Kimmer Collison-Ris, MSN, FNP-BC, WOCN, MS CAM - Teen Self-Care
Spectrum Care - Kimmer Collison-Ris, MSN, FNP-BC, WOCN, MS CAM

5 Ways to Fight Depression
It’s normal to feel a little down or sad from time to time but if this is “a thing” then its time to do something about it. Depression never goes away on its own. In addition to getting help from a medical provider and therapist, here are 5 things to help you feel better.

1. Exercise. For at least 15- to 30-minutes daily.  Do it. Whether its dancing, speed walking, weight lifting, or running. Do it ESPECIALLY when you feel blue and like a “couch potato”. Make yourself do it anyway. Buddy up with a friend to exercise with you for motivation. Regular activity improves energy, focus, and sadness.

2.Eat “healthy food”. Blue moods most always are related to your diet. Processed foods (fast foods, burgers, chips, prepackaged foods) are loaded with chemicals that are proven to negatively affect your moods. Eat small frequent snacks like veggies & dip, fruit slices, smoothies, or a sandwich.  Snack on yogurt, fruit and nuts (if you’re not allergic). Avoid pop, energy drinks, and coffee to keep you going as its linked to depression. Drink LOTS of fresh water.  Try little frequent daily meals (even if you don't feel hungry, try to eat something light, like a piece of fruit, to keep you going). Food is supposed to be fuel. Good food and water fuels your body, energy, and attitude. Avoid skipping meals or seeking out foods to make you feel better. This can increase sadness.

3. Know what’s bugging you (but don’t soak in them).  Figure out what’s making you sad. Identify what's causing your sadness and why, find a caring friend or adult to “break it down” and look for solutions. Having permission to discuss and release your thoughts and feelings with a safe person can help. Journaling can also help. Avoid sharing your feelings with unsafe people. Take the focus off some of your struggles by finding positive ways to help others.  Also identify an adult who you can “bounce ideas off”.  Learn to ask for help. Stay connected to friends/family helps keep you from soaking in sadness. Caring friends/family often want to help those they care about; just as you’d help them; brainstorming solutions can be good for everyone.

4. Use Creativity to Express yourself. With sadness/depression, creativity and humor might “go missing”. Try painting, drawing, doodling, sewing, writing, dancing, composing music. Releasing your creative juices can help loosen up positive emotions. Find time to hang out/exercise with a friend. Allow your pets to listen to your troubles and affections. Find humor in jokes, friends, a good book or movie, or Youtube videos.  Laughter has been known to help lift moods.                                    

5. Find the positive when possible.Sadness/depression can overtake your thoughts, causing everything to seem negative and hopeless. If your mood only views the negative, DO the OPPOSITE and try to notice some good things in your life. Find one thing; then another. Make a list. Consider your strengths, gifts, or blessings. Most of all, don't forget to be patient with yourself. Sadness & depression will take time to heal. When you go it alone, it won’t get better. When you seek out help, you’re one step closer to feeling better.  Don’t accept sadness as a way of life, ask for help; start over.
Surviving Stress, Trauma or Breakup
Great stress/trauma, loss, or breakups can be devastating. It really helps to have a structured schedule to follow.
  • Stick to daily routine. 
    -regular sleep/wake schedule
    -regular meals/eating
    -routine work/school schedule
    -regular exercise
    Build in time for relaxing and social activities
  • Break large jobs into smaller, manageable tasks.
    Try and take pleasure from accomplishing something (no matter how small).
  • Improve your mood w/activities  Be distracted by reading, cooking, exercise, walking a pet, homework, or friends to help decrease your      focus/thoughts on your recent bad experiences.
  • Give yourself permission to feel what you feel when you feel it. Acknowledge your feelings about the event as they happen and accept them. Doing this is part of the grief process and ABSOLUTELY necessary for healing.
10 Ways to Manage ADD/ADHD

