running is not your thing and you’re ready to give up. You can try other types of exercise to see what works out for you, which is totally fine. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. When set plans don’t work out, being fluid and open to change will help you reorient yourself as life unfolds. This is a sign of resilience, a critical skill in life and in recovery.

Step 4: Take Action on Your New Year’s Resolutions

All you need to do now to conquer your New Year’s Resolutions is take action. Post your outline somewhere in your home where you will make eye contact with it every day, reminding you of what you’ve made a commitment to and why. A helpful tip to keep you motivated and accountable is to track your weekly progress. How did you feel during and after you attempted that beginner kickboxing class? Do you feel yourself getting stronger?

By following these tips, you will begin to reap the benefits of your goals and discover that you really can do anything you put your mind and heart to.

The New Year is akin to a new chapter, the perfect time to draft big dreams that’ll surely improve one’s life. However, it is often the case that these ambitious goals are not thought through in careful detail and made flexible enough to respond to the ups and downs of life. By brainstorming, outlining objectives and outcomes, and being fluid in the face of challenges, you can accomplish your goals this New Year. Sober Life is a treatment center for addiction and mental health conditions conveniently located in downtown San Diego. In addition to being a treatment facility, we are a community of diverse clinical staff and alumni who have unique experiences dealing with addiction and mental health. Our goal is to provide care that helps clients build resilience so they can effectively manage their condition for years to come. We truly believe that the strength is in you. Call us today for more information on our programs: (619) 542-9542.

Why Talking About Your Mental Illness is Important

Why Talking About Your Mental Illness is Important

One of the best ways we can break stigmas surrounding mental illness is to start and keep talking about it. Most people who do not struggle with mental illness are unaware that someone they know is struggling with a mental illness. Learn more about the stigma of mental illness, its prevalence in the United States, signs that a person may be struggling, and how you can get the conversation started around your mental health.

The Stigma of Mental Illness

Despite the fact that mental illness is a growing concern for many adults in the United States, the stigma of mental health conditions persists throughout communities. The ‘stigma of mental illness’ refers to “a set of negative attitudes and beliefs that motivate individuals to fear, reject, avoid, and discriminate against people with mental illness”.

This phenomenon likely happens when a person is not properly informed on the nature of different mental conditions and their ability to be managed or treated successfully. They may make assumptions without really knowing about the person’s condition.

Negative Impacts of Stigmatization

Social disapproval can be subtle or it can be blatant, but either way, the individual who is struggling will feel its effects. This may cause them to withdraw and avoid seeking treatment, resulting in worsened mental health and social outcomes. Other negative consequences of stigmatizing beliefs about an individual with a mental disorder include:

  • limited social opportunities;
  • compromised financial autonomy;
  • feelings of shame, guilt, and self-blame;
  • less autonomy and reduced self-efficacy;
  • and coercive treatment (i.e. institutionalization).

Persons with mental illness may face discrimination in a number of social environments such as housing and employment. They are also more prone to homelessness compared to those without a condition, putting them at risk of sexual and physical abuse and addiction.

How Common Is Mental Illness?

In 2019, SAMSHA conducted the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to determine how common any mental illness (AMI) and severe mental illness (SMI) are.

From the survey data, researchers estimated that nearly one in five adults in the United States have AMI; that’s about 51.5 million people and represents about 20.6% of all adults in the U.S. They also found that about 23.0 million (44.8%) of those adults received mental health services during the past year. For the estimated 13.1 million adults with SMI – representing 5.2% of all adults – about 8.6 million (65.5%) of them received mental health treatment during the same period.

According to the available data, mental illness impacts a significant proportion of the population. These values are also likely underestimated due to various factors like response bias (i.e. persons with mental illness refusing to participate) and biases in survey design and sampling (i.e. inability to adequately assess for certain illnesses).

Signs Someone May Be Struggling

Mental illness is a complex field of human health and wellness and involves many different conditions that can overlap in symptoms. Some physical maladies can also share similar symptoms. To an untrained eye, this can make it challenging to discern whether a loved one is struggling with a mental illness or something else entirely.

Nevertheless, the National Alliance on Mental Health explains that there are common warning signs you can look out for in yourself and others that may indicate a problem:

  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Misuse and abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Avoiding loved ones and social activities
  • Drastic changes in behavior and personality
  • Feeling excessively low for more than two weeks
  • Attempting to harm or kill oneself/making plans to do so
  • Extreme difficulty concentrating, staying still, and learning
  • Notable changes in sleeping and eating habits or sex drive
  • Out of control risk-taking that can cause harm to oneself or others
  • Unable to sense changes in one’s feelings, behavior, or personality
  • Difficulty perceiving reality or experiencing delusions or hallucinations
  • Severe emotions and mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Numerous, unexplainable physical complaints (i.e. vague “aches and pains”)

Sometimes, an individual with a mental condition will experience significant difficulty engaging in everyday tasks and interactions or handling daily problems and stress. In severe circumstances, they may even be incapable of completing everyday activities at all.

