Healthy Body Healthy Mind

Healthy Body Healthy Mind

I am the wife of a recovering alcoholic and often times with addiction comes other mental health issues or illnesses, for Skylar he has anxiety. We are currently in year three of his sobriety, when I met him he was 8 years sober and filled with piss and vinegar and over time his anxiety grew and his disease reared its ugly head. Long story short (I’ll share the long story soon) he went to rehab and came home with super high anxiety - they drastically decreased his medication, little things would trigger him, lots of frustration and struggles that first year for both of us.

Over the last three years we have utilized many tools to help with the anxiety and I say we because we support each other and sometimes these changes take a team. Skylar has utilized: medication, traditional therapy, holistic therapy, meditation & spirituality, essential oils, recovery meetings, steams, exercise and rest. Sometime all of these things combined create a great week, other times it doesn’t matter home much self care he did, he still felt the anxiety heavily. For me, I didn’t truly understand anxiety till after we had our son and I experienced an anxiety attack myself and then my care and compassion for those that live with this daily grew. The panic, overwhelm and fear controlling your mind and all while your physical body is having a reaction all of its own, you’re tense, in pain, itchy, twitchy…

This past winter was rough on our family, Skylar’s anxiety/depression was some of the highest i’ve ever seen and I felt like I was treading water to keep us all together. Olie was a busy one year old, I was going stir crazy. Lacking my usual motivation and excitement for life I hit the essential oils hard (citrus oils are a game changer), I made sure I never stayed home more then one full day and I did my best to keep our home up and I too felt foggy, withdrawn and drained. The winter has finally said good-bye and both Skylar and I are both on the way to feeling back to our good old selves, we aren’t there yet and definitely don’t want to feel the way we felt this winter next year.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say “Gut health is mental health” and is it ever true, when we eat bad (like we did this past winter) we start to feel tired, withdrawn, lazy, lack motivation…. not to mention how our body feel (Skylar has a lot of body pain, which his doctors attribute to his anxiety). We like to think we eat well, but we fell off the wagon in that regard and then fell some more, but that has changed!

Over the past few weeks, we have started moving more as the snow melts and the days have gotten longer our energy has changed, we have gradually started eating cleaner and cleaner and now Skylar wants to eat a whole food vegetable based diet (basically mostly vegetarian). I have been taking my vitamins, probiotics and digestive enzymes regularly and have started to see a big difference in our energy, attitude, mindset and skin. This will be a big change for my husband, being an addict often means extremes, in the past changing his eating meant living at the gym, eating only chicken, rice and carrot (i’m serious) (oat meal for breakfast), or eating healthy and then getting a "cheat” meant pop, candy and chips till you’d feel like crap or feel guilty and shameful. This change is going to be a team effort, I love to workout but often put it off to take care of my family (mom guilt) and for me eating healthy is fun, eating when I’m stressed or sad or bored is also “fun”.

Here is what i’ve planned:
- Plan our meals together - I have been using Plan to Eat - its a great tool for meal prep, ideas and shopping
- Journal - when I fell emotional and want to eat
- Gym membership - I found out our city gym has free child care with a membership - AMAZING
- Daily walk with Olie - I always feel better after a walk.
- Eat whole grain vegetable based diet.
- Don’t drink more because its nice out - Yes I do drink even though my husband doesn’t (I’ll write about this too)
- Take my vitamins regularly - This is what I use and highly suggest - Life Long Vitality - to purchase go here
- Support - talk about it, ask for recipes, connect with friends for fitness dates and share my journey on social media. I started an awesome community years ago on Facebook - feel free to join.
- Drink more water - I love adding essential oils to my water and find it helps a lot, my latest favourite is Green Mandarin
- Watch health propaganda documentaries - this sounds silly, but they remind me of the benefits of eating healthy, my favourite one is Forks Over Knives - its on Netflix

If you have suggestions to sticking to a healthy lifestyle or want to connect comment below or join our online community. And if you want to start a healthy habits journey with vitamins and essential oils let me know.

10 Tips to a Healthy Sleep Routine

Sleep Routine

  1. Sleep Schedule 
    Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time daily
    Doing so will help to regulate the body’s internal clock. 

  2. Practice a Bedtime Ritual / Wind down
    Do the activity of choice away from bright lights
    Examples: Read a book, take a bath, be creative, journal…

  3. Avoid Naps

  4. Exercise Daily 
    Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity.
    Exercise anytime, but not at the expense of sleep.
    Walking is great, either first thing in the morning or after dinner, try and avoid exercising too close to bedtime.

  5. Evaluate your room
    Keep it cool – 60 -67 Fahrenheit (16 - 19 Celsius)
    Free from disturbing noise
    Free from light – Sleep masks work great
    Consider your partners sleeping habits
    Consider using blackout curtains, eyeshades, earplugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.

  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress & pillow
    Mattress life expectancy – 9- 10 years (Changing our mattress was a game changer)

  7. Use bright lights
    To help manage your circadian rhythms avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check (try a SAD light during the day).
    Keep your phone OUT of the bedroom

  8. Avoid Alcohol, cigarettes & heavy meals in the evening: 
    Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep
    Large meals can be hard on the digestive system and can make your bodywork hard, rather then resting and healing the body

  9. Your Bed is not for work
    Avoid working, watching TV and computers in the bed
    Use the bed for sleeping & sex
    If you associate a certain activity or item with anxiety about sleep remove it from the room.

  10. Meditate / Gratitude
    Begin a meditation and gratitude practice, start with 3 minutes of meditation and gradually add more time, use an app in the beginning or take a class. 
    Waking up and going to bed thinking/writing out things you are grateful for will help put your mind and body at easy, on bad days being grateful for sight might be all you can come up with, other days the gratitude’s might flow. 

    BONUS TIP!!!

  11. Essential oils
    Essential oils have healing and relaxation benefits, try applying oils to your feet, temples, forehead, back of neck, shoulders and under noise. Applying some oils to your chest can help with breathing. 
    If you have trouble staying asleep add a carrier oil to slow the absorption into your system, this will help with staying asleep. 

    Essential Oils for sleep: Lavender, Cedarwood, Serenity, Vetiver, Roman Chamomile
    Essential Oils to help with nightmares: Juniper Berry, cyrpess, eucalyptus, wild orange, Balance
    Essential Oils to help with sleepwalking: Vetiver, Serenity, Lavender, Balance, Peace
    Essential Oils to help with restless legs: Basil, cypress, geranium, Aromatouch, Peace, Deepblue, Pasttense
    Essential Oils to help with snoring: douglas fir, eucalyptus, FENNEL (on the big toe), Breathe, Purify,
    Essential Oils to help with jet lag (overtired); Arbovitae, basil, grapefruit,lemon, rosemary
    Essential Oils to help with jet lag (can’t go to sleep): basil, cedarwood, frankincense, Peace, vetiver, Console

    From my experience trying to implement all of these right away just doesn’t work, try one or two for a week, then keep adding.