Getting Through Tough Times

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In my experience mental illness episodes come and go and range in their seventy. They range from feeling slightly numb, anxious with a tiny sense of dread, to a debilitating, bedroom ridden lockdown where all I can see are the unpleasant memories that have accumulated over the years.

I hate these darker, totally reclusive days because I feel like they are sucking the life right out of me, essentially, I suppose that’s exactly what they are doing. With all that said, I always come through them to enjoy happier days, so when I am in this darkened place, I tell myself to ride the scary wave to its conclusion. There are always better days.

Thankfully, I don’t experience this level of mental pain all that often and when I do, it tends to be one day then I’m back on my feet; I may not be a hundred percent, but I can function well enough to force myself out the door.

What then gives me the ability to spring back from the edge? Two things, the tools I have learned and my willingness to acquire knowledge. They both take me steps further down the road to mental wellness. The following are a few things I employ to minimize the odds of the debilitating days:

Diet- Research has shown time and time again that diet and mental health go hand in hand. I eat mostly a plant-based diet. I have more energy and it lowers my anxiety to a level where I can manage the tough times much easier. I have an overall sense of happy when I eat better… Mental health benefits of a plant-based diet. I am not trying to convert anyone, I have found this eating style works best for me. Essentially, the better the food the better the mood.
Learn how to run

Exercise – As far as I am concerned, when it comes to managing anxiety, depression and other mental disorders, noting tops a good run or workout. I often refer to running and lifting as mother nature’s medication. For me, exercise and mental health fundamental. For example, a good jog increases blood flow to the brain, optimizing its function and thus reducing mental illness symptoms. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I can feel my mental health improve with each step and with every rep; give it a try.

Seeing friends and family – Family and friends are of the absolute importance to my mental health recovery, they have been the fuel that keeps propelling me forward. We are wired for connection, Social connection gives us a sense of purpose. Upon learning about this fact, I incorporated it into my wellness plan. Essentially, I force myself out of my home and make plans with those I care for most. 

Within these three staples that make up the bulk of my mental wellness plan, there are so many options for success. Diet you can flex a bit, In my case I go back and forth from veganism and vegetarianism; Exercise can totally be on your terms. Although it’s great to have a plan, you can fill it full of exercises you enjoy. They can be whatever you’re capable of. Keep in mind that exercise for men and women is a bit different.

The importance of human connection

 I lift light and run 10 to 15mins max, four days a week; Social connection can be making yourself go out to dinner with a good friend, going to a play with a  coworker or making memories with the family at home. Go for it, especially when your mental health condition flares, I’m betting you, most times, won’t regret it.

So, there you have it, these things get me through tough times. Why not give them a try to see which ones work best for you?

If you are suffering from PTSD, please reach out. I thank you for your service and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!

If you are struggling please go here: Crisis Services Canada

Want help fund my book? donate: GOFundMe – The Road To Mental Wellness – The book

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