I think when it comes to our health, there's certainly a place for professionals and medication but we have to play a big part in our own wellness too. We have to take control and responsibility and do as much as we can to be healthy.
When I was in a really dark place, it was a combination of things that helped me see the light. The most significant was changing my inner voice and challenging my thoughts.
I started watching videos on healing and the power of positive thoughts. I began to see things in a new light and that kick started my journey to getting better. It wasn't the cure but it helped in a huge way. A good way to start is to put quotes and positive affirmations on your social media, wall, desk, or fridge (anywhere you'll see it). Watch videos or movies that will lift you up.
There were many nights where I heavily depended on my family and friends for support. Some nights I made my sister sleep with me because I couldn't stop thinking about suicide and dying. My thoughts would spiral and I would be too panicked to sleep alone. Some nights I would call my boyfriend late, crying, and he would help me feel better. My parents had to rush over when I had my first panic attack. My best friend would hang out with me and we'd just stay in and relax. I learned that it's ok to need other people and be vulnerable. We're not meant to go it alone.
Yoga and Meditation
Taking time to focus on the body and mind in a quiet space truly does wonders. Part of the reason I experienced my breakdown was because I was living too quickly and doing too much. Yoga and meditation have taught me how to slow down, reflect, and clear my mind. I've practiced Kundalini yoga almost every Sunday for over a year now and I meditate every morning. These two things have become habits for me and I feel off if I don't do them. I'm planning a blog post on Kundalini so you can learn what exactly it is and why I do it so stay tuned for that.
How to meditate
Kundalini yoga, Where I go
This is self explanatory but I have to exercise a few times a week to help me cope with life's stresses. It's important to realize that there will always be stress in life so find a healthy way to cope with it. There's a long list of benefits and many are mental health related. Exercising boosts happy chemicals in your brain that help you feel relaxed. It sharpens your memory and helps you focus. I feel tired and foggy when I don't get my weekly dose of exercise.
When I eat junk, I feel like junk. It sucks because I used to be able to eat whatever I want and not have any consequences. I think it's so cool how food has the power to make you feel energized and glowing from the inside out. I just don't get that same feeling from eating bad foods so I try to keep my diet on the healthy side. Of course I'm human and have a life that includes chocolate and cookies and ice cream. I try to primarily eat healthy foods because I feel better that way.
Prioritize your Time
Before when I was asked to do something or attend an event, I never thought about how the rest of my week looked or even if I actually wanted to do it. If I could physically be there, I would be. While this was fun, it left me with virtually no time for myself. No time to relax or accomplish personal goals, or see people I actually wanted to see. Now I use a planner to write down my schedule for the week and ensure that I have a few nights to myself or to spend with my boyfriend. This helps me to not overbook myself and ensure that I have enough time to incorporate my self care routine.
Surroundings and Purpose
When I began my wellness journey, I began changing up my apartment to include things that simply make me feel happy when I'm home. One being plants. I admit I have a bit of an obsession with them but they do clean the air and they make me oh so happy. Try to find something you love that will make your home conducive to wellness. Be it a painting, a waterfall, or a puppy. When I say purpose, I mean ask yourself "Am I doing something I love or working towards my dream?" If you hate what you're doing everyday, then it's going to be hard to grow or be well on a daily basis. See what else is out there and do some inner exploring to figure out what would make you happy. Try volunteering to see what you really like doing.
|My new baby. A coral cactus.|
A large part of why anxiety sucks is because you're constantly worried or scared of something. Your brain revolves around fears and it's hard to get out of. Once I tried doing things I was scared of, I realized that I could do it, and that boosted my confidence. At one point, I was terrified of drinking coffee because I thought it would give me a headache and then I would shake and potentially faint or this or that (I would catastrophize the situation). I know it sounds silly but it was actually something I was afraid of. Once I tried drinking a coffee (I did it in the comfort of my home on a day off) and realized that all my fears were wrong, it helped me to move past it.
I've come such a long way from that moment. I was also afraid of exercising at one point because of the same reason (headache, heart beating fast, etc), but slowly I incorporated little workouts into my day, and I'm so proud to say that I will be running my first ever 5 km tomorrow morning. Yes, running. Yes, 5 kms!
|Me with my run group! L-R (Lauren, Me, Joelle, Tracey). Photo by @RunningRoomRose!|
We are all capable of anything if we face our fears and just do it! Don't let anxiety tell you otherwise. You are worthy of achieving anything you want. If I can do it, you can too.
I hope this list helps you in some way! I truly rely on all of these things each day to help me stay well. Hope you've had a great Mental Health Week!