For many of us it can feel like indulgence to practice self-care when there are so many social and environmental injustices to fight, but we feel like the importance of this act should not be a luxury. We have found repeatedly that when we make conscious choices to partake in eating healthy foods, getting some regular exercise, spending time in nature, and connecting with herbs that it is crucial for establishing a foundation for good mental health.
We recognize that it is difficult to shift the way we approach these things, and understand that it is a privilege to be able to afford, have access to, and have the time for healthy foods and exercise. And this certainly can’t correct all the wrongs in our lives, but even small incremental changes can go a long way.
Food: Replacing refined carbohydrates such as white breads and white rice with whole grains, legumes, some meat (if you partake), fresh fruits and veggies (or frozen) and lots of clean water has been essential for us and our mental health.
Some key ingredients to healthy eats: Limit sugary, fried and fast foods! Eat healthy proteins such as eggs, fish, and beans. If you eat the meats grass fed/free range is best. Consume healthy oils like olive and coconut oils, butter too. Dark green leafy veggies like collards and kale have some deep nutrition. Eat breakfast!!
To supplement good food, there are a few key supplements that have been proven to help with mental health: Folic Acid (vitamin B9), Vitamin D, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Herbs, Teas, and Supplements
Exercise : Just taking a walk around the block or a bike around town can do wonders as a reset button. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to take care of your mental well being. Decide when you’re going to exercise and create a routine if you can. Find a workout friend to help hold each other accountable. Try to get in a little every day – the gym after work, or a walk when you wake up or at lunch, riding your bike to the store.
There are lots and lots of short (like 15 minutes short) full body workouts on the youtube!
- The YMCA: routine, working out, , swimming, other folks, and steam rooms (tho gender binaried) are healing for us, and the Y has all those things. You can get guest passes for free, and they have a scholarship program for memberships.
- NATURE! Our favorite spots are The Durham Rock Quarry, West Point on the Eno, and anywhere along the Haw River.