All things cycle, and we all go through natural emotional lows. Sometimes, though, these lows can make it hard to even function, let alone be proactive about feeling better. At times like these, we just need to take care of the basics.
Sometimes, you really just need to go back to the basics. Without a strong foundation to stand upon, there's no way to rise above (thanks Maslow!)
If we put crap into our bodies, that is what fuels us. When you're fueled by crap, you feel like crap.
Pay attention to how your food makes you feel. For instance, I drank tangerine juice yesterday that sent me straight into a sugar-spike headache. Noticed, noted, not happening again.
Eat your veggies & drink a lot of water. Harvard University recently put out a more accurate version of the food pyramid, the Healthy Eating Plate - check it out for more specifics.
Eat real foods. If you're not sure what real foods are, check out Food Renegade's Real Food basics article. Essentially, if it's packaged, processed, or has ingredients you don't recognize, don't eat it.
Sleep & rest
Sleep re-charges your mind, spirit, and emotions. REM sleep lets you dream out the day's frustrations and confusions, helps your unconscious self find new solutions, and gives you a chance to just stop thinking.
Some people need less sleep than others, but most need between 7-9 hours a night. Check out SleepTiming for a neat tool that works with your circadian rhythms for the most restful sleep.
Speaking of restful sleep, if you're getting drunk or smoking before bed, you're not getting the actual rest your body and mind needs. Alcohol and nicotine prevent you from sleeping deeply, and drugs like marijuana suppress dreaming, an important part of our subconscious functioning. Try falling asleep substance-free.
Rest is important when you're awake, too. Try taking mini-meditation breaks or practicing relaxation breathing. Stress is glorified in our culture, as if it means you're working hard enough, but sometimes the best thing you can do is rest and do less.
It doesn't matter what you do, just move!
My personal favorites: 1. dancing like a crazy person in my room, 2. dancing like a crazy person in a modern dance class, 3. pretending to be really buff (in private) to extreme home workout videos, 4. walking or hiking outdoors.
Do a little self-reflection and figure out your personal fitness style.
Move and play how you like, alone or with friends, indoors or out - just do it for at least 30 minutes, 4 days a week. That's it! You can even do it in three 10-minute chunks if you feel too busy for a solid 30 minutes.
Oh, and if you're into yoga, check out this awesome Find-Your-Yoga-Style-Flowchart (I love flowcharts!)
Herbs, Meds, Etc.
I'm personally a fan of herbal medicine, and if you'd like to learn more there are tons of excellent herbal resources online and at your library. I often use herbs for sleeplessness, emotional ease, immune system support, anemia, cramps & PMS.
If you're considering or are currently taking a prescription medicine for mental issues, I encourage you to see a naturopathic doctor or herbalist in addition to a psychiatrist or allopathic medical doctor. This way, you can get a more well-rounded picture of natural alternatives to pharm drugs and supplements that can help if you do choose pharmaceuticals.
Whatever herbs, medicines, or supplements you choose to ingest, please be sure to do your research about possible side effects, synergistic reactions, and contraindications. If something doesn't feel right, pay attention!
Having a Schedule
Not having a schedule, or having a one not structured enough, can lead to depressive rumination, drug and alcohol abuse, and plain old ennui.
Schedule in your basic needs. If you forget to eat, sleep, take meds, or shower, put it in your schedule. Seriously.
Fill your days with meaningful activities! Learn something new. Make a date with a friend (or five!) Volunteer. Read something illuminating. Go on adventures.
When your to-do list combines practical basics with meaningful activities, your day will have a productive and fulfilling structure. On the Basics poster, the character's schedule reads: "Band Practice, Trapeze Lessons, Eat, Sleep!" Sounds like a good day to me.
What does a good day look like for you? Schedule it in, one thing at a time. It'll help.
What basics are important for your wellness? Any good advice to share?
You might like:
- Herbal Sleep Aid Tea
- Unmotivated? So Slow Down... Do Less
- Find Balance in Nature and the Elements
- Labrador Love
The Prairie Homestead, Real Food Forager, Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free, Cooking Traditional Foods, Little Farm in the Big City, Frugally Sustainable, Mind Body and Sole, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, GNOWFGLINS, The Nourishing Gourmet, Real Food Freaks, Food Renegade, Natural Mothers Network, Butter Believer, and Healthy Home Economist!