Living a Happier Life
All I wanted was to move far away to a place with endless possibilities, land my dream job, and cultivate a fulfilling life for myself. Normal twenty-something aspirations, right? I loved that I set these goals for myself and the people around me admired how driven I was to make them happen. But, what I didn’t love was that it made me put so much pressure on myself that it led me into a state of depression.
Because I didn’t live in a big city I was a failure because I worked in a small town I was a failure, and because I wasn’t cultivating anything life changing, you guess it, I was a failure. Those are some (but not all) of the things that I would tell myself over and over again to push myself. When I look back on it now it makes me ill to think that I was so hard on myself. The thing is, I moved to Toronto, landed a great job with one of the largest firms in the world, and started incorporating wellness into my life left right and center but nothing changed and I just kept feeling worse.
The reason I’m sharing this personal (somewhat embarrassing) story is because I want to help you if you’re going through a similar experience, even if it’s just the slightest bit. Finding your happiness again isn’t always as easy as you think. I didn’t magically wake up one day happy and content again, it took a lot of work to get where I am now and truthfully I still have a long way to go! Nevertheless, there are a few things that I want to share with you that really helped me start feeling happy about my life again.
It came down to three things: the people in my life, shifting my mindset, and being open to seeking help.
Surrounding yourself with the right people is life changing. Hanging out with people who are constantly talking shit about their day or about other people can be such a strain on your mental health. Negative talk is so easy to join in on and I would get caught up in this more than I’d like to admit (sometimes even the initiator). I hate my job, I hate how I look, blah blah blah. Yes, it’s totally fine to go to a friend for support if something happens to you, but it shouldn’t be a daily routine. I’ve made a really big effort to build relationships with people who are positive, encouraging, and inspiring to be around and it’s made all the difference. These people leave me in a great mindset and not in a shame spiral questioning my entire existence.
Mindset is so so important for self-healing and growth. One of simplest things I’ve done to shift my mindset is through my language. I’ve heard of this before but it wasn’t until a friend of mine brought this up over brunch. I guess at that time I was ready for advice and it stuck with me. The language that I choose to share from the moment I wake up sets the tone of my day. When I focus on being grateful for what I have it makes me feel fulfilled and content with what I’ve already accomplished.
Lastly, I want to share about being open to seeing a doctor. I don’t know how many times I would call my mom crying and she would say ‘maybe you should try going to a doctor or talking to a therapist’ which truly frustrated me to no end. You are my mother aka my therapist, you are the one who I need to talk to! *I was totally being that negative person I told you about earlier. Mom, I apologize, you are a saint*. Honestly, I just felt so weird making a doctor’s appointment for my mental health. I just kept thinking surely there are people out there with bigger problems and I was being dramatic? Heck no. Everyone deserves to be helped and heard no matter what the issue is.
After doing lots of research there was one type of doctor I was open to seeing and that was a naturopathic doctor. I figured let’s just start there. Baby steps. I had multiple sessions to express my personal situation and discuss a plan of action. What I loved about seeing this doctor was that it wasn’t just a quick ‘what prescription do you need’ kind of visit like with my usual family doctor. This doctor educated me on all the different tools I could utilize to help with my depression, I found out that the birth control I had been taking the past few years was actually known to cause or worsen depression. Crazy!! And, by taking a blood test I discovered that my body was lacking lots of vitamins and nutrients. Something I never imagined since I thought I was so healthy.
As it turns out, being deficient in iron and b vitamins can wreak havoc on your mental health. While I didn’t end up seeing a therapist to talk it out (yet), I ended up learning so much useful information about my health overall. To help with my deficiencies, I’m supplementing with a b-complex, cyto-calm (b6), magnesium and omega-3. Taking these supplements and ensuring that I’m incorporating enough iron into my diet has helped significantly with mood and energy levels. I highly recommend you visit a doctor to get tested for deficiencies.
It’s a wonderful thing to have a vision and drive for what you want in life. Just try not to set your expectations so high that it starts to deteriorate your health... I’ve definitely learned that one the hard way! You may think that what caused my depression is silly and it would never happen to you and that’s valid because we are all so unique and different. But, whatever the cause, we all go through tough phases in our lives and I truly believe that by starting with some small changes you can make a huge difference in your own happiness too!
The best self-care is believing that you are enough and being grateful for the beautiful life you already have.