FUEL YOUR FEEL GOOD
It wasn’t until I started to live a healthier lifestyle, that I realised just how important good nutrition can be for your mental health. (Don’t panic – this won’t be me telling you about ridiculous fad diets, how you should live your life or what you should or shouldn’t eat) This is me. It’s my experience and this will differ from person to person, it’s important to remember that. But my reality is that food has had a significant positive impact on my mental health.
You may remember my article about ‘The Bliss Point’ a few months ago. I talked then about my love for food and specifically my love for cooking. It has always been a big part of my life. The thing that has changed for me is understanding nutrition a little better. I am no expert but after spending a long time struggling with my mental health, I thought to myself ‘why not explore the healthier lifestyle’. It’s not something I had tried before and by this point, I was willing to try anything to get back to being me.
Instead of viewing food as a place to find comfort, I started viewing it as a place to find energy. We all know our brain needs good food to function at it’s best. I’ve noticed a big link between what I eat and how I feel. As an example, protein contains amino acids which make up the chemicals our brains need to regulate thoughts and feelings. As someone who has previously struggled with processing and expressing my thoughts and feelings, this is massively important to me. I know there are lots of scientific explanations that can help us understand nutrition and it’s correlation to mental health but nothing sticks quite like experiencing something yourself. That’s the stuff you’ll remember.
The biggest realisation for me has been the day (or to be more accurate) days that follow weekend indulgence. Nothing heightens my anxiety like alcohol and junk food. To be clear, I’m not anxious that I’ve eaten “badly” or drank too much. I’m talking about getting physical symptoms of anxiety. I call it the ‘ick’. For days after, I can be visibly anxious. I struggle to eat; my thoughts are all a blur and my sleep is disrupted. This doesn’t happen all the time, but the times it has happened it has made me realise that what we put in our bodies, has an impact and not always in a good way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to me that I enjoy myself and have times like this but it’s not something I would like to make a regular occurrence.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Now I’ve experienced how it feels to be free (most of the time) of anxiety it’s become a priority for me to make sure the self-care techniques I implement, are a part of my everyday life. So, each day I fuel my body. I don’t restrict myself from any food, I eat well balanced nutritional meals. I make sure I am giving my body all that it needs to feel energized, strong, motivated, and full of life. I stay hydrated. I let my body rest and get plenty of sleep.
Having HS or any health condition has a way of making you feel so grateful for the small things. We know what it’s like to feel pain, discomfort, and ill-health. I guess having experienced that myself, I’ve found a tremendous amount of gratitude in being able to live my life in the way I want to live it. I know that not everyone is able to do that and I know that things may change for me in the future. But, where possible, I will always continue to ‘fuel my feel good’.
Until next time…