How Cooking Can Build Confidence

How Cooking Can Build Confidence

Can you cook? By the time people reach adulthood, most have developed the ability to prepare simple meals at the very least. Many people enjoy cooking; some may even consider it a hobby. Cooking involves some creativity, which allows it to serve a therapeutic purpose.

There is something about a home-cooked meal that tends to taste better. It can bring a sense of nostalgia and comfort in many cases. It can be gratifying to prepare a meal for others to enjoy. Getting to show off your skills and abilities in the kitchen can create a sense of pride.

The ability to cook and prepare meals from scratch encourages healthy eating and can boost confidence. Eating healthy and building confidence can come in handy if you are struggling with or recovering from addiction.

Cooking Fosters Skill Development

Cooking requires skills. It requires understanding measurements and using the proper utensils. It involves operating kitchen appliances correctly and knowing what appliances to use for different recipes. Cooking also requires awareness and adequate management of time, especially if you are preparing more than one dish at a time. For example, if you are preparing dishes for a major holiday or event such as Thanksgiving dinner, you are likely to multitask quite a bit.

Cooking also requires a little bit of flexibility and, sometimes, a little creativity. Let's say you are following a recipe and realize you are missing one ingredient. Do you stop where you are and run out to the store? This is not ideal if you have already begun prepping, mixing, and preheating. You may need to get creative with an ingredient swap. Luckily, there are plenty of tips you can find online to help.

Because cooking requires so many skills, it builds confidence as you learn and improve. You may start by preparing something simple. Plenty of quick and easy recipes only require a few ingredients. Next, you may try something a little more challenging. Maybe you even try to prepare a few different things at once.

What begins as an obligatory activity as part of your treatment program could evolve into a hobby or even a passion. Many discover that they love cooking or baking soon after giving it a try.

Cooking Enhances Wellness

Now that we have discussed cooking skills, let's switch gears and focus on what you should aim to cook with. At Enlightened Solutions, we focus on preparing and consuming whole, organic foods. Many come fresh from our farm. We know that organic, nutrient-dense foods help heal our bodies in ways that processed foods cannot.

For this reason, our wellness groups focus on teaching you how to create meals using healthy and organic ingredients. As discussed above, the skills that cooking helps develop build confidence and can prepare you for taking care of yourself after treatment.

Cooking and eating healthy, nutritious meals makes you feel better. When you feel better, you perform better. This can apply to your performance at work, at home, or even your activities while in treatment. You are more confident when you feel good and can present your best self.

Cooking Builds Group Learning Skills

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our wellness and nutrition activities in groups. We believe there is great benefit in learning among peers. This creates an opportunity for shared experiences and accountability. It can also be very motivating to have others share in your success and growth in cooking and wellness.

Setting new goals for yourself with each class and allowing others to be aware of your goals and progress can be very beneficial. You can be encouraged by peers to try new things and challenge yourself when it comes to cooking, and you can do the same for others.

The Value of Confidence in Recovery

Having confidence impacts your recovery in a variety of ways. First, confidence helps prevent relapse. The more confident you are, the less likely you are to give in to cravings. Additionally, confidence helps you stay motivated to remain engaged through 12-Step meeting attendance, sponsor communication, and other aspects of your recovery.

It is wild to think that learning to cook healthy and nutritious meals can impact your recovery in such a big way. However, it really can. Taking good care of yourself in treatment and recovery is crucial. Eating well is an essential component, and so is self-confidence.

Cooking is a fun way to improve your health and develop skills that can transfer into new jobs or hobbies in recovery. Learning to cook with fresh and organic ingredients can help you heal from the inside out and build the confidence you need to be successful in recovery.

Learning to cook can be very empowering and help you build confidence in treatment and recovery. Even if you have been cooking for yourself for years, you might benefit from learning new techniques or trying new ingredients. The skills required to cook are skills that can be useful in other areas of life as well. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer nutrition and wellness groups that teach clients how to prepare and enjoy meals made from fresh, organic ingredients. After cleansing your body of all the toxins, you need to consume foods rich in vitamins and nutrients to begin to heal. If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, we would love to speak to you about our programs. To begin your journey to healing and recovery, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.

