Another guest writer who brings so much spirit, joy, and humility to everything she does. LeAnn opens up and gives out some stellar advice on tending to your mental health (a huge piece of the pie in striving to be truly healthy!)
Soon after my third daughter was born, I began to deal with depression. I had been depressed before due to some traumatic events but I fought back and was able to cope.
This time however, I was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance so I took medication and dove into some Christian based therapy. I am happy to say that while I still have frequent periods of depression, I have found many coping strategies and in turn I have also established a whole-being wellness pattern.
My mental health is essential for my physical self to be healthy. Luckily, I am blessed with very good physical health. I am rarely sick and take no medications except for some hormone therapy and vitamin supplements. Yes, I have some aches, pains, and joint issues that send me to the chiropractor on a monthly basis but I try to stay active as a means of treatment.
All blessings aside, I still fall back into unhealthy practices. In hopes of helping others, I would like to talk about these practices and how I have learned to treat them.
When I am feeling down and depressed, I forget to eat or only eat the bare minimum. The unhealthy thought is that I don’t want to fuel my body – I don’t like “me” and the way my life is going so why would I want to take care of it.
I try to sleep more but let worries and voices from the past invade my rest. I become fatigued and weary.
I over exercise or I do nothing.
I neglect my spiritual life and in place of it I have a “pity party” or an “I’m not worthy party”.
I avoid all social situations.
The good news: I do almost everything in moderation now that I am older and wiser! When I do have a bad day, I could take on a few bad habits for only a day or two before I regroup and get back on track.
Here are a few of my habitudes that I have adopted throughout the years in order to battle any negativity that wants to stick around.
– I practice gratitude. I wake up feeling blessed, grateful to God for the sunrise, and for each breath I take and for my life.
– I get moving. (After coffee of course!)
– I take my dog outdoors and soak in the beauty of the outdoors – whatever nature is dishing out that day! I am thankful for all weather. The rain is like a baptism or renewal for me as it hits me early in the day. The wind takes my breath away and brings tears to my eyes in the cold but it refreshes my soul and clears away the cobwebs. The darkness makes me appreciate the light, shows me the multitude of stars and the beauty of the moon. All of my senses are heightened in the darkness of the early morning and late evening walks with my dog.
– The beauty of the fall and spring pull me to walk longer and longer and lose myself in the bird symphonies and the wonder of nature’s blessings. The summer warmth and bright sun make me smile and fuel my spirit.
– I meditate, pray, sing, and play music – all ways to get in touch with my inner soul. I read motivational blogs and find an intention everyday. I pray for others and send them my motivations. Ultimately this helps me feel better.
– I always make exercise a priority. Thankfully I have found what works for me – variety and fast-paced anything, balanced with some yoga. Thankfully my oldest daughter has encouraged me to run with her, challenged me to do races, and keep up with my workouts. She has been a great workout partner.
– I found a social network of strong female friends and some good counselors through church and my doctor. They all know that I will reject them from time to time when I get down, but they start bugging me in a good way and won’t let me crawl into my shell.
– I try to plan balanced meals, buy healthy food, look for blogs and recipes, and do what I can in regards to my eating. Yes, everyday I resist having several balanced meals and grab chocolate and coffee and think that is enough to fuel my body. However, if I do this, I don’t feel physically well and I don’t rest like I should. I have to start over with well-thought out, better choices the next day. This is an ongoing problem no matter what my mood is. Thankfully, Cassie shares her helpful Habitude blogs, emails, and recipes.
– Creating space to do volunteer work and spend time in the presence of children and older people are also essential to my mental well-being. No matter what I have to offer them, they give back to me many times over. I always leave these friends feeling happy, refreshed, and very blessed. I highly recommend hanging out with children, volunteering with the elderly, and spending time around animals for your own well-being.
I pray that everyone reading this will seek help if they feel depressed. I hope that you find a few helpful ideas and habitudes that you could incorporate into your lives.
Thank you LeAnn for your authenticity, and vulnerability. I know taking a risk to be open will yield great results in helping others!
Your Trainer and Friend,
Cassie and LeAnn