Inspired by author and depression and anxiety survivor Matt Haig, I'm sharing a list of things that can spike or worsen my OCD, rumination, anxiety and stress. And a list of things that have supported my recovery from 19 years of OCD, that make me feel happy in my soul and which help to quiet my mind.
Things that make me worse
Staying up too late
Doing too much
Not resting enough
Not eating enough protein (meats, fish, eggs)
Crowded, busy cities (if I’m there too long)
People sometimes tell me they wouldn’t have thought there was a link between nutrition and mental health. I believe that by growing our awareness of the link between nutrients, mental health and mental health problems, we might reduce the stigma of mental health problems. We might create a shift where more people seek and find answers to their mental health struggles and go on to live happy and productive lives.
Nutrition builds your physical foundations right down to your cells. Cells that make up your brain and nerves, your hormone-secreting ovaries and testes. Cells that make up your heart and lungs, your complex, amazing digestive system. Cells that make up your blood. Immune cells that fight infections and keep you well.
Christmas can be a painful time of year for many people - a time when grief, loneliness, health struggles, depression, anxiety, lack of money, or family trauma can be that much more prominent. And what adds to the pain for many of us, is the loud, deeply contrasting message that this is a happy, merry, joyous time. A time of togetherness, of fun, of treats. A time of spending lots of money and receiving lots of gifts. A time of family. These societal messages can be like salt in our wounds.
Yet this common human experience isn’t often talked about. In a spirit of acknowledging our human struggles and sharing ways to care for yourself through tough times, I’ve put together these mental health first aid tips for the holidays.
There are tips for those who are:
-feeling exhausted emotionally and physically
-impacted by toxic family, and
-for those who are struggling to sleep.
Welcome to The OCD series. I’m Francesca, a Nutritionist who has lived with OCD since I was 10. In my teens and late 20s, I hit rock bottom with OCD – it was so distressing and debilitating that it left me feeling suicidal and at one stage, partially housebound. Now, after investing time, money and effort in creating a mental health tool box, I am thriving. And I offer support to people suffering from OCD who want to get their lives back.
If you've landed on this page and would like to go to the beginning of The OCD Series, where I begin with discussing nutrition for OCD, click here.
This article discusses a nutrition and lifestyle change that my clients routinely report leads to reduced frequency, intensity and duration of their OCD spikes: taking a break from caffeinated drinks. You’ll learn how caffeine impacts your nervous system. And I’ll share why I went cold turkey on caffeinated drinks for 6 years (yup!), after 19 years of suffering with OCD, and the changes I experienced as a result.