BY MINAA B. PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEUN IVORY.
After spending a year on antidepressants, I was able to manage my depression through healthy holistic practices without the use of medication. I made sure that while my antidepressants were giving me the boost that I needed to reclaim my energy and help me balance my negative thoughts I adjusted and fine-tuned a lot of my habits as well as took into account the environmental factors and lifestyle choices that I was making that weren't necessarily helping to aid my depression. I just knew that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my adult life having to depend on medication to balance my moods.
Everything is a process, therefore it’s important for me to share that my wellness journey did not happen overnight, it actually took years, and I had to learn how to be patient with the process and myself so that I can be where I am today: Three years off of medication and living my best life without the added struggles of depression.
So here are 10 healthy holistic practices to help heal mental wellness:
1. Cleanse Your Space
When you wake up in the morning, take a look around you and absorb the space that you are in. What does your living atmosphere look like? Is it neat and tidy? Or could you benefit from a spring-cleaning? Understand that our environment plays a role in shifting our moods. When you are surrounded by a cluttered space, it can impact your level of happiness as well as your motivation to jump-start your day. Start small. Focus on an area in your room where you can start tidying up then go from there until your space is as clean as it can be. This practice also helps with cleansing and releasing, the act of letting go of things that are no longer serving us.
2. Cleanse Your Circle or Enhance Your Circle
Who are you doing life with? Community is essential to growth. Community provides space for us to learn how to be authentic, vulnerable and most importantly find people who hold us accountable for our actions. The quality of your friendships is way more important than the quantity of your friendships. Understanding this means you need to be aware that everyone can’t come for the ride and there may be some people in your life that you might need to distance yourself from or create boundaries around because they are detrimental to your spirit. However, you may also find that you have no one in your circle, you are doing life alone and you need to start learning how to create connections with others. Which category do you fall in?
3. Don’t Rely on Motivation, Be Disciplined
One of the most common misconceptions that most people have when they are trying to change their habits is they believe that in order to change one must be motivated to get the job done. That is so wrong on many levels. Motivation is a feeling just like happiness and sadness is. The same way those emotions are fleeting, so is motivation, which tells me that most people think that change can only happen when they feel good. No! What you need is discipline, because there are going to be days when you don’t feel like doing something and guess what, you still need to get it done. So set a concrete plan that is realistic and force yourself to get going on it as if your life depended on it.
4. Eat A Balanced Meal Once A Day
What we eat can affect our mind just as much as our bodies. Try to swap out one of your meals during the week for a healthy option. One that is low in sugars and fats or maybe a vegan meal. Starting small helps so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by a sudden shift in diet. So start from there and pay attention to your mood and energy levels after to see how what you’re eating might be impacting your mental wellness.
Baby steps! I’m not telling you throw yourself full throttle into a HIIT class, but you can start somewhere, even in your home. Set a goal to aim for once or twice a week for 20-30 minutes. Then increase that over time.
6. Affirm Yourself
Here’s my motto when it comes to self-care: "You can’t do self-care if you don’t honor yourself." So get a pen and paper in hand and start writing down daily affirmations to boost your self-esteem as well as your confidence. Watch how your life unfolds. It’ll be beautiful.
7. Create A Vision Board
Manifest! Manifest! Manifest! When you set intentions and affirm what you want from the universe, you will see it come to life. Create a vision board of how you want your wellness journey to unfold and watch the magic happen when you set intentions for the things that you want.
8. Stay Hydrated
If you want to function at your best make sure your body is consuming adequate amounts of water to help maintain bodily functions and to get that glowing skin!
9. Document The Process
There are going to be days when it feels like life is beating you up. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. A journey to wellness is understanding that no matter how healthy and whole you aim to be, we are still people who experience emotions, good and bad ones, so don’t ignore your bad feelings. Document your daily process so on those days when you are feeling low, you can reflect and remain inspired from all the hard work you’ve put in and the good that has come from it.
10. Honor The Process / Be Patient
Remember, growth doesn’t happen overnight. Take your time and be patient. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. Focus on you as well as what your needs are and honor every step of the way!
Minaa B. is a writer, author of the book, Rivers Are Coming and a licensed psychotherapist based in NYC. She is an advocate for health and wellness and uses her instagram platform to spread words of hope and inspiration. Minaa is also a small business owner and runs an all-natural apothecary shop called Sunday Mornings. On her down time she enjoys self-care by reading cook books, drinking black tea and giving herself at home facials using activated charcoal. You can learn more about her work and get in contact with her by visiting: http://www.minaab.com