Firefighting – the second thread for Depression Recovery
Firefighting to reduce arousal pays big dividends quickly
Firefighting is quite clearly distinct from Hope and in logic should follow on from the first requirement to kindle Hope. But there is little doubt also that as Firefighting proceeds, this will nurture Hope and may even jump-start it.
What is Firefighting?
Firefighting for depression recovery is the urgent immediate action needed to reduce rumination and so allow sleep to become more restful and replenishing. This will happen as the need to dream subsides.
It is overwhelming and useless rumination that requires a large amount of exhausting REM dreaming sleep to discharge and neutralise the rumination that feeds and maintains depression.
If rumination can be controlled then very quickly (within just a few days) sleep will become more refreshing, Hope will be supported and action can begin to get a life that works much better.
The key to Firefighting is distraction
Firefighting is about distracting attention and filling up one’s mind in activity that shifts you away from useless rumination – which is a trance state of inward self obsession.
My guess is that when it comes to distracting activities, you know very well what will help. There may be clearing up and tidying up work to be done at home, there may be visits to be made to friends or family that you haven’t seen for a long time. And perhaps there are some treats and surprises that you could plan for yourself that would take you out of your normal self obsessed routine.
Critically, with a different perspective that now understands the short-term benefit of successful Firefighting, visits to the gym and the planning of nutritious food can play a part.
Firefighting is about doing small things a little differently and noticing the change and the more refreshing sleep that follows on very quickly.
Set your alarm. During tiring times like this, using an alarm clock can be most helpful. Set your alarm in the morning so you don’t end up staying in bed all day long. If you have an important meeting to attend, or an appointment, set your alarm as well. A constant reminder of your daily tasks can keep you motivated to do what you have to do.
Do something different today – including a small pleasure. Change your routine and spend time planning how it might be different. Cook a different meal, give yourself a lunchtime treat, make a phone call to someone unexpectedly, – the list is endless.
Dress up. Take a long, cold shower, brush your teeth, apply makeup, and wear a pretty dress. Even if you just work from home, dress up! Doing this increases your urge to lounge because again, you are reinforcing in your brain that you are getting ready for something.
Move around. Sweating it out is one way to boost your motivation and get your body going. Choose an exercise that works for you. You don’t have to force yourself to do an intense workout. You simply go with walking, swimming, running, or gardening.
Schedule your tasks/activities.Schedule your tasks according to your energy levels. If you think you have more energy in the morning, you may want to do tougher jobs and reserve the lighter ones in the afternoon. For bigger projects, consider creating a timeline of at least one or two weeks (more if necessary). Break a big task to smaller ones. And don’t forget to incorporate activities that give you pleasure, such as your hobbies and passion.
Connect with people you love. Being with people you love, including your friends and family is one way to boost your mood. And when you’re feeling good, you are more likely to motivate yourself to hit your daily goals. Remember that the more you remove yourself from the environment of depression, the better your chance of recovery.
Go out. Leaving the house can be one of the most difficult challenges people with depression face. One reason for this is not having a place to go. When your depressed, even the most entertaining places can be boring and less amusing. But you don’t have to be somewhere far, different or extraordinary to reap the benefit of going out. Just take a short walk around the neighborhood or invite a friend for a cup of coffee, go to the mall and shop, or walk your dog in the park.