Supporting Your Recovery with the FSTEP

A foundational support system that creates results fast

I’ve often had the question:  What do you do for yourself to support your recovery?

There are some things I do to maintain recovery which in turn helps with managing my mental health and my effectiveness in the workplace.  I use a simple acronym: FSTEP (Food, Sleep, Treatment, Exercise, Perspective) to help me maintain a foundation of wellness.

F – Food: I make sure to eat 3-4 meals a day with 1-2 snacks. I have removed any dairy and gluten from my diet. And as much as possible I include dark leafy greens and protein in each of my meals. I strive for 8-10 glasses of water a day, and I cut out alcohol in 2007.  I use a great resource, created by my good friend Patricia Borsato, AKA “the Mood Foodie”. Her Mood Foodie guidebook is a practical, positive culinary approach to optimum mental health. I highly recommend her programs and her guidebook. Check her out here.

S – Sleep: I make sure I am getting a consistent amount of sleep each night. My pattern is in bed by 930 pm and up at 6 am. If I find my schedule does not allow that I ensure to have naps as soon as possible to make up for any late night / early morning. What you do before you go to bed makes a difference in your quality of sleep. Find out more about sleep hygiene from Kelly Starrett here  or check out my blog post:

Wakey Wakey Sleepyhead – It’s time to get out of bed!

T – Treatment: Defining treatment is more personal than a general rule. For me, it’s ensuring the basics are in place: medication, see my Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist regularly and peer support groups. If something changes in my life, I make sure I’m talking about it with people that can make a difference. I began a practice about in Nov 2016 where I have a wellness day scheduled in my calendar every 10 business days. I call these my purple days as I colour code them in my calendar to ensure at a glance I can see they are there. These days are reserved for things that give me positive energy – (yoga, walking, catching up on sleep, writing, anything that is nurturing and considered “me” time). In the workplace, you might call them mental health or personal days.

E – Exercise: Over and over we hear in the research and with others who manage their mental health, that some kind of exercise is critical to their mental wellness.  I workout with my personal trainer twice a week and engage in some other form of exercise on 1-2 other days of the week. Add in lots of stretching, and a pilates class and it’s a good week! If I get to the pool in the week we are at a 4-5 on the scale. It is proven that one of the best combinations is some form of cardio, weight training, and pilates and or yoga.

Check out my guest blog post from my friend Allison Smith on how exercise and sleep support mental health.

How Exercise & Sleep Supports Mental Health

 

P – Perspective: This is tricker than the rest as it is subjective and requires a level of self-awareness and reflection to assess where you are on the scale. What I’ve learned is there are some key structures that support a positive outlook and increase my ability to manage the workplace environment. In no particular order: clearing calls with a trusted business colleague twice a week, self-development courses 3-4 times per year, Enneagram Coach and Mentor call once per month, regular check-ins with my husband, daily journal writing, meditation, limited social media use, 60-90 minutes of me time in the morning before checking any email, text or other work-related activities, taking consistent holidays, dancing and basically being goofy.

There is a worksheet you can download to use the FSTEP. Instructions are included. If you have any questions please email me. This is an excellent tool and absolutely works.

FSTEP for Mental Wellness 2018

 

To Thriving in the Workplace!

 

 

 

 

15 Ways to Combat Travel Stress

Over the last 24 months, I’ve traveled on average 2 x per month for both business and personal. I’ve learned a couple of things along the way, mostly from what I wasn’t doing at the beginning. Now that travel is part of my work, it’s important to keep my self-care up even while I’m traveling. I’ve reviewed many articles on the affects of travel, changing time zones, challenges with sleep while on the road, and the general stress of moving from one city to another as something that can be a  trigger for those of us who manage a mental health illness. Any change ( in schedule or routine) or stress can affect our brain. Ensuring we have structures in place to support our lifestyle is important. There are a number of things we can do to take care of our mental health while traveling. I’ve also included some options for our general health.

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How Exercise & Sleep Supports Mental Health

By Allison Smith, Guest Blogger, Certified Personal Trainer and Yoga Enthusiast

Depression runs in my family. Both my mothers’ parents took their own lives when she was a teen, and died herself by suicide recently. As difficult as it was, I was motivated more than ever to help others in pain. And so I was honoured when Leslie asked me to speak to her group Professionals Working Well about the importance of exercise and sleep for our mental health. (more…)