Have you ever noticed how sometimes after experiencing something really great or really stressful, you often just feel wiped out afterwards? For people who deal with depression regularly, they can almost anticipate the exhaustion coming on. In medical and therapy terms, it’s called “postadrenalin depression”. For you though, we can just call it really, really hard.
The older we get, the harder it is to bounce back after a “high-adrenaline” experience. As a result, we tend to feel depressed more easily after an exciting or really difficult and challenging experience. According to Dr. Archibald Hart, psychologist and former dean of the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, people often experience the “adrenal” letdown on weekends, when the heavy demands of the work week are over. Saturdays or Sundays can often be very depression for a busy executive, he says. College students may experience the low after taking an exam, families may feel it after returning home from a vacation, and many people feel down after the holidays.
Luckily, there are ways to help:
1. Don’t over do it
Everyone, especially those dealing with clinical depression, need rest. It’s important to understand your body’s need for rest and recovery from events. The older you get, the harder it is for your body to recover from exciting and stressful events. Don’t head back to work immediately after such an event if possible. Put away the smartphone. Turn off the computer. Stop doing yardwork. Curl up on the couch or go to bed early. You may not see physical effects of what you’ve been through, but emotionally, your body needs to heal.
2. Check your mood
Monitor the changes in your mood. Your mood fluctuations can tell you a lot about the connection between your high-demand activity and the ensuing depression. Keeping a “Mood Log” is helpful.
3. Calm down
I know, I know. This is easier said than done. No, this isn’t one of those situations where a husband is telling his angry wife to “calm down” (by the way, that never works. Husbands, I don’t advise trying it.). What this means is allow yourself some time to “cool off” before, during and after a stressful experience. Remaining “high strung” can be damaging to your emotional system. Calming down helps you to manage your adrenaline.
4. Remember it’s okay to feel bad
There’s nothing wrong with taking some time for yourself. In the world of counseling and therapy, we call this “self-care”. Cooperate with your low mood. Take advantage of low demand activity and rest. Consider increasing your amount of sleep when you’re anticipating a period of heavy demand. Do thinks that are relaxing and fun. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun, especially if that helps to improve your mood and overall outlook.
5. Don’t overthink it
Many times, Christians have a way of overspiritualizing or overpsychologizing their low feelings. Remember, it’s not a sin to feel bad, and it’s also not a sin to suffer from depression. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to have your life together. No one is perfect, so don’t be too hard on yourself.