How to Start the Conversation 

Engaging in discussion about mental illness helps erode harmful attitudes and beliefs, and helps people gain a deeper understanding of this public health problem. Your approach to discussing mental health depends on the individual you are talking to and how much information you want to disclose regarding your own illness.

Someone who is close to you may already know that you have a mental illness but perhaps they don’t really understand it. Family and couples therapy is a great way to work out any kinks in the relationship caused by your disorder. Also, therapy often contains a psychoeducational component so your loved one can learn about your condition.

Other times, though, you may want to start the conversation with someone you don’t know well. Consider taking an inquisitory but neutral approach where you ask them questions to help them think deeply about their beliefs and opinions. What do they think about mental illness and why? Instead of trying to force them into accepting a particular narrative, get them to draw their own conclusions by staying calm, providing them with information, and letting them express themselves. Oftentimes things you say will stick with people despite a lack of acknowledgment. Perhaps even share your treatment and recovery story; personal stories can be powerful at changing minds!

The stigmatization of individuals with a mental illness is still a common occurrence across American society. Social pressure and discrimination can have a number of negative outcomes, including forgoing treatment necessary to effectively manage the disorder. The best way to break down the stigma around mental illness is to talk about it to loved ones and even people you don’t know well. Sober Life is an addiction and mental health treatment facility located in the vibrant, urban city of downtown San Diego. We’re not your ordinary center, however. We have a very diverse and highly qualified staff that will make you feel understood and a part of our growing community. Our treatment center intentionally has a down-to-earth, real-life feel because we believe treatment and recovery should incorporate experiences of real life. If you or someone you know may have a mental illness, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It could change your life. Call today: (619) 542-9542.

How to Create a Morning Routine to Boost Your Mental Health

How to Create a Morning Routine to Boost Your Mental Health

Starting your morning off with a healthy routine can set your tone for the rest of the day. Think back to the mornings where you’ve overslept–you either forgot to set your alarm or you hit the snooze button one too many times. You wake up in a panic. Your morning is rushed, you’re late for work and you have officially started your day off stressed and disorganized.

You can’t always get it right, but one of the best things we can do for ourselves every day is to set ourselves up for success.  We can do this by creating a morning routine that boosts not only our mood but our health too. When we experience mornings that provide us peace and calm, it can help our productivity throughout the rest of the day. If you’re not a morning person – no worries. You do not have to get up at the crack of dawn in order to have a successful rest of the day. Here is a list to help you gain ideas for a morning routine that truly benefits you.

Ease Into the Day

It is much easier to get out of bed when you’re not feeling rushed to start your day. You feel more motivated to open your eyes and to let your body naturally wake up. It feels good to be able to lounge in bed and to take in the comfort of your space. After those few minutes of lounging, try these next few steps:

  • Open your curtains to allow that natural light to flow in and energize you.
  • Put on music or sounds that you enjoy.
  • Engage in some light stretching to help release any tension that has built up through the night.

Eliminate the Clutter

Doing something as simply making your bed can help eliminate clutter from the start of your day. Another great way to eliminate clutter is to hold off on checking your phone. Phones are amazing and convenient devices, but they also provide our lives with a lot of clutter. When you start your day off by checking your phone, which gives you access to emails, social media platforms, news (both good and bad), you may feel it necessary to react to all of it. Starting the day this way puts you into a “reactive” mindset, so do your best to skip checking your phone before you’ve invested in yourself in healthier wake-up strategies.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

It doesn’t have to be a hardy meal that takes time and effort to prepare, but fueling your body with nutrients in the morning can help energize your body. If you don’t want to take the time in the morning to create a meal for yourself, you can prep something the night before, like overnight oats, which are easy to grab and go or purchase quick and easy (and healthy) breakfast options. The point is to just get something into your body that not only fuels it properly but also isn’t just a cup of joe.

Don’t Forget the Water

Many love to start the day off with a cup (or two) of coffee, but don’t skip that morning glass of water. Hydrating your body is crucial throughout the entire day, so look at that morning glass of water as a way to kick-start the whole process. The benefits of drinking water are well documented and really are endless.

Stimulate Your Body.

You do not have to take a 5 am workout class to stimulate your body. Stimulating your body looks different for everyone. Reading is a great way to stimulate your mind while meditating and light yoga can help stimulate your body. Exercise helps to increase the production of the neurotransmitters we know as serotonin and norepinephrine. These act to enhance our body’s ability to deal with stressors that are inevitable throughout our day. Those who exercise regularly tend to be less stressed due to endorphins, and are more able to maintain a balance between work and play.

Write it Down.

Some mornings may feel overwhelming when you can’t get a grasp of what you need to do that day. This can cause people to lag or procrastinate when it comes to starting their day. Creating a to-do list in the morning might help. The list allows you to check off items and tasks, giving you a sense of accomplishment. This is your list to create, so make one that sets you up to be successful. The point of a morning routine is for it to start your day off mentally and physically healthy, not to add stress to your life.