1. Stick to daily routines
-regular sleep/wake up time
-regular snacks/meals (small & frequent)
-daily exercise
-daily homework/chore time
-regular brief chore/homework breaks
2. Set up a specific place for important items you tend to lose.
-keys at front door
-keep small items in plastic bags
-keep important papers in same place
-place school items in "staging area" night before to avoid last minute rush
-set out clothes to wear ahead of time
3. Keep your surroundings picked up.
-throw away trash as you make it
-Adopt "clean as you go" behavior
-stack similar items together
-put things away as it occurs
-keep counters picked up
4. Have your cell text schedule alerts.
-important meetings
-test or project reminders
-important bills due
-work schedule
5. Make a regular homework space
-quiet area
-avoid high traffic or noise
-listen to instrumental music
-put away distracting electronics
-switch off between subjects every 20-30 minutes
6. Eat small, frequent, regular snacks & meals (keeps brain functioning)
-veggies, protein, fruit, seeds/nuts...
7. Avoid energy drinks and coffee (drink 8-8 oz glasses/bottles of fresh water.
8. Exercise 30-60 minutes daily.
9. Get copies of class notes from friends
10. Work off of a daily reminder list.
Steps to Stop Cutting.
1. Go somewhere you can’t cut yourself.
 At home: Give yourself a "time out" by going to a quiet place (like your room or living room) in your house. ONLY take a phone, pen, and journal/notebook; but nothing else.
 Away from home: Find a seat or bench out in the open where you can plant yourself down.

2. Remind yourself: this desire to hurt myself will pass. Take a deep breath and wait for it.
3. Allow yourself to be distracted from your thoughts by using your phone. Call a friend/anyone and just talk. About anything and nothing. Just talk to someone instead of acting out your desire to hurt yourself. Allow them to distract you.

4. If you can't call someone, get distracted with discomfort.Make yourself physically uncomfortable. Is the sun painfully bright? Great, stay right there. Is it raining? Cool, get soaked. Are you cold? That's o.k. Is your butt falling asleep? Terrific.

5. Speak out loud (or journal) what is causing you so much internal pain. Talk about it. Wherever you are. Talk about it. Giving words to your pain can decrease your frustration that "no one understands". You understand. It can help you identify what makes you feel poorly treated or unheard. Hear yourself. Care about yourself. Be fair to yourself. Don't mistreat yourself as you may feel others may have mistreated you.

6. Remind yourself that YOU matter! Self-harm is a symptom a way of feeling but it doesn't solve your inner frustration. Your inner frustration is related to feeling like you aren't important. But. You. ARE!!! You matter. And you have a right to feel like you should matter. This will help you release stress/anxiety. Take a deep breath.

7. Make a list (even if small) of the people that you matter to and who matter to you. Remind yourself of these persons. Keep this list to remind you. This will also help you release stress/anxiety. Take another deep breath.

8. Scribble, draw, write or doodle your feelings or thoughts. Let it out. Allow yourself to list your struggles and possible solutions. Positive ones. Different options. Make it creative. Make it interesting. Just do it. For as long as it takes. Keep deep breathing.

9. Try the butterfly method. Every time you feel the urge to cut, instead draw a butterfly. Then draw a loved one's name or someone you want to get better,under it. Each time you cut, the butterfly dies and has to be washed off. If it wears off, that's o.k. That means you released it into the wild. Congrats for the self-control.

10. Talk to someone about it. A good friend. A trusted adult (parent, family member, teacher, or healthcare provider). Although this is hard, find someone safe and acknowledge you need help. Don't go it alone. This is an important step because it is the start of transitioning into recovery. Finding another positive way of expressing yourself.

-Find someone safe (be sure they aren't caught up in cutting too).
-Be courageous knowing there is no shame in asking for help.
-Be willing to find other methods of stress release.
-Break the cycle of unhealthy secrets.
-Request that your sharing your struggles, is to be kept private and not made public.
-Make a plan to call them when you feel like hurting yourself.
-Give yourself permission to make mistakes and sometimes relapse.
-Find a qualified counselor who can help you figure out the heart of your self-harm.
-ALWAYS remind yourself that YOU MATTER!!!