The first step to recovering your mental health...
I think we are all getting slightly better at recognising when we are struggling with our mental health. We know when we are stressed or anxious or overwhelmed or feeling low. Maybe we only realise things need to change when we can no longer put a mask on, feel tearful all the time and have the feeling that we just can’t cope any more.
We have heard that a self-care ritual can help but when you have no mental energy it’s so difficult to know where to start and much, much easier to self-soothe with our quick, comfort fixes. Chocolate? Alcohol? Fast food? Shopping? Self-harm?
What’s your poison?
Your brain uses 20% of your energy. It uses 20% whatever you eat and drink. Whatever that is.
The foods you eat or don’t eat have an enormous impact on the functioning of your brain.
If you have gaps in your diet this leads to deficiencies in the nutrients that your brain uses, which means that it will stop working properly + start being a bit glitchy.
Glitches = mental health problems.
Your brain needs the right fuel.
The right fuel = The right nutrients.
The one vital thing you can do for your mental health is take the right nutrients for your brain.
So I thought I would share the key nutrients that have helped me to recover + that will help you too:
JUST DO THIS ONE THING
So when I was feeling depressed and exhausted, with all my professional experience, I wonder why it took me so long to think about refuelling my brain? After all I’m a psychotherapist and I have a range of high quality supplements at my finger tips! (At a glance here)
I think the answer is that that my brain was simply preoccupied with coping + juggling life. In the first place, survival.
I needed to get a little better for it to have the spare capacity to problem solve. But the wonderful feeling of biohacking - being able to work out what nutrients would support my body to help me recover - helped me feel that I had some control back and that I can take some action to take care of myself.
So to start with I focused on a multi-vitamin + mineral that would be easy and have everything in it without me having to think too much. So I took Mood Me with all its powerful ingredients to start to fuel my brain.
Then it was energy I wanted to try to get through the day without having to go back to bed and to get rid of the brain fog so added Energy Me.
Probiotics, Vitamins C + D, and Zinc have all been linked to brain health which made me so happy when I knew that all of these ingredients were in their most bioavailable form in my own supplements. I had designed and created my own tools for recovery.
Energy Me was a complete game-changer for me.
Then I took Calm Me for the Magnesium and Glutamine to help me reduce the anxiety. The stress had led to high levels of adrenaline in my body. Just like a tiger threatens your life and we release adrenaline in response, so mental stress triggers the same response.
And Happy Me for the DLPA and Tryptophan to ease the depression and low, flat feelings that I was experiencing at times too. To help me build some emotional energy, to help me sleep and to refuel my hypothalamus (Control Centre for us Humans).
Take the decision to take care of yourself.
Firstly and most importantly talk to someone. On the phone. On Zoom. On FaceTime. In person. Maybe start with a message. But connect. Try your doctor, a counsellor, a helpline, a support group, a friend, a mentor, a colleague, a relative. Any one that will listen. It can take courage. I know. But please remember you are not a burden. People will want to help.
A trouble shared really is a trouble halved.
So what helped me most was my shift in thinking.
I started with some small achievable daily goals.
Celebrate the small things:
Get up ✅
Talk to someone ✅
Go outside ✅
I hope these tips give you some ideas and go some way to help with your recovery - mental or physical - whatever you are struggling with.
P.S. If you would be interested in the online course I’m writing on “First steps to recover your mental health” then please sign up for The Vitamin Smith to get all the latest information and the release date.