fueling your body
In a recent psychiatric appointment, I learned that OCD is one of the most complicated mental illnesses to treat. Medication itself is usually not enough to stop the symptoms and interruption of daily life. Hearing this made me a bit discouraged.
In my appointment, I started to get a little down about the outcome of my treatment and started wondering what else I could do to better my chances of having my medication help me more. While talking to my doctor, I was told that sleep, exercise, and nutrition is just as important as medication in OCD treatment.
I have never slept very well. Growing up I would only sleep a few hours before waking up. This sleep was never enough for my body to appropriately recover and prepare for the next day. When I told my doctor about this, we decided that a sleeping pill was necessary for me to be able to fall asleep. Since taking this sleeping medicine, I have been able to get 8+ hours each night! Talk about a major blessing!
Exercising is another important factor in treating mental illnesses. Exercise releases endorphins which makes you feel positive. I have always exercised but I notice a big difference when I exercise consistently. I feel better about myself and feel more capable. After a long run or a session of lifting weights, I feel like I can accomplish other difficult tasks without a problem.
The last factor of treating mental health is nutrition. This is one that I struggle with. When I get super stressed or depressed, I feel like food is the only thing that makes me happy, or the only thing that I can control. This usually leads to me rationalizing my way through an entire Lofthouse cookie package (because those things are addicting) or I don't eat anything for most of the day.
Both of these extremes are NOT healthy or good for my body. I have had to really learn about nutrition and what food is best for my body. Veggies and leafy greens are the best things for your mind and body. Fruit is good as are nuts. I have learned that I usually reach for something quick and easy, so my healthy snacks need to be pre-made or prepackaged for my convenience... or else I'll just have something unhealthy like Oreos.
Learning the balance between healthy and unhealthy food is super important to allow your body to recover and be at it's best. When I am eating good, exercising, sleeping well, AND taking my medicine; I notice a big difference.
These four steps are important for people who struggle with any type of mental illness to be at our best. This doesn't mean that diet and exercise will cure your depression or anxiety (because it won't), but it can help you to be able to do your therapy. Following these steps will clear your mind, give you more energy to fight your battles, and be able to find peace within yourself.
I am working on my nutrition this week and hope that you can choose something to work on as well. Keep in touch so that we can encourage one another!
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