Remember when I told you that I have postpartum anxiety and depression? I’m now 16 months postpartum and I’m pretty relieved/proud/happy/excited to admit that I’m feeling amazing. I have a handle on my anxiety, I’m able to see the world clearly, and the little things that used to ruin my day don’t even phase me anymore.
So how did I do it? How did I take control of my anxiety? The following five steps helped a lot.
1 // healthy eating
According to the California Institute of Technology, 90% of serotonin is made in our gut, in the digestive tract. A healthy lifestyle and diet can play a part in one’s mental health. For me, eating an abundance of plant-based foods in their organic whole form (I’m talking about fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds) gave me the foundation I needed to then take other steps to feeling good.
I also didn’t (and still don’t) consume caffeine or alcohol, a decision that has helped my mind remain clear and my body feeling good.
I like to think of nutrition and diet as the vehicle for good health. When our gut feels good, our brain feels good and we have the motivation to do more things that will make us feel good, too!
2 // MOVEMENT
Exercise can be as gentle or as rigorous as you desire. While working through my postpartum anxiety, most days all I wanted to do was go for a walk outside and do some yoga in my house, in my sweat pants. Sometimes I craved running as fast as I possibly could, feeling the adrenalin pump through my veins. No matter what I was doing, daily movement helped me so much.
3 // Spirituality
This can mean whatever you want it to mean for you, but for me it means to meditate. To quiet my mind, get into a calm space and connect with my True Self. To feel my heart beating in the centre of my chest and my breath entering and exiting my body. This is the place where I feel at ease and in charge of my life, no matter what is happening. And it’s also the place that I can connect to my Spirit Guides and receive messages on what to do next.
4 // Digital Detox
I’m not talking about unplugging, although that is essential as well, but I’m talking about unfollowing everyone on social media who doesn’t serve my happiness. Anyone, any account, anything that pops up in my feed that doesn’t make me feel happy, I unfollow. We spend so much time on our phones, scrolling and taking in millions of pieces of information—and, for the most part, we have the choice on what kind of information we want to absorb. For some reason, this was hard for me to do. I didn’t want to hurt people or offend people, but after doing so, I felt amazing.
5 // Medication
And finally, medication. When I first started taking medication, I was on a much higher dose than I currently take. Over time and with the help of my doctor, I have very slowly decreased my daily dosage. I haven’t given myself a timeline as to when I want to be off of the meditation, but know that I will get to that point one day. I am being patient with myself, accepting of where I am at with my anxiety and allowing myself to enjoy feeling GOOD without judgement.
Read more of Ashley wellness journey: Postpartum Anxiety and Depression: When Healthy Food Wasn’t Enough, My Birth Story: A Tribute to Breathwork, and Picky Eater Turned Food Blogger: How I Fell in Love With Food.
ASHLEY WOOD is a recipe developer and writer from Winnipeg, Canada. With a passion for health, wellness and vegetables, Ashley creates simple and inexpensive vegan recipes made from whole ingredients that are often seasonal, sometimes gluten-free and occasionally raw. Ashley believe in celebrating the benefits of living a vegan lifestyle and at the very least, hopes to inspire others to eat more plants, smile and live with some Sunshine.