Eight Tips for Coping with Boredom in Addiction Recovery

Eight Tips for Coping with Boredom in Addiction Recovery

Boredom is a common hazard for people recovering from addiction. Many people suddenly discover they have a lot of free time on their hands when they aren’t using drugs and alcohol, and this may be compounded further by trying to distance yourself from friends who still drink and use drugs. Perhaps the biggest reason boredom is so common is that drugs and alcohol artificially stimulate the brain’s dopamine system, so things that might normally be interesting are just sort of dull. It may take months before the brain changes enough that anything besides drugs and alcohol become interesting again.

In the meantime, boredom can be dangerous because it presents an opportunity to slip up. Indeed, for many people with substance use disorders, drugs and alcohol are the standard solution to boredom. The following are some tips you can use to cope with boredom and keep it from derailing your recovery from addiction.

Remember to apply your emotional regulation skills.

First, if you’ve gone through treatment or therapy for a substance use disorder, you probably learned a number of cognitive and behavioral skills for tolerating discomfort and regulating emotions. These might involve mindfulness or challenging underlying assumptions you have about the situation. Remember that these skills can apply to boredom just as well as other challenging emotions like anxiety or anger. Boredom is a sort of tension you feel when you want to do something, but nothing feels very satisfying. You have the option of exploring this feeling nonjudgmentally, which can make it less distressing, or identifying your faulty assumptions; perhaps thoughts like, “I must feel engaged and entertained at all times.”

Reframe boredom.

We typically feel that boredom is a negative emotion, but, like all emotions, boredom is merely information, a sort of red flag from the less articulate parts of our brain. Your boredom may be trying to tell you something important. Why is it your usual ways of occupying yourself are suddenly inadequate? Is it perhaps time to reevaluate your priorities or reconsider whether your actions are in line with your values? Boredom might be a signal that it’s time to challenge yourself a bit. Boredom can force you to be creative.

Avoid time-killers.

Many of us reach for our phones at the slightest twinge of boredom. You have to stand in this line for two minutes? Better check Facebook. Sitting at a red light? Better scroll through Instagram. While it seems like this is an obvious solution to boredom, it really just papers over the problem. You can mechanically scroll through social media, and although you’re technically doing something, your engagement and satisfaction remain low. You’re not addressing the underlying causes of your boredom, and you may actually be aggravating it. Before you reach for your phone, consider some of the other strategies on this list.

Do some chores.

When you’re bored, chores are probably the last thing you want to do. Chores are boring, which is why we put them off. However, chores have practical value. If your options are to sit there and be bored or wash the dishes and be bored, you can at least accomplish having clean dishes if you choose to wash the dishes. While this may not sound too enticing, picking something off your to-do list and just doing it can break the spell of boredom and lead you to something more engaging.

Try something new.

As noted above, sometimes boredom is a signal that it’s time for a new challenge or a signal that what you’ve been doing doesn’t align with your goals or values. Sometimes the way out is not to rely on the things you normally do but to try something new. It doesn’t have to be a major change. It could be something as trivial as taking a different route to work or taking the first step on a project you’ve been putting off. A new challenge or a break from your normal routine can give you a fresh perspective.

Manage your schedule.

Occasional boredom is unavoidable. Sometimes you get stuck on hold with the insurance company or you have an unexpectedly long wait at the doctor’s office. However, if you find yourself bored regularly, it could be that you’re not managing your time very well. Managing your schedule is always a delicate balancing act: you want to avoid feeling rushed and stressed out, but you also want to avoid large blocks of idle time. This is especially true when you’re recovering from addiction, for the reasons described above. If you seem to find yourself feeling bored at the same time every day or every week, find something to schedule in that time slot—a 12-Step meeting, a therapist’s appointment, a cooking class, exercise; it doesn’t matter, as long as it takes up some of the slack in your schedule with some useful activity.

Have a default activity.

