We all know that healthy, clean raw food is just one part of the holistic equation to wellness. You also need to take care of your inner emotional-mind world. However, at times life can overwhelm you and diminish your capacity to cope with the impact of situations outside of your control. This can challenge you to the core of your capacity and possibly lead to instability like depression.
This is a topic very dear to my heart, so when I was asked to write about recently, I welcomed the opportunity. Depression is a theme that runs through my family history and I have learned a great deal from the experience of witnessing others manifestation of depression, as well as experiencing my own periodic episodes.
I believe that the stigma generally attached to most mental health labelled issues, specifically with depression and anxiety, which is widespread, is based on ignorance. This viewpoint is based on my own personal experience.
Sometimes it isn’t until you find yourself lying in bed, shaking on the inside, tearful and afraid, that you finally realise something is very wrong. Not being able to think clearly, binging on chocolate, cake, and cookies, leaving behind everything you know that is healthy, living with insomnia and a dodgy digestion, are all glaring signs that something within you is out-of-sync.
Your personal awareness may usually be quite strong, with a spiritual life that is evolving and a thriving in work or business situation; but suddenly if it all stops, you may be finding it almost impossible to function!
One thing I learned quite quickly is that when you’re a doer, people around you may rely on you and expect you just to carry on regardless. When you can’t, they can become afraid and even impatient with you, if you begin to falter away from being the high-functioning individual their used to. Their lack of understanding can be the cause of great tension and strife, often triggering and feeding feelings of guilt, unworthiness and 'badness' inside.
It can be difficult when you can’t really understand and explain what is happening to you and you don’t recognise yourself anymore.
I’ve figured out that meeting yourself in a space where you can feel safe is crucial. Taking tiny steps towards healing can lead to bigger steps and so these hints could be helpful:
– Consider who might sit with you in the darkness of this experience and just be there, not even speaking if necessary, willing to be with you, on the end of a phone, hearing you cry etc. Yes, these people do exist. Sometimes they are called counselors, spiritual advisors or deeply grounded friends.
– Learn how to acknowledge your fears, perhaps terror and worries, recognise that you are in your very own transformation process, so you proceed in this without self-judgment and self-criticism.
– Get your doctor to refer you to local services like counseling, a healthy eating class, or exercise class in your area, or find activities that lift your spirits and do them regularly.
– Try using quality essential oils such as lavender, orange, geranium, lemon or frankincense oils to promote calm, peace, acceptance and emotional balance.
– Buy, borrow or go to a library for books to read if you can. Personal development books that encourage your healing and help you not to over-identify with past and present challenges or trauma in your life-story and which teach you how to live in the present.
– Learn how to practice forgiveness and gratitude. Journaling can really assist you with this process.
– Get physical! Move your body more and you can even start this in your bedroom if you like. A bit of stretching, yoga online, or dancing to uplifting music; and when you feel bolder, get physical outside. Try walks outside in the beauty of nature, trying to appreciate as much of it as you can manage. This is a real energy booster and mindset enhancer. The better you feel, the more you’ll do.
– Eat well – forget the stodge. Wean yourself off any overindulgence on sugar, salt and fatty processed food; and stay well hydrated. Get rid of processed food, sodas or fizzy drinks and coffee. Go for a walk to the park instead and pick up some fresh fruit and water along your way. You’ll be surprised at how a cleaner diet with life-sustaining plant-based foods will energise you and do away with any brain fog.
- Mindfulness meditation has been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression by amplifying more positive thoughts, and developing deeper self-awareness and self-compassion. Healing mindfulness mediation is best learned in a class with a qualified instructor, which is less isolating; alternatively it can be learnt through reading, online resources, or listening to audio meditation instruction.
Shift your focus. Instead of giving your precious energy and attention to fear and worry, place your focus instead on where you want to get to and what could be your next move. If you're not clear about where you want to progress to in your life, don't worry, spend some time figuring that out - explore it and enjoy it!
Keep in mind that it isn’t about getting back to who you feel you were before, it’s about making space for that new you that is evolving through this painful experience. As you learn to love yourself enough to seek help and support, remember that you are the main ingredient in this healing process and what you chose to add to the process moment by moment, will make a world of difference to your progress.
Eventually, developing a positive mindset, and making life-enhancing and self-loving practical choices, can enable you to reconnect safely with yourself and to cultivate greater loving connections with others. Reaching a place of inner peace, requires love and stillness, then you will later begin to feel that your inner radiance has been restored.
p.s You can also use the Raw Soul Food Map to take you on a journey that is focused on your health and wellbeing.
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