I thought that this was a very important topic to cover because of various reasons. Many people have mental health issues, more than it may seem. Some people aren't quite ready to admit it yet and that is just fine. Mental health is important to keep track of and maintain. If you aren't feeling fine mentally then everything else can start to shut down, trust me, I know. Counseling can sometimes not work and medication makes you feel all fuzzy and clouded. So we are going to talk about a different approach to mental self-care and health. Let's talk about holistic mental health.
What Is Mental Health?
Before we tackle how holistic mental health options can work for you, you first need to understand what mental health is. In the broadest terms, mental health is functioning at a satisfactory level of behavioral and emotional adjustment. Wait, what?
It's how we handle stress, relate to others, make choices, cope with problems, and socialize. Everyone has mental health because without it we wouldn't...be thoughtful beings. However, mental health is not a mental illness.
What is Mental Illness?
Mental illnesses are health conditions dealing with mood changes, thought changes, behavioral shifts, or any combination of these. They're associated with problems functioning in work, societal, or familial activities and/or distress. It's common to have a mental illness. But, it's also treatable, most adults with mental illness can function in everyday life.
There are many ways to treat these things, conventional or otherwise. Let's talk about otherwise. Let's talk about holistically treating those not-so-great thoughts in your head.
Holistic Mental Health Treatments
I'm going to answer a few key questions you might have regarding this method as well as giving you some questions and methods to look inside yourself for a little introspection.
How does the holistic approach work with mental illness?
This method looks at you as a whole person rather than a set of symptoms. It'll be looking to treat you as a whole system, looking at the mental and social factors surrounding you.
What causes/triggers mental health problems?
Many things can trigger issues but they all result from an imbalance in the body. A few symptoms to look out for are irritability, anxiety, poor diet, and depression. (But these are not all the symptoms you can experience.)
What is the holistic view of mental health?
Your emotional well-being is designed by a series of connected systems: medical, psychological, social, psychiatric, behavioral, lifestyle, spiritual, etc. A holistic health practitioner will evaluate you in a complete sense; they look into how your body's whole system connects before they give you a few possible plans of action.
What might a practitioner prescribe you?
Rather than medication, they may tell you to change your diet, take a few nutritional supplements, or make some subtle lifestyle changes like taking 20-30 minute walks a day.
Factors That Can Help Mental Health Issues
As I said, there are other ways besides medication that help you dispell yourself of all that bad mental juju.
Your diet can make you feel lots of different ways. If you eat like a garbage can then you will FEEL like a garbage can. Eating whole-grains and vegetables with every meal can help in preventing mood swings while providing good food juju to the brain! If you're stumped for some brain-healthy meals, allow me to be of assistance.
Breakfast: Whole grain toast and an egg scramble with spinach, tomatoes, and avocado on top. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper!
Snack ideas: Popcorn with pink salt and a plant-based butter. Granola with fruit.
Lunch: Fried wild rice with loads of peppers, ginger, garlic, onion, and whatever other vegetable or protein you want.
Dinner: Bulgar, asparagus, and salmon. You can season as you'd like.
Vitamins and Supplements
A lot of what you put in your body is going to affect how it runs. It's important to look into them and talk with your health practitioner about taking them. Vitamins, oils, herbs, and enzymes are common when looking to improve mental health. I recommend going to your local holistic pharmacy to check them out and ask questions. As for herbs, I will be getting more into that soon.
This is HUGE when dealing with mental illnesses. Therapy can mean going into an office and talking with someone or meditating to try and find the problem yourself or even journaling to just get it off your chest. But by no means should you bottle it all up and allow it to explode, this is very unhealthy and can take a toll on social and work relationships thus plummetting your mental health to the depths.
Therapy and coping don't have to all be introspective, sometimes that just doesn't work. Sometimes physically getting it out is helpful. If you're having issues with your temper, try joining a boxing class or a form of martial arts. This can help you get physically healthy, learn a form of self-defense, and help you release that frustration.
Meditation is known to change how your brain works while helping you get to know your body and mind better. The point is, find what helps you cope and start doing it.
Taking A Mental Health Day
Everyone is busy these days. Swamped with work or finding work while trying to plan their future. The stress is very high with how fast people think things need to be done. It's important to hit pause, take a step back, and ask yourself what you need to function properly.
Personally, I use one of my days off as a mental health day. I let my friends and family know that I'll be offline for the day, turn my devices off, and go about my day without the worry of deadlines or projects that need to be done. I focus on myself and my needs.
Mental health is crucial for functioning in everyday life. By no means should you put off your health for another person. If you're not keen about conventional healthcare practices then look to the holistic mental health approach to heal not only your mind but your body as well. You are worth it. You deserve to be taken care of so start taking care of yourself.
Options for Holistic Mental Health was written, edited, and researched by Emmalie Roberts. For more about the holistic approach, check out our homepage.