As discussed above, reaching for your phone when you’re bored is a trap, so it might be a good idea to have a more useful default activity ready. Keeping a book handy is always good because you can learn something during those odd moments of free time throughout the day. Other options might include a quick language lesson or vocabulary review, a few rounds of a memory game like Dual N-Back, or knitting. The idea is to train yourself to do something productive in response to boredom, even if you don’t really feel like it.

Stick with a task for a set amount of time.

A typical experience of boredom is that you’ll have plenty of things you could be doing but none of them feel very satisfying. You might read for a few minutes, find it dull, play a video game for a few minutes, but not get into it, sit at the piano and plink out a few sour chords before giving up, and just keep wandering about aimlessly.

When you’re stuck in this sort of pattern, sometimes the best thing to do is just pick an activity and stick with it. It can take a few minutes to settle down and focus, and many activities are not fun or interesting until you get to that point. So the solution is often just to set a timer for 10 minutes or so and just keep working on it for that amount of time no matter what. Once you overcome that initial resistance, you’ll typically find the activity is no longer boring.

Boredom is one of many hazards in early recovery, but it’s not fundamentally different from other challenging emotions. Instead of dreading boredom, try to use it as a time to reflect on your priorities and whether your daily actions are in line with those. If you seem to be bored often, schedule more activities or find yourself a new challenge.

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that overcoming addiction means treating the whole person and helping our clients make meaningful life changes. We teach many skills, including distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and other strategies to help you overcome the challenges you’ll typically face during recovery. For more information, call us today at 833-801-5483 or explore our website.

The Effects of Sleeping Less Than Eight Hours

The Effects of Sleeping Less Than Eight Hours

It is very common for people to undermine how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. While we may be able to survive on just a few hours of sleep a night, it does not mean that we will be able to get by life like that. By learning about the health consequences of not getting a good night’s sleep every night, this will encourage you to make it a goal to sleep seven to eight hours a night.

Mental Health Issues

Having a short amount of sleep every night can lead to you having depressive and anxiety symptoms. Not having enough sleep every night increases your risk of engaging in risky behaviors like substance abuse and social isolation. This makes your head not clear and not having the energy to doing things that you love to do. To prevent feeling this way, you should make a journal of how much sleep you get every night and tracking down your mental whenever you wake up and how your day is going. Once you determine how much sleep you need, set alarm clocks for when to fall asleep. Remember, it takes fifteen minutes to fall asleep. By improving your sleep, your mind will grow stronger and your mental illness symptoms will further lessen.

Being Dehydrated

Nurse practitioner and spokesperson for Better Sleep Council Ellen Wermter says that the less you sleep, the more dehydrated you are compared to those who get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation can disrupt the release of hormones that regulate dehydration. Not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for kidney disease in which the kidneys play an important role in hydration. Not drinking enough water can lead to eye strain, fogginess, and an impact on skin health effects. The more water you drink can also lead to better health for your kidneys. When you are constantly depriving yourself of sleep, your skin has less elasticity and collagen. If you are someone who does not get enough sleep during the day, drink plenty of water during the day. This can mean making sure that you have a water bottle by your nightstand or a cup with a lid that you can bring with you to bed so that you do not have to get up to get a drink. 


Another problem with not getting enough sleep is that your body enters an inflammatory state that makes your body prone to mutation, growth, and the metastasis of your body’s cells. This can mean deal with body changes like hair loss and swollen ankles. If you experience inflammation for a long period of time, this can be very dangerous for your body in that you can be at an increased risk at developing cancer. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your doctor will suggest that you try to get plenty of sleep to avoid these symptoms growing worse.

Relationship Problems

Not getting enough sleep can cause a strain with your romantic partner. The less time you spend sleeping, you could be spending the rest of your day in a bad mood. You could be constantly feeling on edge where everything your partner does becomes an annoyance and a cause for a fight. It can also be stressful to have your partner have to sleep in bed alone without their partner there to keep them company in the night. It is best to try to go to sleep at the same time. If you notice your partner is in a better mood than you are during the day, it could be because they sleep for a longer amount of time than you. Your partner can encourage you to come into bed to help you avoid sleep deprivation.

