There is a direct correlation between our mental and physical health. Stress, anxiety, and depression can have a direct effect on your immune system, sleep patterns, and much more. Those of us with depression can tell you that physical health is usually just put on the back burner. However, by paying attention to your body, you might be able to give yourself just enough of a boost to begin picking yourself back up again.
The Foods We Eat
Yes, junk food is convenient. Yes, cooking requires some effort. It’s not that hard though! All you have to do is wake up 15 minutes earlier in order to enjoy a healthy breakfast. That’s it.
Processed foods contain a lot of sodium and sugar, causing us to feel spikes in energy and mood. We feel drowsy. Snack a little. Feel better. Then crash. You will notice that this doesn’t happen when you opt for healthier snacks, rich in vitamins, fibre, and protein.
We can go on and on and on about the recipes you can choose. There’s hundreds all over the internet, grouped by dietary restrictions, preferences, etc.
Do you feel hungry a lot? Ask yourself if you are getting enough protein. Do you feel drowsy? See if you are getting enough vitamins D and B12. As vegetarians, we usually have a bit of deficiency in these vitamins as well as iron.
A good way to keep track of your diet is logging the foods you eat. The app that I would recommend to do this is: My Fitness Pal. It gives you a goal caloric intake amount for the day as well as a recommended macronutrient amount. You can easily see if you have had too much sodium, fat, or sugar in one day.
Just to clarify, the goal is not to eat less but eat better.
I know that I have touched upon this one before. Living a sedentary lifestyle affects both your mental well-being as well as your physical health. I know there are a million reasons that you could give me about not adding activities to your day: you are tired, you have too much to do, you’re too stressed, there’s no time, etc etc.
Here’s the thing. You don’t have to work out for an hour a day for seven days a week. That’s just not practical. Do whatever you can. However little it may be. Start with half an hour, three days a week. You can even split that into two 15 minute sessions. Go for a brief walk, ride a bicycle around your neighbourhood, join a sports team.
This movement allows you to have more energy, increases your mood, and allows you to unwind for a moment. Give it a try. What do you have to lose?
The Importance of Water
Many of us who have tried to lose weight find that we aren’t losing as much as we would have thought. Sometimes, the culprit is water retention. If you don’t drink enough water per day, your body will think it’s being dehydrated and will store the water for future use.
Dehydration is another cause for feeling tired. Especially in the mornings. You have just spent roughly 7-8 in bed, without a drop of water. Yes, you are thirsty. It’s such a simple solution that it almost sounds ridiculous, but drinking a glass of water in the morning will help you feel a bit more alert.
Time to Unwind
Above all else, make sure you give yourself some time to unwind. Do something that eases your mind. It could be something as simple as listening to music, reading a book, or taking a bath. In the pursuit of juggling a healthy lifestyle, your career, your family, and whatever else you have going on in your life, make sure you do this to avoid feeling burnt out. Take a break. Breathe for a moment. Then, tackle everything once again.
The Bigger Picture
These little, tiny things may actually improve your mood over time, but it does take time. Understand that some days will be easier than others. Forgive yourself for not following through on everything and strive to do your best. I know that some of you may be thinking that this is stupid or that this will not help you. It does. Just have patience.
Above all, be the best that you can be!