Two Lifestyle Changes That Positively Impacted My Mental Health

Recently, I've made two lifestyle changes that have dramatically impacted my mental health in a positive way. I've been off of my anxiety meds for weeks. Typically, when I am doing well and try going off my meds, I only last 3-4 days and then I crash and burn, but this time things have been different. I've been able to stay off my meds. Maybe it's a coincidence? But these are the only two changes in my life I can think of. If anything my anxiety should be off the charts right now because I graduate college in three months. I'm still Emily. I'm still in school. I'm still working multiple jobs. I'm still overall a hot mess. So what are the two changes I made? Living alone and going Paleo. 

lifestyle changes to improve mental health

LIVING ALONE

Living alone is the absolute best. You can walk around in your underwear 24/7, you can blast your music as loud as you'd like, and you can focus on YOU. This has allowed me to designate a solid chunk of my time to selfceare. I have been able to take the time I need to sort out my thoughts. I am not constantly anxious about being an inconvenience to my roommates or family. I can have alone time without feeling guilty. I can cry when I need to. I can scream when I need to. I can fully embrace my emotions without worrying that someone will walk in. And honestly, that alone is empowering and refreshing. I know that I have a safe space to come home to everyday. 

While I acknowledge living alone is not a reality for everybody, maybe going somewhere (outside your home) for alone time would be helpful? 

I WENT PALEO...

Honestly, I NEVER thought I'd do anything like this. I absolutely LOVE food. I love trying new foods and new restaurants. I LOVE baking. Meals are pretty much the highlight of my day.

When I started college my eating habits took a turn for the worst....as do most college students living on a budget. The ramen and pizza mixed with my anxiety caused me to gain quite a bit of weight during my freshman year. However, since I've been living alone this semester I have been taking full advantage of my kitchen. I decided that I wanted to shift my eating habits in a positive direction which led to my decision to go Paleo. 

What is Paleo? Basically lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Yes, it's a challenge. No pasta, no added sugar, no preservatives, no dairy. I really miss cheese...and pizza. 

go paleo to help anxiety

I started out hardcore and went Paleo for a solid three weeks. Like no cheats at all. It was a challenge, but very rewarding. Through this new experience I proved to myself that I have self control. I felt good. I found a bunch of new recipes that I enjoy making...and eating. I have a new respect for food and how it effects my body. After the first three weeks I became a little more lenient with myself. If I go out with my friends I'll eat a couple pieces of pizza and such. However, all the food in my kitchen is paleo. 

So what does all this mean for my anxiety? No, just because I've been off my meds for a while doesn't mean I'm cured. My anxiety is not gone. I've definitely had a couple rough days, but it's been manageable. I'm in a good place. Don't worry Anxiously Awake isn't going anywhere. I've got plenty of anxious moments cued up in my drafts, guest writers coming, and more...Although I haven't been very consistent about posting because life has been crazy! 

Thanks for hanging in there with me and for your patience. Now this post isn't to say that living alone and going paleo will work for everybody, but evaluating your lifestyle and seeing what positive changes are reasonable for you might be helpful. 

Keep fighting the good fight and have a fabulous week!