Strained Brain Function

It could be possible that you are having trouble focusing whether it is in school, at work, or in your own household. This could mean that you were trying so hard to shut your eyes and go to sleep, but it just was not happening. Cognition can play a factor in sleep deprivation such as with memory, learning, information processing, decision-making, and judgment impairment. For example, if someone who is sleep-deprived is driving and a pedestrian walks in front of their car, it will take the driver a longer time to process that a pedestrian is in front of their car. What they are seeing is slowing down the driver’s overtired brain. In order to avoid this state of not being able to pay attention on a daily basis, you should eat a melatonin-rich snack like walnuts and cucumbers to help you sleep more easily. 

Weak Immune System

When you are sleeping, you are not only growing but you are also repairing your body and replenishing it. If you are not sleeping enough, that means that your immune system is not fully repairing itself. This can mean that you have a higher chance of getting an infection and your body will create fewer antibodies to fight viruses like the flu. You could be having a hard time sleeping because your bedroom is too cold. Wear an eye mask to block any light from distracting you and wear warm, fuzzy socks to keep your feet warm. Sleeping is very important for the body and the mind. By sleeping for seven to eight hours a night, you will wake up feeling happy and full of energy. 

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions has been a recovery center using evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Home Items That Trigger Anxiety

Home Items That Trigger Anxiety

Having anxiety means there will be triggers around you that cause you to feel intense worry that interferes with daily activities. These triggers may exist in your own home. By recognizing the triggers that are in your home, you will know if there is anything that you need to work on to improve your anxiety and be able to live in your house in peace.


Clocks in your house can be an anxiety trigger since we are used to looking at clocks to remind us when something we planned is coming up or if we are running late. When someone with anxiety runs late, they do not see it as a simple accident but as a shameful act that they cannot forgive themselves for. Instead of having to stare at the clock until it is time for your appointments or engagements, you can put an alarm on your phone to remind you when to get ready to leave. Instead of putting on a blaring alarm sound that will do nothing but make your anxiety worse, make the alarm silent but put your phone on vibrate. You will not need to keep staring at the clocks in your house to remind you when it is time to leave the house. Just look at those clocks casually if you are wondering about the time.


Showering is supposed to feel relaxing and soothing. For someone with anxiety, however, it can be stressful as taking a shower leads to getting ready for something important whether it is getting clean for work, an interview, or meeting a group of people. They may be rushing their shower in fear that taking too long will keep them late, making them not be able to enjoy it. It is important to look forward to taking a shower. Not only are you cleansing yourself, but you are being showered with a stream of hot water flowing down your body. When your shower is over, you will be relieved of the stress and feel good about yourself. Wash your body and your hair with your favorite scent to feel good about yourself or try out a new scent.

Bills and Forms

You may have a whole table filled with forms and bills that need to be paid. It can make you feel financially overwhelming by all of the bills that are due. Instead of letting this pile get bigger and bigger, organize them. Prioritize these forms by what needs to be due by the end of the week and another pile that can wait until next week. This will help you feel less overwhelming and a better chance that the pile will get smaller in a short amount of time. By letting the bills pile up, you are only letting your anxiety get worse.


While doorbells are not built into your house to cause panic in you, people with anxiety will experience it anyway. You may be scared when you hear the doorbell because you were not expecting visitors to come today and you do not know what to expect. You already assume that it can mean you are in trouble or someone bad is on the other side of the door instead of thinking it could be a friend or a relative popping by for a friendly visit. The panic can also be increased if you have a dog as dogs will automatically bark at the door as soon as the hear the doorbell. Ask yourself if the doorbell you have is too loud or you do not like the sound of the chime. Use the app Ring Doorbell which will give you an alert through your phone when someone is at the door compared to hearing a door chime.

