Recently I’ve been working on getting healthier. In general, I find that the healthier I get overall the easier my depression is to manage.
When I don’t exercise and start eating a lot of fast food and junk food my depression and anxiety get worse. Getting healthy used to really overwhelm me but I’ve been taking a lot of small steps to live a healthier lifestyle and it’s really started to add up.
If you’re struggling with depression I suggest you go talk to a Doctor and a Therapist ASAP. I also suggest that you examine your lifestyle and brainstorm ways to get healthier overall. It can be intimidating to think about changing your lifestyle and coping with depression can make it seem even more difficult. However, this is your life and you deserve to heal and start feeling better.
These are some of the changes I have made that have made my depression and anxiety much easier to manage. Keep in mind that I have been implementing these changes for a long time and it didn’t happen overnight. I really had to focus on changing my lifestyle a little at a time.
I am actually in the process of really cleaning up my diet. I tend to use food as a coping tool and when I get stressed or depressed I eat a lot of pizza and junk food. I suggest that you keep a food diary for a few weeks so you can see what your eating habits are and where you can improve.
I’ve been making a big effort to cut out sugar and dairy because I realized that those foods had a big impact on my mood.
Anytime I eat them my energy is depleted and I have a hard time getting anything done.
Tracking what you eat and your mood throughout the day will help you figure out what foods give you energy and what foods take your energy away.
My goal is to start eliminating foods that make me feel tired and sluggish and only consume foods that give me energy and make me feel healthy and strong.
When I first started making these changes I thought I didn’t like healthy food and that I hated cooking.
However, I’ve actually really started to enjoy cooking meals for myself. I always make extra so I have good food to eat throughout the week. I’ve also found some recipes that I really like to eat that are super easy to make.
I also did a cleanse to help me reset my body and break my addiction to processed food, sugar and caffeine.
I’m not going to lie, it was REALLY hard but it was so worth it in the long run. Committing to not eating any processed food for 21 days helped me get in the routine of cooking for myself and prepping my meals. It made me even more aware of how much food impacts my mood and the way I feel.
If you want to learn more about how food can impact depression check out the video below.
Added Home Workouts
I have recently been obsessed with home workouts. The fitness library I subscribe to has really awesome programs you can do from home. My favorite program is only 30 minutes of working out four times a week. Trying to get to the gym every day feels overwhelming to me but committing to doing thirty minutes at home four times a week feels really doable.
I really like that I can work out without having to take the time to drive to the gym. I still have a gym membership for a gym that I really love going to.
It’s an amazing form of self-care for me and truthfully a lot of times I go just to spend time in the sauna and steam room. Even though I love going to the gym I find it difficult to get there on a regular basis. Having the home workouts helps me get my workout in even on really busy days.
The other thing that I love about the streaming workout classes is that I can do them even when I’m on vacation or traveling. I love to travel but it is actually really difficult for me to manage my depression and anxiety while I’m traveling.
When I’m out of my routine my depression and anxiety tend to get much worse. Having workout classes that I can bring with me helps me keep up my fitness routine even when I’m away from home.
Started Taking Walks
This is my favorite self-care ritual that I have right now. I recently started taking a walk in the morning and evening when the weather is nice. It started as a way to do something nice for my dog, Charlie. I work from home all day but often I feel guilty because I ignore Charlie for a good portion of the day while I work. Finally, I decided to start taking him for a walk before I start working and every day when I get done.
This is actually one of the best things I’ve started doing for my mental health. Getting out of the house every day is really great for my mental health and I listen to a positive podcast while we walk. The podcast really helps me set the tone of the day and I’ve found it SO helpful.
While I walk I set intentions for how I want to feel that day and think about everything I am thankful for in my life. It’s become a beautiful morning ritual.
Besides all of the mental health benefits, it’s also great to get a little exercise during the day. If you’re not ready to start doing home workouts or join a gym I suggest trying something simple like going for a short walk in the morning.
This seems like such a simple point I almost hate to put it on this list. I know that you guys all know that you need to drink water every day. However, if you’re like me I’m sure there are still days where you don’t drink enough water. Drinking water is the simplest way to start your health journey and to start feeling better. It’s going to be difficult to manage your depression when you’re dehydrated.
If I don’t set a goal for how much water I want to drink throughout the day I won’t drink enough.
Figure out how much water you should be drinking every day and make a plan for how you can actually consume that amount. I try to have half of my water drank for the day before 9am. That means the first few hours I am awake I have to be chugging water.
If you don’t like water try adding lemon or fruit to it to add some flavor.
I know exercising and eating healthy can feel really overwhelming when you’re struggling with depression and anxiety. Drinking water and staying hydrated is a great way to get started if you’re looking for something easier to add to your routine.
In my mental health Facebook group, I always see women being so hard on themselves. The truth is if you don’t celebrate your accomplishments you’re not going to be motivated to keep going.
Think about it. How motivated are you going to be to keep going if your inner dialogue sounds like this:
“you’re never going to be able to do it”
“so and so is so much further ahead of you”
“who cares that you’re doing these small things anyway?”
Celebrating your accomplishments will release endorphins in your brain and make you want to keep going. You can rewire your brain to keep wanting to continue your mental health journey by celebrating your success and changing your inner dialogue.
I’ve had to do a TON of work on my inner dialogue because I spent years beating myself up and being a bully in my own mind. My inner dialogue was harsh and nothing I ever did was good enough. If you want to hear more about how I changed my inner dialogue subscribe to my mental health podcast where I share all my mental health mindset tricks.
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