If you are currently taking prescription medications and/or experience mood and mental health issues you would like to improve, there are many steps you can take to improve your quality of life and your emotional wellbeing. These are steps I have taken to taper myself off of medication and maintain a functional lifestyle without it.
The first step is to figure out what you want and evaluate your current situation. If you are currently seeing a therapist or psychiatrist, figure out if they are the best person for your goals. If not, go on a search for someone who is.
Finding a New Doctor
Do some local research on functional medicine, orthomolecular medicine, preventative medicine, integrative psychiatry or psychiatrists who also specialize in nutrition. Ask around and interview a few people before choosing someone new to work with. Here are a few resources where you can find these kinds of practitioners:
There are mental health therapies that have been around for thousands of years, and there are new ones being researched every day. I talk about many of them on this site.
For me the most significant changes I have found in my mental health come from making changes in my diet and supplement intake. A good way to start is by taking a food allergy test, doing an elimination diet and following an anti-inflammatory diet for one month. I have some specific food recommendations here.
Getting on a regular exercise routine is key to your long term health and happiness. Whether it’s going on a walk or hike three times a week, taking a yoga class, starting a new hobby like dance, surfing or horseback riding, there are many fun ways to get out and get moving.
De Clutter Your Life
Having extra stuff around your house, thousands of emails in your inbox or even conversations you’ve been waiting to have can make you stressed, overwhelmed and depressed. Clean up your environment, eliminate things you don’t need and clear your head of anything distracting you from a happier life.
Manage Your Money
People who experience mental health issues often have trouble managing their finances. Maybe you spend too much money on food when you’re depressed, or you spend thousands of dollars on travel when you’re in a manic mood. Being financially out of control is unsustainable and stressful.
Change Your Environment
Lighting, sound, colors and other environmental factors and have a great effect on your mood. Start by making some small changes, or if you’ve been unhappy where you live for awhile maybe it’s time to make a move.
De Stress Your Life
If you have a lot of stress in your life from work, relationships, health, money or other areas of your life it can cause mood swings, depression and other harmful mental problems. Address the areas of your life which cause you stress and work to reduce it.
Know Your Triggers
Each of us has triggers which can send us off into days of stress, unhappiness and distraction. Maybe it’s speaking with an ex, eating too much sugar, spending too many days by yourself. It’s important to become aware of what triggers your moods so you can be prepared and preventative.
Be Accountable, Be in Touch
If your goal is to live a life without medication, it’s especially important to have a support network, and to use it. Tell someone when you’re going out of town and what address you can be found at, call your therapist or a friend when you’re starting to feel signs of a downturn. If you struggle with managing money, work with your parents, romantic partner or a friend to keep checks in place for you. Set up systems ahead of time when you’re feeling good so that you’re prepared for the days when you aren’t.
Tapering off of Medications
When reducing the amount of medications you’re taking it’s important to do it slowly and with the help of a professional. Reduce a small amount, keep up with your diet and exercise, see how you do over a number of months before thinking of reducing more.