Messy Room

Whenever someone with anxiety has a messy room, it can make you feel like your mind has become disorganized if you can no longer find where anything is. It can make you feel uneasy and even more so if you let the mess get bigger. In order to feel more calm and not lost in your own room, clean a little bit at a time such as a shelf, a drawer, the closet, under the bed, etc. Do not feel like you need to do too much at once. You can even ask a friend to help you go through your stuff to help you decide what holds enough sentimental value to keep. You will feel much lighter and more relaxed the more stuff you are able to throw away and organize.

Phone Notifications

Notifications, especially frequent, have a tendency to bring you panic. You could think that there is something important that you need to do urgently when it could be a notification about a junk mail message or an update on an app. If you feel like you are on edge whenever you hear a notification, you can try to change its sound so that it is more pleasant and optimistic. You can also organize on your phone’s settings what apps are important enough to have notifications for. For example, emails are important to have notifications for in case work is trying to contact you. You do not need to have notifications, however, if a game app keeps notifying you of sales for new upgrades. By recognizing your household triggers, you will know what improvements to make to better treat your anxiety.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How Depression Can Change with Age

How Depression Can Change with Age

Depression is a mental health disorder that will always stay with you no matter how old you get. You may notice certain changes in your depression the older you get as life tends to hit you such as dealing with grief, break ups, job loss, etc. By knowing about how depression symptoms can change the older you get, the better you will be able to prepare for them.

Depression Changes Your Body Age

A study from the Amsterdam University Medical Center showed that the DNA of people with major depression is older by eight months compared to those who do not have depression. They examined the DNA of 811 with depression and 319 without. The changes in genes that did not affect the DNA sequence (epigenetics) took place more quickly for those with depression. The scientists saw that people with major depressive disorder had a great deal of epigenetics and methylation which changes the activity of a DNA segment without changing the sequences. It showed people with depression were biologically older by eight months compared to people without. Severe cases showed the biological age was 10-15 years older than the chronological age.

The study also showed that those with childhood trauma were biologically 1.06 years older than those who did not experience trauma. Methylation levels increased and decreased with age. The difference becomes more apparent when someone enters their 50s and 60s. This research shows how early-life trauma can have an effect on us and how important it is to engage in early preventative treatment for depression and tough childhood experiences.

Depression Can Change Your Brain

The British Medical Bulletin showed that certain regions of the brain can be affected by depression such as the hippocampus, thalamus, amygdala, frontal and prefrontal cortices. The severity and the length that the episode lasts affects how much the brain will shrink. For example, noticable changes happen in the hippocampus during a single episode of depression or multiple, shorter episodes. When a section of the brain shrinks, the functions of that section shrink as well. For example, if the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala are responsible for emotional responses and they shrink, this can lead to a reduction in empathy.

A study by the Cambridge University Press did a study that showed 71,000 people with depression had a rapid brain age. They experienced cognitive decline, memory loss, and a decline in processing information. This shows that cognition function needs to be looked at when people have depression since they may be risked for an increase in cognitive decline. The more cognitive decline there is, the worse your depressive symptoms can be.

Depressive Symptoms Appear for the First Time When Aging

Even though we can get depression when we are young, it can also occur as late as age 50 for the first time. According to a 2015 study in Psychology and Aging, depression diagnoses can increase from ages 65-85. This could just happen as a result of the challenges that come with aging. Cleveland Clinic says that when we have an increase in health issues, grief, and loneliness, it can be a trigger to depressive symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014 said that middle-aged women between the ages of 40-59 had the highest rate of depression in the United States.

Antidepressant Responses Change Over Time

People with depression take antidepressants for a long time, but our reactions to the medications change when we get older. Either certain medications lose their effectiveness or biochemical changes are just not agreeing with your antidepressants. You should speak to your doctor about the depressive symptoms you are experiencing that are conflicting with your antidepressants to make any kind of changes in your prescription. The Mayo Clinic believes that as you get older, your brain and thinking changes which affects your mood. The changes in the way your body processes substances may mean that you need to take more medication and change your dosage.

