Are Low Motivation and Low Mood Holding You Back from Health?
Imagine living just one day in a perfectly healthy way. You wake up refreshed and ready to go. No need for caffeine. You make a healthy breakfast for you and your family. Everyone is out the door on time feeling put-together and enthusiastic. You get through the day on healthy snacks and a healthy lunch – no cravings for afternoon sweets. You get home still humming with energy to not only make a healthy dinner but to work out as well. By bedtime all your evening chores are done and you’ve wound down enough to fall asleep within 15 minutes of hitting the pillow.
Contrast that with the reality that most people deal with. Waking up feeling unrefreshed. Definitely not “enthusiastic” about the day ahead. Tormented with cravings for sweets, carbs and coffee to get through the day. Just enough energy to make dinner after work but certainly not enough to work out. Lying in bed feeling tired but still not able to sleep.
Most people have a huge gap between their current health habits and the ones they wish they had. How do you even begin to move in the direction of the healthy lifestyle you dream of? Many try to muscle through on raw will power. You declare that, starting this week you WILL work out three times. Starting this week, you WILL NOT give in to cravings for junk food. But then as each day rolls around, you’re hit with the reality that you’re not motivated to do these things. You just don’t want to.
It’s hard to follow all the steps for a healthy lifestyle when you feel down and have zero motivation. You can try to impose all kinds of rules on yourself but if your mind is not in the right place, it won’t happen. This is why it’s so important to be gentle with yourself and start with the right foundation. You need to nurture yourself back to better health rather than trying to force it.
Whenever I have a patient who is stuck in an unhealthy lifestyle, they’re relieved when they find out that I won’t be throwing them on a super strict diet, exercise and supplement plan. Because both of us know they’re not ready for that. We start at the foundation. We work on gentle ways to restore good quality sleep, balance stress hormones and support mood. We replenish nutrients that are lacking. We SLOWLY take out toxic foods, habits and chemicals that drain energy and cloud thinking.
With this approach, mood steadily begins to rise as patients start to feel less drained and more clear-headed. Motivation returns. Soon enough doing a couple minutes of exercises here and there doesn’t seem so far fetched. Resisting cravings is not as hard as it was before. Healthy recipes are more appealing. You get the picture. An upward spiral has begun. Habit by habit a new, healthy lifestyle is being created. All because we started with nourishing the things that are important for mood and motivation.
That healthy lifestyle can seem impossible from where you’re standing right now. But with the right approach, I have no doubt that you can get there.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected]