I mentioned in a previous post about taking the plunge and making an appointment to speak with a counselor to see if it would help me to get a better grip on my depression and anxiety flare-ups. After trying to explain what I wanted to get out of our meetings and not being very articulate he said, "You mean Health Management". I actually laughed because that was exactly what I meant but didn't know how to express it so concisely. I already knew that speaking with "Art" was going to be helpful.
Art is a Christian Counselor who is partially retired and only practices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He is an older man who is very kind comforting. I pulled out my brand new notebook that I had bought just for counseling sessions. (I love reasons to buy stationary!) I also got a new pen that says "Faith, Hope and Love" and has that particular scripture show up on the pen with each click, but I'm getting off topic!
Art wasn't a bit surprised that I pulled out a notebook and actually told me that I should use the heading "Health Management". Kindred spirits! I'm so thankful for all I learned in just 1 hour!
Other than my personal experiences dealing with Depression and Anxiety, I am in no way an expert on the subject but have done my best in the past and will continue with renewed vigor to learn all I can about living an abundant life even while dealing with these issues. That being said, I would like to pass along some things that I learned with the hope that it may help someone else.
I titled this post "Session 1, Part 1" because there is too much to share in just one post. I want to start with some of the topics that Art and I listed under "Health Management". Basic things to do to stay healthy physically and mentally.
1. Keep all doctor appointments and stay up-to-date with bloodwork. Once I am feeling better, I tend to not want to talk about how I'm feeling so I've been known to cancel a follow-up because I feel like it would be a waste of time. Bad Me!
2. Take all medications as prescribed. I do this daily but it is such an important thing. Meds are not something that can be taken willy-nilly. Skipping days or even taking meds at different times of the day are not going to give you the full benefits that being consistent will. This also includes vitamins, calcium, etc.
3. Exercise daily. Exercise is so important for mental health. Those feel good chemicals that are released with activity are amazing. I particularly like to get outside for my exercise. Just being surround by nature and soaking in the extra Vitamin D (especially here in the Northern US) are essential.
4. Dietary habits. I'm not supposed to be drinking caffeine, yet when I feel depressed and tired (especially in the winter) I find myself panicking if we don't have Dr. Pepper in the house. Such a no, no. I know I shouldn't be drinking the caffeine but before I know it, I'm in full addiction mode. Other good habits include healthy snacks, fruits, less sugar. Trying to control the dreaded emotional eating is another habit that is hard to bust.
5. Good Sleep Habits. Go to bed the same time every night in the same bed with the same pillow, etc. Get up at the same time every morning. We know that sleep patterns are crucial for our little ones but they are just as crucial for adults. Especially those dealing with illnesses.
6. Journal. I have blogged before about the benefits of journaling but somewhere along the way, I got out of the habit. Journaling is beneficial not only for the release of writing down your thoughts and getting them out of your head but also as a tracker of your moods and triggers so that it is easier to see when a downward spiral is happening. It is important to be completely honest in your journaling. Hide it if you feel the need and are afraid of others reading it but be transparent in your writing. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation. You don't need spellcheck to journal :)
Those are the tips I wanted to share for today. Next week, I'll share the spiritual and social aspects of Health Management which are just as important as the physical aspects.
So what do you think about these items. Do you agree with them? Disagree? What are your thoughts on journaling? What are some things you do even though you know they aren't in your best interest? Would you consider changing them in order to better manage your health?