Have you ever felt that your memory is being impacted by your stress levels? Do you find it difficult to find your keys when you’re having a busy time at work? Or forget the name of a person you have just met in a stressful social situation? Or the dreaded exam brain freeze! Stress can have a strong impact on your memory, but it’s not all bad news.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (with the appropriate acronym of SAD) is a specific type of depression that is related to the seasons, normally beginning and ending at the same time every year (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Usually the symptoms of SAD will start to appear in autumn as the days start to get longer and the weather cooler. But some people may also have the opposite pattern, where they feel more depressed over the summer months. In all cases the symptoms will progressively get worse as the season deepens, and then start to clear as the weather changes (Health Direct, 2018).
Deep breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, is a skill that many of us have lost. To know what it’s like to really breathe deeply, take a minute out and observe a baby and what happens when they breathe. Their whole belly rises and falls with each breath, rather than just the chest. Now have a look at how most adults breathe - you rarely see the belly moving much at all, and if it does, it’s usually just the upper portions, rather than the whole abdomen. But this is a skill that could be highly important to get back in touch with.
Having a new baby at home is a time of emotional upheaval, even under the best of circumstances. Regardless of whether it’s your first baby or not, anxiety can be a common feeling during this time. But for some women, this feeling can grow, and begin to interfere with her ability to enjoy and take care of her new baby and herself. Postnatal anxiety and insomnia can range anywhere from being a mild case of the jitters right through to being severe, and can start suddenly straight after birth, or appear gradually in the weeks and months during the first year.
Have you ever found yourself in an ongoing loop of feeling stressed and anxious, leading to poor sleep that night, which then makes you feel more stressed the next day, keeping you again from getting a good nights sleep, and on and on and on?
Sleep is an important resource that allows us to go about our day feeling happy and healthy, and with the ability to be productive and get done what we need to. It becomes harder and harder to maintain positivity through the day if we haven’t had a good nights sleep the night before. Ongoing stress and poor sleep can often seem to go hand in hand, so finding out the reason for both is usually the key to overcoming them.
Most people will be familiar with the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Whether its from cramming for exams, the first few days in a new job, or prepping yourself for a first date, needing to perform can bring on some uncomfortable feelings. Here’s how to distinguish between a normal response to a situation and an unhealthy one.
The symptoms of depression can feel all too common - sensations of despair, hopelessness, and anger, low energy, feeling overwhelmed, a loss interest in other people and activities you used to find joy in, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite - I could go on... Pharmocological treatment of depression is the norm in Australia, but it can often take some time to find the correct medication, and there are a lot of unwanted side -effects that can come with this course of treatment. But there are alternatives to be found in Chinese medicine that work well either alongside, or instead of, more common treatments.
In Australia, it is estimated that over 45% of the population will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime (1). And in any one year, 1 million Australians will experience depression, and 2 million will experience an anxiety disorder. Caring for your mental and emotional health is clearly an important topic for everyone.
Insomnia and sleep problems can be tricky things to deal with. Most people have tried the more common remedies for poor sleep, such as reducing caffeine, switching off from screen time before bed, and keeping the bedroom as dark and noise free as possible. But what if you still find yourself lying awake through the middle of the night? Here are a few other options from Chinese medicine to help you sleep through the night.