Hi all, it’s me…Debbie Downer, back for another week of tips for the apocalypse.
I have decided to write this weekly newsletter to reach out to you and hopefully give you some tips to get through this incredibly trying time. It is in no way designed to be preachy or diminish what you are currently experiencing. It does not take the place of medical advice, nor will it offer up cures and misinformation about corona. It’s alphabetical in nature. I am taking wagers to see which letter we reach (hopefully not very far). Any guesses as to what letter we’ll reach before life returns to ‘normal’?
‘D’ is for doldrums
It’s not quite depression, but I’m certainly not jumping out of my skin with joy. Herewith the ways that help me manage the ‘down bits’
- Exercise – for me it’s yoga and walks with mates.
- Counselling – really helps to unpack things. Most psychologists are now offering Telehealth appointments (as am I).
- Writing – often cathartic (at some point though, I bored myself with writing about how ‘shitty’ I felt). Now I focus on gratitude and the things I would like to achieve.
- Community – mostly my community contact at the moment is via the Marco Polo app, where a group of us post daily video messages to each other. They are, more often than not, very silly and make me laugh.
- Nutrition – having a whole foods diet with plenty of vegetables, pulses and legumes and a bit of protein. Reduce caffeine if you suffer with anxiety.
- Alcohol – no, don’t drink more of! It is a central nervous system depressant, so it could end up making you feel worse. Try to limit your intake to no more than twice a week, one – two standard drinks.
Did you know that depression is a sign of an inflamed brain?
- Vitamin B – see previous post as to why I love it sooooo much.
- Magnesium – it helps to relax your muscles, boost your energy and helps you sleep.
- Fish oils – they will help that foggy brain and reduce inflammation. Please, please, please, whatever you do, ensure you invest in good quality fish oils (that goes with all supps really).
- Probiotics – more and more we are seeing that anxiety is linked to a disordered microbiome (your gut bugs and their genes).
You know I love them! Some of my faves are:
- Licorice and Rehmannia – to rebuild those burnt out adrenals
- St John’s Wort – the old faithful for depression (it’s also anti-viral)
- Saffron – for depression
- Turmeric – for inflammation
- Lemon Balm – calms the nervous system
- Hops – for anxiety (I have been known to have a small glass of beer when I’m anxious – purely medicinal).
- Passionflower – just the name makes me feel good! It’s also great for anxiety and a restful sleep
- Kava – this herb is the best I know of to help with anxiety and fear. You might catch me occasionally having a ‘nip’.
- Withania – a tonic that helps the body adapt to stress and change
- Limit your news intake – try to keep it to one bulletin per day. .
- Hang out with positive people. As Jim Rohn says, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. Obviously we are physical distancing at the moment, but please ensure the people you are in contact with lift you up in some way.
- Go for a walk in ‘the’ nature.
- Unplug from technology periodically – it’s interesting how many of us have become epidemiologists in these times…
- Don’t do it alone – most people you speak to have suffered from either depression or anxiety or both at one time or another. Let’s break down the stigma of mental health and start talking more openly about it.
When all else fails just…
Dance break – a wee story about my previous life… Once upon a time, late at night in Arizona’s nightclub in downtown Jerusalem, I was giving it ‘my all’ to this song (in the link above). Eyes closed and ‘deep’ in the groove. When the song finished, I was surrounded by Israeli soldiers (home for the weekend), their Kalashnikov’s casually parked on the neighbouring tables. Lounge dancer extraordinaire strikes again!
‘D’ is for Vitamin D
Get out in the sunshine and get ‘vitamin D’. I’m good for your eyes and good for your bones. If you need a ‘pick-me-up’, watch this wonderful community service ad from the eighties.
Back to vitamin D. Did you know it’s not really a vitamin, but a prohormone – a substance the body converts to a hormone? It’s involved in many processes in the body, so much so we may call it a little…promiscuous!
- Helps the immune system. Vitamin D receptors have been identified on critical immune cells, suggesting a role in their development and function.
- Is essential for bone health and improves calcium absorption. A diet deficient in calcium can lead to osteoporosis in later life. Vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fracture.
- Plays a role in the maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels in healthy individuals.
- Emerging evidence suggests it may support the health and function of the nervous system.
Sources of vitamin D
It is synthesised by the action of sunlight on the skin.
It is difficult to get from the diet, but you could try your luck with Cod Liver Oil. Yummy!!! There is also some in egg yolk, my favourite food and it looks like…sunshine (the hippy in me finally comes out!).
‘D’ is for Dill
I love, love, LOVE the smell of dill, so much so I have told people to put dill instead of rosemary on my coffin! Warped? Just a little…
Another bad breath remedy. Chew dill seeds regularly to reduce ‘pinky ponky’ breath.
Another gut calmer. Dill is an excellent remedy for flatulence. Toot! Great for calming gas and intestinal spasms, this is the herb of choice for ‘colicy’ babies (and grown-ups). Take 1-2 teaspoons of the gently crushed seeds and let it infuse for 10-15 minutes. Take one cup before meals.
I tell you, by the end of Covid, we are all going to have the sweetest smelling breath and a cast iron guts!
There is a little effort in this week’s recipe, but it is worth it.
- 3 medium beets
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 tspn sugar (optional)
- 3 medium potatoes
- ¼ head of cabbage (green)
- 1 small onion
- 1 tblspn apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dill seeds (caraway also works)
- 1 green capsicum
- Salt to taste
- 2 carrot
- 1 tblspn oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- Plain yoghurt (or sour cream)
- Fresh dill
- Peel beets, add to large pot and cover with water and bring to boil. Cook until done, about 45 minutes. Add a little salt.
- Remove beets from water (keep the water) and set aside to cool.
- Peel potatoes and cut into 1/8s. Add to beet water. Cook until almost done.
- Chop onion and capsicum. Grate carrots. Finely chop garlic. Sauté vegetables in oil until tender (add dill seeds at this point).
- Add tomato paste and just enough water to carrot to make a thick sauce. Add sugar (optional)and cook an additional five minutes.
- Coarsely grate cooled beets.
- Coarsely chop ¼ head of cabbage and add to potatoes and beet water. Boil until the cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Add sautéed vegetables, beetroot and vinegar. Taste and correct for salt.
- Serve in bowls with a dollop of yoghurt and dill.
Until next week, I’ll leave you with this.
“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
And always remember, be kind to yourself.
P.S If you’ve made it this far, well done! Can I ask a wee favour. If you don’t want to miss out on these weekly updates and you haven’t done so already, please sign up for my newsletter. I will never spam you (unless of course you want me to???)