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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Why I stopped watching The Walking Dead

We began watching the very popular TV show when it was aired in Oct 2010. We loved the intrigue of it with all of the twists and turns. Then something happened, by Oct 20, 2014, Season 5 episode 2 I stopped watching half way through the episode.   It began to be too real for me: I couldn’t take it anymore.  It wasn’t so much the zombies that got to me, rather the real life stuff, men eating men. It was no longer enjoyment.  It made me anxious and sick. Even as I write this I’m experiencing the stir of anxious feelings in my gut and wonder if it might be a bad idea to write this piece. (more…)

Grief and the Enneagram

As a Type 7 on the Enneagram, I’ve practiced avoiding pain and discomfort most of my life. In fact, you could say my whole makeup is organized about this strategy.

Lately, I’ve noticed this exhausted strategy no longer works. I can no longer push down or ignore the pain and heartbreak of seeing both my parents enter the stage in their life where they need help. Admitting that they are getting older. While this is of course part of life, seeing this change in both my parents is heartbreaking. The thought that keeps tumbling around in my head is did I miss the briefing session from my aunt and uncle letting me know what to do and how to handle it?  (more…)

12 Things to Know When a Parent is Diagnosed with Dementia.

Part of how I deal with my mom’s diagnosis of dementia is by listening to a Podcast hosted by two very smart female comedians. It’s called GUYS WE F****D: THE ANTI SLUT-SHAMING PODCAST. It’s a great distraction, especially when driving home from spending time with my mom, which can be one of the most heart-wrenching times to be alone. Before I found the podcast I used to cry all the way home. It’s a welcomed distraction and very educational. 😉

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Protecting What is Important to You

The Big Rocks story is a great metaphor for Steven Covey’s priority matrix. That is, making sure all the Important but not yet Urgent ( #2) activities are in your calendar first.

I’ve used this strategy with many clients, and they have discovered that we, (yes including me) typically spend most of our time focusing on those things that are Urgent and Important (#1) instead. Usually, this results from a lack of planning and the inability to say no and/or manage interruptions. Sound familiar? (more…)

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…)

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…)

Mental wellness; it’s all how you look at it!

Lately, I’ve been bummed out – really bummed out. I could speculate on why but I don’t think it’s that helpful to go over the reasons. When I get into a one of these bummed out moods, my mind is like a war zone of negativity, Much of how I view things is based on what happens in my day and what I make of it:

  • I apply for a job, get an interview and am told I don’t have what they are looking for.
  • I ask for help from a friend and am ignored.
  • I’m short on cash to pay my visa bill at the end of the month, and it’s a reminder that I don’t have a consistent group of clients paying me for the work I love to do.
  • I continue to work out and don’t see any results in how my body looks.
  • I view job boards, get interested in a position, only to realize I don’t have the qualifications to be considered for an interview.
  • I’m taking the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course and have failed to keep up with the homework.
  • I’ve continued to share my vision of finding a grant for my Unleash Your Mental Wellness coaching program and have not come close to securing one.

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