So you continue in this cycle until the person you care for improves and you are able to sleep a little better. But now you find you are waking up in the night. Why? Because you have been so exhausted your serotonin levels have dropped and not only does serotonin improve mood, it is also responsible for ensuring you get a good nights sleep.
Here are just some of the symptoms of serotonin deficiency: anger, being unusually sensitive to pain, carbohydrate cravings and binge eating, constipation, digestive disorders, feeling glum from lack of sunlight, feeling overwhelmed, hyper vigilance, insomnia, joylessness, low self-esteem, migraines, and poor cognitive function. Is this all sounding a bit too familiar?
My recent poor health I know I can put down to a difficult few weeks in February when the children where both very poorly and I was living on very little sleep. I am in no doubt that the bouts of depression and anxiety I experience have some connection with the times when I have had poor sleep as a result of being a Carer. At least now I am aware of this and so after periods of poor sleep I need to be aware of the things I can naturally do to boost my serotonin.
Serotonin Boosters include:
Exercise – 10 minutes of Cardio work is all it takes to start boosting your Serotonin levels again.
Balanced diet – try to have a balanced diet and supplement with Omega 3 oils, B Vitamins, Magnesium and Vitamin D during periods of stress.
Herbal Supplements – Rhodiola Root has long been favoured as a natural anti-depressant and anti-fatigue supplement that has very few side effects. Passionflower (Passiflora) has in some studies on anxiety been shown to be as effective as anti-anxiety drugs in reducing levels of anxiety.
Sunlight – Proven to increase your levels of serotonin and Vitamin D. Try to go for a walk or sit in the sun for just 15 minutes a day to boost your levels.
Power of Positive thinking – as a carer this can be a tough one, but trying to change who you think about a situation can actively help to increase serotonin levels in the body.
So how do I get this vitality back that Andrew Solomon speaks of? I did read that he personally gets eight hours sleep a night. I am so jealous! I wish I could get eight hours a night as do half the Carers in the country who are looking after someone who requires medical help during the night.
I think that we can only get the vitality back when the chemical balance in our brain is functioning better. Today I walked in to town for the first time in months, the sun was shining and I felt energised. That would not have happened even a week ago. There is no quick fix; it takes weeks and months of making adjustments to get back on track.
Steps we can take to Boost Vitality:
I don’t want to be a statistic; I want to take action to improve my own wellbeing. So remember: Check in on how you are feeling, talk to someone about your symptoms, see your GP and make a plan to help yourself.