Lack of Folate Vitamin Leading to Depression

Folate is a B vitamin and pregnant women are told to take more folic acid to reduce the risk of a miscarriage. For women, lower concentrations of folate in the blood and the nervous system can lead to depression, mental impairment, and dementia. Those with naturally lower folate levels can lead to problems with antidepressants. Folate deficiency also increases with age where the older you are, the more likely you have low folate levels which contribute to more depressive symptoms over time.

How to Treat Your Depression As You Age

As we age and change, our depression does the same thing. One thing that stays the same is that there will always be treatment available. One way is by connecting with others and limiting the times that you are alone. Being alone will only making your depressive symptoms worse as you are focusing too much on it. Socialize with your loved ones over the phone, email, or in person. You can also get out into the world by going to a park, having lunch with a friend, going to a show, etc. You can also volunteer your time so that you feel a good sense of accomplishment. You should also make sure to sleep for seven to eight hours, eat balanced meals, and exercise. Do not let your depressive symptoms worsen as treatment options will always be available no matter how old you get.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to Do During a Depressive Episode

Two woman working in the office. Answering questions and discussing business. Intentional low key color style

It can be hard when you do not know what to do during a depressive episode. This can mean losing interest in things you used to love to do, getting angry, restless, not being able to sleep, moving or talking more slowly than usual, having aches and pains for no reason, etc. By recognizing your triggers and being aware that what you are feeling now is temporary, you should be able to get through these episodes with hardly any struggle.

Keep Calm

When you feel a depressive episode occurring, this can make you feel panicked and nervous. If you give into these symptoms, it will only leave you with low moods and other extreme actions like loss of appetite or not being able to sleep. If you panic, then you will not be able to think. The best thing that you can do is try to stay calm. Remember that all of these feelings are temporary. That they have gone away in the past and will continue to do so again. Focus on how strong you are and what you have learned in the past to make these episodes go away. There are many techniques to help you stay calm like meditation and breathing exercises. Focus on your own breath and stay in the present.

Acknowledge Your Depression

Accept that you have depression and are struggling with it instead of making yourself belief that it does not exist. Do some research about depression so that you are aware of how common it is and that it is not a sign of weakness but a mental disorder that can be treated. With the awareness that depressive episodes have a tendency to occur, you will be able to better prepare for them if you know they are coming.

Depression Does Not Define You

Depression is a condition that is a part of you but that is not all that you are. You need to remind yourself that you are not defined by your depressive episodes. Chant to yourself that you may have depression, but you are not depression. That you have a name and other attributes to your personality that have nothing to do with your depression. Think of who you are to other people whether it is a parent, a brother, a sister, a friend, a neighbor, etc. You should write down a list of the strengths, abilities, and other qualities that separate you from other people. Look at this list when you feel a depressive episode coming on and remind yourself who you are.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that changes the negative thought patterns of a person into positive ones as a person’s thoughts shape who they are. While there are therapists that specialize in this form of therapy that can offer you tactics, you can also do this at home. Think of how often these negative thoughts come to you and what is being said in your thoughts. You may think that you are not good enough or feel like a failure. Instead of letting these thoughts stay with you, change them to positive thoughts. For example, if you feel like a failure, remind yourself of everything that you have accomplished up to today that may be hard for other people to do. Know your worth and live by it.

Nighttime Routine

Not getting enough sleep can lead to more depressive symptoms coming your way and depression can be the reason why you are not getting enough sleep. Try to make a nighttime routine every night so that your length of sleep is always the same. For example, this can mean that you have decided that the night is over for you around nine p.m. You have decided to cozy up to a nice book with a cup of tea by your bedside. Try not to watch television or go on your computer or smartphone as this will keep you more awaken when the goal is to unwind. If your thoughts are still racing and you are having trouble going to sleep, write your thoughts down in a journal as a way of telling yourself that tomorrow is another day and it is time to wipe your mind clean of today’s problems. Remember that it takes about fifteen minutes to fall asleep so plan when it is time to sleep accordingly.

