My Wellness Plan – Part One
Who doesn’t want to feel healthy and happy on a consistent basis?
Since being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I’ve gradually adopted a set of wellness practices that help the good days outnumber the bad and reduce the likelihood of poor health and low mood.
My wellness practices aren’t unique.
Consistent practice helps me be my best self; when I slip, I begin again. For me, the following are important components of wellness; connection with others, mindfulness and meditation, healthy eating, adequate sleep, movement/exercise, spending time in nature, gratitude, massage, and medication.
In Part One, I’ll write about three wellness practices, followed up with two additional articles.
Some folks need more connection than others, but connection is a basic human need. Extroverts are energized by being with others, so the need for connection is obvious. Introverts energize through time spent alone, but still benefit from connection.
An extrovert might love a party with lots of new people to meet. An introvert might enjoy a small group gathering, or just being around people in a coffee shop. Spending time with family and friends, church activities, and community service are my go-to ways of connecting with people.
Prayer plus spiritual activities connect me with my Higher Power, which is important to me.
There is a tendency to isolate during periods of stress, anxiety, or depression that may contribute to a downward spiral. Connection can help prevent or shorten downward spirals.
Mindfulness and Meditation
I view mindfulness as being present in the current moment without judgement. So, when I wash dishes, I try to enjoy the warm soapy water. When I eat a snack, I try to savor each bite. Mindfulness is the opposite of trying to multitask or mindlessly rushing through one activity to the next.
Sometimes I follow an online guided meditation, and other times I just focus on breathing or do a body scan for tension that needs to be relaxed. It’s best to start with short periods of meditation and gradually increase the time spent.
Studies show that mindfulness and meditation improve emotional health. The following link provides more information:
Poor eating habits affect not only our physical body, but also our mental state.
My ideal diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but allows lean protein, dairy, and some treats. I feel better when I eat well. Whether meat, dairy, and other foods are avoided is an individual decision best made in consultation with a health practitioner.
There is plenty of research that supports limiting or eliminating sugar, processed foods, and fried or charred foods. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol are recommended health strategies that I follow. Water is a perfect drink of choice.
What can you try this week to enhance your wellness?
Don’t attempt too many changes at once. Remember that it takes about 21 days to form a habit.
“The future depends on what we do in the present.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Contributed by Jean Spahr, NAMI Arapahoe/Douglas Counties Volunteer