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!

 

 

 

 

Why Self-Awareness supports your Mental Health

“Sure thing. I can help you”.

 

It’s easier for me to help another than help myself. It so easy for me to DROP what I’m doing and support another person, however I’m not sure I’m driven by the most purest of motivations.

I feel so bad sometimes I just want to hear someone else’s shitty story to feel better about myself. Compassion is a Bitch! I use someone else’s pain and suffering to manage my own, instead of exploring my own pain. It’s a numbing technique that on the surface seems to be fulfilling, as long as I don’t look at what’s under the hood…I do this to cover up my own pain, this might be as harmful as numbing out for six hours in front of the TV eating candy. (more…)

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…)

Peer Support for Professionals – Mental Health, Toronto

Is it possible to experience a mental health challenge and be effective and succeed at work?

Many wonder if it is indeed possible for a person living with a mental health challenge to work effectively, accomplish goals, reconnect with self and others, and recapture meaning and purpose in life.

 Peer Support for Professionals builds local community and connections among working professionals who have experience with a mental health challenge. (more…)

Hall Pass

When you have been diagnosed with mental illness, life doesn’t stop giving you obstacles to overcome. Life doesn’t give you hall passes, get out of jail free cards or golden tickets. We deal with and work through all the same challenges as people who haven’t been diagnosed.

 

There is no Difference

We get married and divorced; our loved ones die, and there are wonderful births in our families. Our children do well in school, and they fail. We get jobs, and we lose jobs. We are no different from anyone else. Except, we are susceptible to being triggered by any one of the above listed events. Research has shown that anything that puts a stress on our brain (positive and negative) can affect our mood and our stability. It is critical to have support around you and a way to manage these kinds of changes in our lives. (more…)

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

Living with a mental illness is challenging, living with one that is not stabilized can be debilitating.  So what can you do?

I’m often asked what are the things I do to keep well and mentally stable? So I’ve decided to write a couple of blog posts on this very point.  I use the acronym FSTEP that stands for Food, Sleep, Treatment, Exercise, and Perception. By assessing and keeping my attention on each one of the FSTEP elements, it supports my mental health stability and high function life I’ve been accustom to for the past 15 years. If you feel like using or trying it out you can download it here for free.

FSTEP – Sleep (more…)