Whether recovering from period of mental or physical illness - the basic recommendations are the same. Here are some top tips to help recovery and support wellness.
Sleep: If at all possible, expose yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning - this will increase melatonin production necessary to help you sleep at night. At night eliminate all light, turn off all wifi/phones and other light emitting devices. Use a eye mask and ear plugs if necessary. Sleep in a quiet and cool room.
Exercise: Get that mitochondria burning, stimulate your body to produce more energy, improve oxygenation in your blood. Use whatever you can - anything is better than nothing. Leg raises, butt clenches, stretching, brief moments of movement if you’re limited by physical illness or lacking motivation.
Eat: A whole grain plant based diet. As varied as possible with small quality meat intake. And vegetables, vegetables, vegetables. Eat low glycemic index foods to reduce blood sugar spikes and most importantly eliminate highly processed foods. Feed you microbes with fermented foods. If appetite is a problem, choose nutritionally dense foods such as soup and stews with meat and vegetables.
Supplement: B vitamins, zinc, folate, magnesium, vitamin c will all support healing, be it physical or mental. Remember, supplements will only assist and are not a replacement for a healthy diet! Nutrients which are generally low in New Zealand soils; selenium, boron, iodine.
Get Outside: Oxygenate your body, enjoy green space and exercise. There are studies which associate lack of vitamin D (obtained from sunlight) to mental (and other) health issues and green spaces are thought to improve healing.
Counseling: Talking therapy. Get help to move you to where you need and or want to be. A psychologist, life-coach or a counselor to help you with goal setting and focusing forward. Talking therapies can make an enormous shift in your mental well-being.
Get Social: Developing relationships are associated with decreasing rates of death and illness. Find love/companionship with friends, family or a pet. Get massages regularly if you feel you do not get enough touch in everyday life.
Meditate: De-stress either with guided meditations or if you have experience in meditation, on your breath or mantra. If meditation on your breath is too challenging and bringing up difficult emotions - practice a mindful exercise instead (see below). There are a number of fantastic apps out there to guide your Meditation practice.
Mindfulness: Slow down and focus on a task - be it washing the dishes, showering, being in the garden. Notice what you are seeing / hearing / touching / smelling. Slow your eating down, spend time with your food, be in the moment and not thinking about the past or the future.
Breathe: Deep belly breathing can help support relaxation and therefore the parasympathetic nervous system response. This helps the ‘rest and digest’ functions of the body and can also help reduce inflammation and therefore support healing.