My Holistic Plan to Better Mental & Physical Health in 2023
I’m the kind of girl who can’t do ANYTHING without a plan. Before I can even finish my breakfast in the morning, I need to have my to-do list made or my mind just spins incessantly, trying to keep track of and prioritize all the things I want and need to accomplish that day. So, naturally, I have a blueprint, something of a starting point, for how I want to reach my health and wellness goals this year.
Before I jump in, it might be helpful if I tell you what I’m actually trying to accomplish with my plan:
1.Anxiety management without medication support | While my depression meds, Wellbutrin, help me immensely without any shitty side effects, the same can’t be said about my anti-anxiety medication, Paxil—or any ani-anxiety medication I’ve tried for that matter. I’m exhausted all the time, require more sleep that is reasonable, have been putting on weight like crazy, and the fatigue makes it so ridiculously hard for me to sustain my running (one of the coping mechanisms I use to manage my depression). I’m okay with the idea that I may need the support of my little happy pills to live with my depression, but I’m not convinced that it is necessary for the management of my anxiety, OCD, and/or panic disorder.
2. No more panic attacks | I started getting panic attacks for the first time, totally out of the blue, almost two years ago and I still have no idea why. The sudden feeling of impending doom, like I’m all the sudden going to just keel over and life as I know it will be gone, really just needs to not be a thing anymore. I wasn’t cool the first time, and it sure as hell isn’t cool now. I want to get to the core of these attacks and resolve whatever is triggering them so that I can find relief, but also prevent them from becoming a problem again in the future.
3. Hair | A little while before the panic attacks started, so probably about three years ago, I started having a lot of problems with hair thinning, especially on the sides—enough so that I stopped wearing hairstyles that pulled my hair up or back because you could see the scalp an it made me uncomfortable. Just like my panic attacks, I have no idea what caused this change and no matter what I did I saw no improvement. I suspect that whatever is causing a lot of my other problems is also the culprit for my hair loss.
4. Energy & Running | I miss running. I want my energy back so that I can go for runs again, long hikes with Blueberry (my pitbull), and in general get back to a version of my life where I didn’t require naps all the time and could enjoy movement without instant exhaustion. I used to be able to run ten miles and now I struggle to get through one. It’s so fucking frustrating!
5. Heart burn and nausea | Chronic digestive issues have been another long-term struggle that I’m ready to get off my back. After almost a decade of medical tests, diet changes, and guesswork, I’m better off than I used to be, but I want to reach the point where I don’t need to have emergency ginger-chews in my bag anymore. I don’t expect that my stomach will be cured, I already know that there are some diet changes that will be lifelong, but it would be great to heal my gut so that it isn’t so easily triggered.
6. Get off the birth control pill | I started taking the pill over 15-years ago when I was in High School for ovarian cysts, cyclic mood-swings, and crappy period symptoms like crimpling cramps. So fun, I know… But after listening to other people’s experiences and doing a little research, it’s been suggested that by supporting my body and reproductive system with the proper nutrition that many, if not all, of my hormone induced challenges can be resolved. This may not be at the top of my list as far as goals for the year, but I would still loooooove to get off the pill and let me body finally follow a natural cycle again.
I’ve always tried to tackle each of my mental and physical health problems separately, like they were each their own totally detached issues. But this year I’m taking a holistic approach to heal my whole self—recognizing that the body and mind are part of one complex and complete system.
Each organ, nerve, cell, literally everything, effects all the others. It’s time to look at the forest through the trees. To do this I am going to focus on six core methods for healing:
1. Yoga & meditation | I feel like, at this point, it’s pretty much common knowledge that yoga and meditation are good for you. Any Google search will present you with hundreds of articles, books, blogs, podcasts, etc. all speaking to the healing qualities of these practices. And I’ve seen the benefits of them. I was consistently practicing yoga daily over the summer and even started a yoga teaching course. But naturally, as life goes, things got really busy and my routine was disrupted. I have yet to finish the course and haven’t practiced yoga in months. My brightly colored yoga mat sits in the middle of my room every day, reminding me that I need to get my shit together and get back at it. So, this year it is my goal to get back into a daily yoga and meditation practice and finally finish my yoga training course.
2. Herbalism | This is a newer interest of mine that I stumbled upon when I started making soaps and bath salts this past fall. And I’m hooked. I love the idea of using something so basic and time-honored as herbs to heal and as preventative “medicine”. And, I’ve been reading recently, that herbs can have a big impact on mental wellness. My collection of herbs and knowledge one the subject are still fairly small, but I’m looking forward to really digging into this over the course of the year.
3. Nutrition | Have you ever heard the phrase “food is medicine”? Again, like herbalism, I am in love with the use of something as simple as food to heal the body. The more I learn, the more I have come to understand that what and how we feed our bodies is amongst the more important ways we can take care of ourselves. I have always been interested in nutrition and food, and love cooking, but I’m ready to delve deeper.
4. Journaling | I’m hoping that along with yoga and meditation, that I can use journaling to surface some of the underlying conflicts and subconscious turmoil that is triggering my panic attacks.
5. Toxins | This isn’t something I had ever really thought about until recently when I was listening to a podcast interview with a medically trained doctor in functional medicine, who specializes in toxins (I’ll include more info about this in a later post). Turns out we are CONSTANTLY being exposed to things that can cause distress and imbalance in our bodies. Not only do I want to learn more about ways to reduce these ailment causing toxins but, being a creative and maker, I would also love to start making more of my everyday products by hand instead of buying the mass-produced stuff. Not only will it be better for my system, but it’ll be more eco-friendly which is a huge plus!
6. Water | I will be the first to admit that I don’t drink enough water by a long shot. I’m horrible about it, even when I am on a consistent running routine. And the one thing I keep reading/hearing over and over again, besides get enough sleep, is drink lots of water.
Hopefully you find a nugget or two that you can incorporate into your own health and welnnes plan going into the year! And definitely leave a comment below and tell me what some of your steps are so I can improve my own plan :)