So a few days ago I spoke about coming off my anti-depressants. I am loving that my dependancy on something so small, a teeny white tablet, is becoming less and less.
My reason’s for wanting to try a more natural alternative were the side effects:
- Hunger, all-the-damn-time!
- Inability to shed kilo’s.
- Dry mouth! Imagine your dry mouth hangover but every day.
- Decreased sex drive. Really not confidence boosting when you are about as much fun as a potato sack.
For the time that I was on a full dose of my tablets, I learnt a lot. Mentally I found new and effective pathways of dealing or coping with issues. I also discovered the high correlation between a happy body and a happy mind.
I want to share with you all, some of the activities that are getting me through. Before I started my happy-pill breakup I set goals for myself and I want you to do the same…
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
I cannot stress this factor enough! My saviour is through my movement, or moving meditation as some might say! In 1999 (old I know but hear me out) a study was performed on a group men and women with depression; one group prescribed 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day and the other Zoloft an anti-depressant. At the 16 week mark, all participants saw a reduction in depression. To further these results, a 2011 study was performed with depressed participants who had not sought relief from anti-depressants. Exercise saw a 30% reduction in depressive behaviour particularly in the long run; a result that was better than what the drugs could achieve alone.
Goal: Exercise at least 4 time per week for 30 minutes. My exercise schedule if all goes to plan looks a little like this:
Monday: Upper body weight bearing exercise. 30-45 minutes.
Tuesday: Yoga. 1 hour.
Wednesday: HIIT and lower body training. 30-45 minutes.
Thursday: Yoga. 1 hour.
Friday: HIIT. 30 minutes.
Saturday: Vinyasa Yoga. Turn up the heat with a chatturanga to upward facing dog. 1 hour.
Sunday: Heavy weights session on legs. Bubble-butt anyone? 45 minutes.
Where do I begin? Maybe with food = life! Much like our other organs, our brains are highly sensitive to what we consume and given the fact that the mass of our brains is 60% fat with the rest being blood, oxygen water and nutrients I would say that the role food plays on mental health is a big one. Before synthetic medicines were created people were healed with natural remedies, food and food extracts.
Given that of the 60% fat content of the brain omega 3’s and 6’s make up 20% a diet providing the recommended intake of these essential fatty acids is a must. Omega 3’s come in the form of salmon, walnuts or spinach and Omega 6’s can be found in seeds such as sunflower, vegetable oils and soybeans.
Goal: Get my 2 fruit and 5 veg serves per day. Be sure to include a range of vegetables during your week for varied nutrient content. Some of my faves to whip into a quick red curry are baby corn, mushroom, capsicum, corn and broccoli – and that’s just dinner! Whip up a wrap with carrot, beetroot, lebanese cucumber, tomato and spinach for lunch and a pumpkin soup for afternoon tea!
It is way OK to not be
I believe in this 100%. The other night everything got on top of me, I broke down and just cried. My behaviour pre-medication would have led me to the understanding that this behaviour was not acceptable and I would dwell on the fact that I broke down, there was no love or acceptance towards myself. That or I would just keep crying.
As of now I have learnt some things; I understand that sometimes you aren’t OK and that is fine, be present in that moment, let your upset out, feel the upset and let it take it’s course, accept the fact that you are not OK and I guarantee that thought won’t seem so big. Acceptance is one of the most powerful tools I have acquired during this experience and I am so glad that this experience is all mine.
Goal: Be present in the moment. Focus on your breath and the sensations of your body during any given time of difficulty. This will provide you with a greater awareness of self and help to process the emotion.
Use your face
Bet you have no idea what this one is about! Use your face…you were given a mouth to speak, to laugh, to love and as one of two access points to your lungs. You were also given a nose, the other pathway to your lungs. Bingo – Deep Breathing!
I know it will be the last thing on your mind if you are as busy as I am, but any chance you get take a minute to notice your breathing and slow it down, inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Emphasis on using your nose! Breathing through the nose in and out provides a calming effect over the bodies nervous system, inhaling and exhaling through the mouth is stimulating and energising, probably not something you want if you are about to flip out. Trust me, not good.
Goal: Practice deep belly breathing morning, noon and night. Place your hand on your belly and feel it rise as you inhale for a count of 4 and feel it fall for a count of 4. Do this sequence for a minute (or 6 rounds) and feel the sense of calm.
Hope you are feeling better and more motivated than ever to achieve clarity of thought with these simple steps. Give me a holla as to which exercise give you the most zen!