Mental Wellness Toolkit to Reconnect Mind, Body, and Spirit
When I was in high school, I was unexpectedly admitted into a psychiatric hospital at my mother’s request. The diagnosis? Bipolar disorder and Depression. Admittedly, I believe bipolar disorder was a total misdiagnosis. But that’s another story. However, depression? Absolutely. Anxiety? Certainly.
Fast forward to over a decade later, I still battle anxiety and panic attacks (although I have it pretty well-managed usually). But through a series of life changes, I have overcome depression completely. And it is my goal to help others do the same.
I am not a medical professional and can only share what I’ve learned from my personal experiences. But I do believe many of the notes included in this toolkit can help anyone improve their mindset and take their life in a positive direction. So please feel free to share this post with others.
One more note before we get into the good stuff. Remember to be patient with yourself. Don’t expect to see a total change overnight. You can, however, look forward to seeing gradual changes with each step you take towards your healing.
Peace and blessings to you on your journey.
*Post contains affiliate links. Disclosure can be viewed here.
*Major League Mommy is an informational site and much of the information shared on this site is based on my personal experiences. The resources shared on this site are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be used as a replacement for a trained and professional medical/ mental health care professional.
Major League Mommy cannot be held responsible if you choose to use the information provided. Please always consult a trained mental health professional or physician before making any decision regarding treatment of yourself or others.
Why is Mental Health Important?
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, “Mental health is essential to personal well-being, family and interpersonal relationships, and the ability to contribute to community or society.”
We often focus more on our physical health than our mental health. But what many fail to realize is that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. The two go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other.
When your mental health is in check, your physical health will also improve. Your mental state greatly impacts your overall quality of life and is the key to a generally more positive experience. Treat yourself. You deserve it.
Mental Wellness Toolkit
We often talk about diets as part of weight loss programs. But what about a mental health diet? The foods you eat not only impact your body but also have an effect on your mind.
It is common knowledge that eating whole foods and decreasing our intake of processed and sugary foods is essential to a nutritious and well-balanced diet. So doesn’t it make sense to consume foods that actually support your mental well-being?
Licensed and registered dietitian at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, Corey Tolbert, RD, LD, explained, “If you don’t eat well and give your body the fuel it needs, you won’t feel well, and that can bring on negative mental and physical changes. It’s all a cycle. If you start to gain weight, your clothes may feel tighter and you may feel sluggish and not as good about yourself.”
There has been quite a bit of research done on diet and its impact on mental health. And one thing that is quite clear, your diet DOES matter! You can learn even more here.
Here are some recommendations to get started.
- Consume the following foods in moderation: sugary items, processed foods, saturated and trans fats
- Eat more fresh fruits and veggies
- Replace butter with extra virgin olive oil
- Consume more plant-based whole foods
- Include more nuts and seeds in your diet
- Eat fish (if you can)
- Add turmeric and ginger to your foods
A few more notes on this subject:
- Eat with INTENTION: the goal is to give your body more of what it needs for optimal performance
- Do NOT stress yourself out over your diet as that defeats the purpose. Just listen to your body.
- Work with a medical professional to determine whether or not you are deficient in specific minerals. This will help you decide which types of foods you need more of and if a supplement is necessary.
Nutritional deficiencies could possibly be the cause of your blue mood. I highly recommend working with a medical professional to help you determine whether or not you are mineral deficient. Here are a few supplements you may want to consider in your “Mood-Boosting Toolkit.”
- Vitamin D– This nutrient is a critical aspect of many of your bodily processes and yet many of us, especially in the winter, are not getting enough of it. Not only is Vitamin D necessary for an effective immune system, but it also impacts your mental state.
- Magnesium– When you are chronically stressed or anxious, your magnesium levels can be quickly depleted. Magnesium helps create melatonin which is essential for a good night’s sleep. It is also a key player in the functioning of your nervous system in general.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids– Vitamin D doesn’t work alone, and as a matter of fact, Omega 3 Fatty Acids work directly alongside Vitamin D to fuel your body. Studies have also shown that Omega 3 Fatty acids can reduce depressive symptoms.
- B Vitamins– B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B6 (Pyridoxine), and B12 are all important for a healthy mental state and are very important for your brain cells.
- Zinc– This mineral is extremely important for your brain health and not getting enough of it increases your risk of depression.
- Find more brain health minerals here
I also highly recommend checking out First Day Multivitamins for the family to supply your body with more of these good ol’ minerals.
I personally prefer diffusing my essential oils as I don’t yet know enough about them to mix myself and take them internally. But I do drink teas that include these plants and herbs as well. I do also buy skincare products that include specific essential oils so that I can apply them directly to my skin. Make sure you learn how to use essential oils safely before taking this step.
Recommended Essential Oils
- Lavender– one of my favorites to induce feelings of calmness and to help me sleep
- Chamomile– also a great oil to calm the nerves and to help you get some good sleep
- Frankincense– great for clearing the mind and bringing you clarity in your thoughts
- Lemon– boosts your mood and level of concentration
- Find more essential oil recommendations here
Daily Activities & Lifestyle Changes
Mindful and intentional eating and making sure you provide your body with the nutrients it needs is a great first step in improving your mental health. Aromatherapy using the aforementioned essential oils will also be quite impactful.
But another really important step to take is to make the appropriate lifestyle changes.
You need to prioritize moving your body, avoiding toxic people and situations, and replacing negative habits with more uplifting activities.
- Walk for at least 30 minutes a day to clear your mind and get your daily dose of exercise. You should also adopt a regular workout routine. Yoga is one of my favorite ways to exercise but I also do strength training with my personal trainer husband and both help my mood quite a bit.
- Meditate at least once a day. I typically do a meditation first thing in the morning before I get out of bed, but you can really do it anytime during the day for as short or long as you like. I also used this Kundalini yoga meditation for 40 days straight to balance my mind when I was going through a really rough time, and it was definitely powerful! It worked so well for me.
- Fill your mind with as much positivity as possible to clear out the heaviness. This means reading uplifting self-help books, listening to positive podcasts and/or music, and putting more positive imagery in front of you.
- Change up your environment! Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. This can be a vacation or just a short trip to a new place. I will even change the decor in my household- adding brighter colors or more plants and flowers. I like to open my curtains and windows to let more light and fresh air in. Sometimes I just need to do some cleaning and decluttering, switch up the furniture, or simply reposition things in the room.
- Write it out. I am a huge fan of journaling. Let all that mind chatter out on paper so you can free up that space for thoughts that are more useful.
- Make time to just play. Try not to be so serious all the time. Do at least one PLAYFUL activity at least once a day and free that inner child. There is nothing quite like the feeling of unleashing your inner child and allowing yourself to be like a free-spirited kid again.
- Exercise your creativity. You don’t have to be a professional artist. But we are all here to create so allow yourself some time to intentionally create something. This can be a piece of art, a new meal, a story, or anything you like.