Creating and maintaining a healthy morning routine may take some trial and error, and that is okay because you are worth it! Sometimes our routines no longer serve us, so it is recommended for us to go back and revisit our current routines to see if there are areas that need to be adjusted or updated. Remember you are in charge of your day, and you have the opportunity to create a healthy routine for yourself that helps you thrive for the rest of your day. If you are looking for additional ways to help you create a morning routine that benefits you both mentally and physically, reach out to Sober Life Recovery in San Diego, California. We have a dynamic team that specializes in individualized mental health care for adults. Our team wants to help you become the best version of yourself. Call Sober Life Recovery today at (619) 542-9542.  

Tis the Season to Make You a Priority

Tis the Season to Make You a Priority

The holidays can be a great time to reunite with family and friends, relax, and recharge. Of course, even during a typical holiday season, extra travel, shopping, entertaining, and memories of lost loved ones can trigger negative emotions. Add in the fact that COVID continues to be prevalent in people’s lives, the stress level during the holiday season can feel overwhelming. Not forgetting the pressures that many tend to put on themselves to make these grand resolutions that usually leave people feeling inadequate and full of self-doubt. It’s a lot.

Stepping away and remembering that your happiness matters every single day will help you during these stressful times. You are a priority every day, regardless of the season or holiday that is approaching.  Read on for a list of tips to help you make YOU a priority.

Keep Up With Healthy Habits

Don’t put anything aside that helps you feel like you. If your schedule starts to fill up with activities outside of your normal routine, or you start feeling stressed or indifferent, step back and refocus yourself on what matters most. If attending that spin class keeps you sane, then you keep that spin class. You do not need to be bullied or pressured to attend events that interfere with things that bring you peace. This goes the same for things that interfere with your sleep habits, your diet, or the festivities that you want to attend. Family gatherings can bring an abundance of yummy and unhealthy foods. They can keep you up late at night causing you to lose a great amount of sleep. Many were told things like, “but it’s the holiday season” and, “you have to make it to midnight on New Year.” No, you don’t. The only thing you have to do is make your mental and physical health a priority.

Recognize Your Feelings and Be Realistic

First of all, you are not required to be jolly nor are you required to put yourself in debt to give anyone a present. Forcing yourself, or pulling yourself in every different direction is not only unrealistic, but it is going to have serious negative effects on your mental health. When you start to feel overwhelmed, recognize those feelings and don’t force yourself to power through them. There is no law or rule that states you have to be merry or show face at every family function this holiday season. Also, when making new years resolutions (if you choose to do that), make the resolution(s) attainable. Forcing yourself to lose 20lbs by Valentine’s Day can bring on serious mental and physical health risks. Always strive to make your goals realistic and attainable.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

So many times you attend things out of obligation. You don’t want to let your friends and family down, so you show up even though you truly don’t want to be there. You do this because, honestly, it feels like it’s just easier to avoid confrontation or conflict. It’s okay to skip out on something. It’s okay to say “I’m not going to keep up with the holiday norms” to the people who care about you. Come from a loving and honest place, and they’ll understand. Your boundaries and health should be considered, despite holiday season norms. Just because it’s the holiday season, doesn’t mean our needs aren’t a priority. The holidays come and go, but your mental health and sanity are something you need to care for your whole life. Setting up healthy boundaries by learning to say no to anything that makes us feel uneasy or uncomfortable is one of the best ways to keep YOU a priority.

Reach Out

Don’t feel like you have to do everything by yourself. If you have a support system, utilize it. Sometimes having a shopping buddy, or carpooling with someone can alleviate excess stress, but make sure to discuss exit plans before you get to the event. By having a discussion and expressing your expectations ahead of time, you can avoid being stuck somewhere longer than you intended. Reach out to friends and family when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Maintaining an open and honest relationship about your feelings needs to be normalized. You deserve to be able to speak freely and openly about your struggles no matter what time of year it is.

Remember you are not alone. So many people are feeling overwhelmed and stressed during this time of year. Chances are, someone close to you is struggling too, so reach out and share your feelings. You never know, you might spark a conversation with a relative or friend who is feeling isolated and internally miserable. That venting session might be exactly what the both of you need.

Spending time with your loved ones celebrating this beautiful season can be merry, but once those holiday expectations and obligations start piling on, the holidays start to become stressful. Maybe you’re juggling buying those thoughtful gifts for your family members, finishing up that end-of-year report at work, or trying to make your house guest-ready, all at once. Or maybe you’re overwhelmed with flights to make it to events and family gatherings – the cost, the stress of travel during the holidays, it just becomes too much. Let’s change that by making us a priority. By setting healthy boundaries and learning to say no to things that do not serve us in a positive manner. No one should have to push their needs aside because it’s the holidays. Choose you and make you a priority. If you’re struggling with mental health issues this holiday season, reach out to Sober Life Recovery now. Call (619) 542-9542 today.


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