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:
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.
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.
To Thriving in the Workplace!