Though Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years are times of celebration, for some, this cheery season is a dreary season. We can go to countless parties and buy all the shiniest and latest things and still feel unfulfilled. We can find ourselves in a crowded room feeling more lonely than when we are alone. Though we are fundamentally social beings and need social situations to keep us healthy and balanced, happiness does not come from external things. A life built on sincere joy and gratitude begins within ourselves.
Depression is like a dark, heavy veil that masks our ability to see the light. For some, it is a clinical illness that must be addressed by a skilled health care practitioner, or a biological reaction to the lack of light during darker seasons. For most, depression is a message from the soul calling to be heard.
When we are depressed, we have temporarily lost our desire to engage the world. Perhaps that is ok. It can be a cue to go deeper. When we meet depression with a sense of attention and kindness, without judgment, we may find that we are being invited by our soul to go within and enter the wise cave of our hidden mysteries. We live busy and often disconnected lives. Easily caught up in what others think or how we appear in society, we can lose touch with our own, unique inner voice. Depression may be calling us home to our soul.
Our personal health, just like the universe as a whole, moves to sustain balance. When we have expressed too much outward energy, we are drawn to move inward. If we remain too inward, we must move out into the world. Depression may be a cue that we need to regain balance and adjust our inner and outer relationship.
Like personal archaeology or deep sea diving that reveal hidden treasures, our inner work is essential to touch places that have been lost or forgotten. Perhaps it is time to get to know yourself better, to make friends with your soul. Perhaps your soul is saying that you need to make changes in your life. Whatever the soul messages may be, internal work is essential to release feelings of being helpless, trapped or stuck that often accompany depression.
Just as the universe moves to sustain balance, if you go deeper within, make a commitment for an external daily activity, like going for walks, even just for five minutes. If you already do that, try the gym or a fitness class. When we take this gentler, more internal and inquisitive approach to depression, it is healthy to maintain certain external activity, to help keep a balanced state of consciousness.
If you tend to have more of an extroverted life, then book time with a therapist where you can be supported to go inward. Start journaling to express your deepest feelings and freely explore your internal landscape. Treat yourself to the nurturing warmth of an epsom salt bath with fragrant essential oils to soothe and inspire, like bergamot, lemon or rose.
Most of all, when you feel depressed, make friends with yourself by getting to know what you are really feeling. Avoid medicating with things like sweets and cakes, or distracting yourself with too much TV or movies. Those will only keep you stuck and silence your inner voice. Go inside in a way that feels safe for you. Do daily activities that feel fun and boosts your self esteem. Keep the very important inner work alive and invite the wisdom of depression into your life. It just may be your soul trying to get your attention.
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine. In addition to being an internationally acclaimed Canadian singer, songwriter, producer and performer, she is a yoga teacher and holistic educator, having studied yoga and meditation since 1987, and developed her own yoga teaching style called YEM™: Yoga as Energy Medicine. Her current show, “Yoga in the Nightclub”, brings forward a conscious energy into the pop mainstream.