Be Aware of Your Depressive Triggers

These depressive triggers do not come out of nowhere. Something in your life causes these episodes to occur. One red flag can be when you hear others around you talking about their successes. You may be thinking that everyone has it easier than you and that your friends will all be a success while you remain a failure. Another red flag can be that you have not been exercising lately which is causing you not to have a lot of energy to do things you were able to do before.

Your friends may not be able to help bragging about their successes. If you are aware that these episodes occur in moments of hearing the success of others, speak to a therapist or a parent about how you are feeling. Instead of ignoring these red flags, acknowledge them. Alternately, you should prevent letting these depressive episodes define you. Choose to overcome them by planning out what to do and tackle these episodes head on.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Dealing With Depression While Traveling

Traveling can be hard for those that are struggling with depression. They feel sad leaving the comforts of their home and traveling can be overwhelming if you have to go on a trip for work or family obligations that disrupts your usual routine. It is important to see travel as a way that can step you out of your comfort zone and show you a part of the world that you would not have been able to experience if you continued staying at home.

Plan Out Trip

Because you are used to having a routine, you can plan out your trip in advance so that you do not need to go searching for restaurants or entertainment once you get there. To make sure that you feel safe, you can look up the names of hospitals surrounding your areas as well as pharmacies. You will not feel overwhelmed by being in a strange place where you do not know where everything is if you do your research. Continue with your usual rituals that you have at home in terms of when you eat your meals or do your exercises. At the same time, do not be afraid to see or try something different that you would not be able to do at home.

Another way to plan your trip is by bringing with you your medications including prescription labels in case you lose them and you need to get another prescription. Bring enough medication to last you for your trip as well as a few extras in case something happens to them. Also, have the phone number of your psychiatrist with you if you ever need to talk to him or her or if you feel like you are about to have a depressive episode. Planning out your trip should leave you with no surprises. You can even come up with back up places to go to just in case certain venues are too crowded to get into.

Have a Positive Attitude

Having depression can make it very easy to only see the negativity of going on a trip. You may think that the weather will be lousy for the whole duration, your mode of transportation will break down, you will get lost, you will not have fun, etc. You should see getting on the plane, train, or car to your destination as an accomplishment in itself. That you did not let your fears get in the way of your goal to get out of the house and venture to a new area. It is important to know what your depressive triggers are so that you will know in advance what you should do if you run into a trigger. If you feel a trigger is heading your way, take a deep breath and use others as support of what to do. Just believe heading into this new area that everything will be okay and will have a fun time.


Depression has a tendency to make you feel alone. You do not need to feel that way for the whole duration of your trip. If you feel too nervous about planning this trip by yourself, have someone help. Pick someone who has either been to where you have been before to give you great recommendations or someone with experiencing traveling a lot. If your symptoms become too hard to manage, know that there is someone you can call who will have the time to talk you down from an episode. See if your therapist can speak to you through the phone or through a Skype call whenever you need it. If your have any friends or relatives in the area you are traveling to, see if you can visit them or meet them somewhere so that you know there are familiar people nearby.

Be Careful with Alcohol

Do not feel like because you are feeling depressed being away from home that it gives you an excuse to drink excessively. Many may think that drinking will loosen them up and relax them to avoid having a depressive episode. The truth is that alcohol can make your depression worse so it is important to make sure that you do not drink too much alcohol during your stay.

Reserve Room for Downtime

When you are traveling, you do not have to put pressure on yourself to always be busy every day that you are out of town. You can use some times or days to just relax in your hotel room or by the beach. While you may not want to waste any second when entering a new place, people with depression need to have some down time just like when they are at home. If you are planning to go to a particular event or activity and you do not feel up to it, just cancel your plans and relax as you might feel refreshed when you wake up.

Take Care of Your Body

The most important thing that you can do while you are on vacation tackling depression is by taking care of your body. Remember to continue exercising, get out in the sun, eat and drink right, and sleep for seven to eight hours to reduce the chances of depressive symptoms appearing. Preparing for your trip and knowing that people who care about you are always within reach will improve your mood when it is time for you to travel.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.