I’m so happy to be back here with all of you. Sometimes we find ourselves heading down an unsteady path on our journeys and need to be re-routed back to where we began.
I have always struggled with Seasonal Affective Disorder a type of depression that is brought on and related to changes in seasons. I would never have admitted it before, but being in a better place has motivated me to share. Before Christmas 2016 I felt myself falling into a slump that I just could not pull myself out of no matter how hard I tried and strangely with my usual round of S.A.D came severe anxiety. I let my mental health get so bad that I didn’t want to leave my house, wanted people to leave me alone, avoided situations, worried 24/7, couldn’t sleep, among other things. Some of these things were normal for me as I am actually an introvert-which may surprise you… but some of these things were not normal at all. I have been on a journey to better my health for over a year now but decided with my diagnosis that I needed to kick my health up a notch and save myself- for myself.
I thought I would share the changes I have made in my lifestyle that have brought me the best mental clarity and wellness in years because if theyve helped me… they may help someone else silently suffering as well.
1. Cut out Sugar- I have almost completely cut sugar out of my diet and the benefits have been tremendous. I now crave healthier foods, sleep better, have lost weight and feel less agitation. It’s really unbelievable what sugar does to your body but not surprising as it’s proven to be 8 times more addictive than cocaine.
2. Drink more water- yes you’ve heard it thousands of times before… but seriously get it in you, your body will thank you. Many studies have found that dehydration affects 25% of those with persistent stress and dehydration is known to cause more anxiety. Water also helps to detox your body by flushing bad toxins out of your system. I drink at least 4 litres of water a day and no I’m not floating and yes my body craves more.
3. Less coffee- cutting back on my caffeine intake has been crucial to deal with my anxiety as I find it makes me jittery, agitated, dehydrated and occasionally lightheaded. Coffee and black tea make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleep is connected to mood therefore severely hindering your mental state. I have replaced my need for coffee with herbal teas. Don’t get me wrong I still indulge in the odd cup, just less.
4. Eat Whole-eating whole has been a passion of mine for the majority of my life but I’ve become more educated in the last year. Foods that don’t have an ingredient label or have minimal ingredients are what make up the contents of my kitchen. I like to de-stress and reduce my anxiety by getting into my kitchen and preparing healthful, homemade meals for my family. I find that being connected to your food from farm to fork gives you a better appreciation for the foods you are consuming and in turn helps you to make better choices. Choosing the “right” foods can aid in raising our serotonin levels-which is our happy hormone.
5. Alcohol- is a depressant and more specifically depresses the central nervous system… which controls how we process emotions. You will be surprised at what cutting back on your consumption will do for your body, mind and memory.
6. Fast Food- is linked to depression in multiple ways but for me… it makes me feel awful, I don’t like the taste and it disconnects me from one of my coping mechanisms- time spent preparing healthful meals.
7. Lean Reds- I try to consume many forms of lean red meats with priority given to bison, that are high in iron but especially Omegas to support the functioning of my brain. I also try to consume dark leafy vegetables multiple times a day.
8. Supplementation-I support my body with various essential oils, omega 3,6,9 and high doses of vitamin D. I also take a double dose of Juice Plus+ because even though I eat mainly whole foods and focus on getting adequate fruits and vegetables into my body, I’m still not consuming enough. JP bridges the gap between what I should be eating and what I do eat and is proven to support your immune system, assist you with sleeping, make you crave more water etc. Everything that JP does for my body aids me with my depression and anxiety.
9. Medication- I was open and honest with my doctor and decided to get medicated for the first time in my life- and that’s okay. I prefer to take the natural route whenever possible but when you need additional support, you need it.
10. Non-Consumables- things that I have implemented into my life that do not get consumed but have helped support me through my anxiety and depression include: getting outside, re-finding my love for exercise, researching and educating myself on what was happening in my brain, my newfound fascination with nutrition and living green, journeying to minimalism, gaining more house plants, the meditative sound of my aeroponic growing system, the power of positivity, meditation as a whole, sleep and animal assisted therapy.
Some of these things may seem new agey or out there to you… but trust me these are the things that have straightened my unsteady path. Being open minded is what has helped me most on my journey to mental clarity & wellness and I hope you can find yourself there too.
Whatever it was that brought you here to read this article today, I’m happy it did. Know that with this post if you are struggling, you are not alone.
Until next time,