We all know that healthy habits can have a huge impact on our mental health. However, sometimes when you’re struggling with depression, or just feeling especially down or discouraged, this can be difficult to put into practice.
Today, I want to share some practical things that you can do to take care of yourself, and hopefully improve those down days–or at least lessen the severity and frequency of them. Some of these may be harder than others, but try to do what you can to take care of yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s important. And the bonus is that it will help you be a better wife and mommy too–win/win.
This is so important! God calls us to rest because he knows we need that. He created our bodies and he knows what we need to optimize them, and one important thing is rest.
I can always tell a difference in my mood when I don’t get enough sleep. Give yourself a bedtime if you have to, that ensures you’re getting the amount of sleep you need.
I couldn’t write this series with practical tips and ignore the obvious. Science tells us that exercise releases hormones that can boost mood. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy–even a good brisk walk for 20 minutes can help.
If you’re struggling, consider adding in some exercise. Yes, it will be hard. This one is especially hard in the throes of depression since it can cause severe physical fatigue in addition to mental/emotional symptoms.
But I want to encourage you that the hardest things we do are the ones that feel the best afterward. Those victories are the sweetest–and most uplifting.
This is another hard thing, but so important. Science has shown us that processed foods, especially sugar and white flour, can worsen the symptoms of depression. This is one of the many, many reasons we made the switch to a real food diet. Chocolate and other comfort foods might offer temporary relief, but in reality they make things worse.
Another vicious cycle. Depression makes you crave sugar and processed foods, and those foods feed the depression and keep it going. To be completely honest, I haven’t completely mastered this one, though I’ve made strides in the right direction for myself and my family. Food has always been a big issue for me. But, I do believe in the power of a better diet in improving mood, and fighting depression.
Fill up on real, whole foods–fruits, vegetables, etc. and limit processed flours and sugars.
I’m still trying to educate myself about this, but there are a lot of vitamins, herbs, and essential oils that are known to improve mood. Do your research and see what might help you prevent those down days before they start. Here are just a few to get started with:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B-12
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Lemon Essential Oil
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Frankincense Essential Oil
- Rose Essential Oil
My caution with the essential oils would be to be sure you’re getting a good quality essential oil and not a cheap kind. Yes, it is more expensive, but well worth it. This essential oil diffuser has great reviews, and is very affordable.
When You Need Encouragement