Top Ways Stay Physically Healthy When You are Struggling with Your Mental Health

#adulting | the relationship between mental and physical wellness

Since our physical bodies and mental health are so intensely connected, usually when you slide into a depressive state, a panic attack, a schizophrenic relapse, etc., your physical body suffers just as much as your mental and emotional states.

It might be as obvious as a compromised immune system and a tendency to catch a cold when feeling unbalanced mentally and emotionally. Or it might manifest in the form of sore or tight muscles, headaches, or generally "run down". It is commonly known that those like me who struggle with mental wellness are often tired and sleep more than 9 hours a night. However, that is not the only toll on your physical state.

If you've read some of my recent posts, you know that I struggle with my mental health daily. I am in NO WAY an expert in perfect living or perfect health, but I do my best to keep these healthy steps in mind when I'm feeling depressed, anxious, and out of control.

1) Drink (Chug) Water

I occasionally teach at a local dance studio, and one of my dancers (who has not been sick in over a year) could only watch class because she was so ill. I asked her how much water she was drinking and her reply was "I've been chugging water all day! I've gone through two whole water bottles today!" This was at 9pm, and I was so surprised. Our bodies NEED water. I am definitely not hydrated enough, but we need to drink approximately 2/3 times our bodyweight in ounces of water every day. 

Yes, it is necessary for all people to drink lots of water and stay hydrated, but it is especially important in the effort to improve mental health. Our cognitive function and mood is the first thing affected by dehydration. And this "dehydration" occurs when you drop below just 1% of optimal hydration. Just 1%!!

So don't just drink water - chug it!

2) Eat whatever you feel like eating --> and then have a smoothie

For me personally, as soon as my mental state takes that turn, I loose my appetite. Sure, I might be hungry or consciously know that I need to eat, but I lose the will to eat, and even my favorite meals sound awful.

So when you crave something, eat it! Yes, ideally we would be eating the healthiest of meals. But in my experience, even "bad" food is better than not eating. So eat whatever you are craving. And then when you feel up to it, drink a smoothie. ;)

3) stretch/run/exercise

One of the hardest things (but most helpful things) to do when you aren't feeling your best is to exercise. Get out of your bed, in the fresh air, running, moving, sweating, etc. As a dancer, I never ever ever want to "go for a run". But I will go outside, go to a studio, etc. to stretch and move.

If that seems impossible - which I completely understand - then stretch in your bed or on your couch! I even wrote a post about stretches you can do on the couch

4) Spend 10 minutes morning/lunch/evening to pause and breathe

Deep breaths not only clear our heads and hearts, but pushes out toxins and improves digestion. Spend 10 minutes at various points throughout the day to breathe deeply and slowly to improve mental and physical health.

5) make a way to relax

This is probably the most obvious - RELAX! This can be quite difficult when you are stuck in a dark place, but is so incredibly helpful. Take a soak with a scented bath bomb or beg your Significant Other for a massage. Let your muscles relax.

I was lucky enough to afford to go to my massage therapist for the first time in over 6 months, and spending an hour with her dramatically improved my both my physical and mental health.

6) drink another smoothie

Your body needs the necessary bodies to stay healthy. And just like an unhealthy state of mind can affect your body, the reverse is the same! An unhealthy body can affect your state of mind. So drink a smoothie with some hidden veggies and some tasty fruits. When I'm too lazy to make myself a smoothie (does anyone else HATE the sound of the blender??) I drink a full glass of V8. I'm currently loving the Berry Bliss. It has tons of wonderful fruits and vegetables that my body desperately needs.

7) chug more water

And seriously - drink even more water. 

Take charge of your health and well-being by allowing yourself to be healthy! I am probably the laziest person on the planet, but these are manageable steps to drastically improve your mental and physical health.