As we begin making decisions to consciously care for our mental health and do what is necessary to tend to our minds, we must always remember that physical health and mental health are equally important. They go hand in hand, feeding off of each other in a way that makes them both necessary and complementary on the journey of becoming a self-sufficient soul.
One of the easiest ways to implement a healthier lifestyle is by being more cautious about what you eat. When they say, “You are what you eat,” they mean it. What you consume has a significant impact on how you feel and how you function. Think about the last time you ate too much pizza or a big meal from a fast food restaurant. How did you feel after? Did you feel energized and like you wanted to go to the gym, or did you feel sluggish and ready for a long nap or Netflix-binge? How about the last time you ate a nice, big breakfast of oatmeal, fruit, a protein shake, or whatever else you use to fuel your body for a long, productive day? When you really think about it, I know you can imagine the difference in the way that what you eat affects how you feel.
It’s easy and convenient to eat fast food and ready-made meals, rather than cooking for yourself. But eating fresh and healthy food is the best way to make yourself look and feel better–and you’ll also save a great deal of cash! To make eating better more convenient, take the time once or twice a week to prepare meals that you can store in the freezer or refrigerator and easily warm up or thaw for quick eating throughout the week. When we get busy and feel as though our time is taken up by other, more important things, cooking for ourselves falls to the wayside. We simply don’t have the time to fully prepare a meal every night of the week. But if we prepare them ahead of time, it saves time in the long run and eating healthy throughout the week is no longer such a daunting task.
Because finding the time to make healthier choices for ourselves seems impossible, making the time to exercise and get ourselves moving is another thing that isn’t made a priority. It is recommended that we get at least twenty or thirty minutes of vigorous exercise a day, and in actuality, that’s not that much time. It’s because it’s not a priority that we don’t make it happen, not because we truly don’t have the time to do it. Make it a point to start off with at least five minutes of physical activity every day, whether it’s by taking a walk around the block, riding your bike to the park, or by doing a few jumping jacks during the commercials of your favorite TV show. By beginning with five minutes, you’ll start a good habit for yourself and eventually find that working your way up to a full thirty minutes a day is not such a hard thing to do after all.
When you make an effort to eat better, your energy levels substantially increase, thus motivating you to exercise. When you exercise, you release hormones known as endorphins that both ease pain, as well generate a sense of euphoria. This aspect of exercise alone is enough, in and of itself, to make being active a vital lifestyle-change for those who struggle with anxiety and depression. In short, eating better initiates a chain reaction of better choices and motivation. It’s a small step, but an all-too important one to ignore.
Obviously, eating right and exercising will not cure your depression and anxiety by any means. However, implementing these simple changes in your life could be the initial steps you need to take in order to enhance your overall feelings of self-satisfaction.