Ketamine is revolutionizing treatment of pain, depression, and anxiety. However, it is most effective when viewed as a catalyst. It would simply be untrue to tell you that all you need is ketamine. Treatment of mood and pain disorders is complex, and ketamine is one part of the solution. But ketamine can absolutely help you get going in a way no other traditional treatment has done before. So once you receive your ketamine infusions, use this momentum for change! Here are five ways to maximize your progress:
1. Get more sleep.
Are you getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep at night? Sleep is restorative, a time for your brain to rest and make sense of what happened the day before. If you are able to easily doze off during a movie or immediately fall asleep on a plane in middle of the day you are not getting enough sleep.
2. Get physical.
Get your heart pumping. Exercise, formal or informal such as long walks, yoga, and dancing help you get into your body and out of your head. Exercise allows for release of endorphins, the feel good hormones!
3. Help out someone else.
When you help others, e.g. mentoring an at-risk kid, paying for coffee for a stranger, or volunteering at a hospital, you get to connect with others. The unpleasant feelings we get from depression and anxiety, or the isolation we feel from chronic pain can disconnect us from people around us. Reconnecting with others allows you to recognize you are not alone, and gives you relief from the constant focus of what’s wrong with you.
4. Be mindful of what you “consume."
We’re talking about everything one consumes: junk food, social media, alcohol, TV, news, or gaming to escape life. Are you being mindful of what you are consuming? Are you simply consuming them to try to feel better or not feel at all? Here is a challenge, take a break from the glass of wine after work or TV for one week and check what happens. Often we do these things out of habit which can detrimentally affect your sleep and health.
5. Start a daily ‘spiritual’ practice.
We’re not asking you to drop everything and go to an ashram or take up yoga (although if that floats your boat, go for it!). It can be as simple as taking 5 minutes in the morning to focus on your breath and center yourself, or 5 minutes of journaling about what you are feeling in the morning. Perhaps you grew up in strong religious background and no longer pray, what if you were to re-start? Connecting with what is greater or beyond you, in whatever religious context that resonates with you, helps you know and feel that you are never alone.
As you probably noticed, there are no fancy bio-hacks or quick fixes here. The chances are you’ve been told to do some or all of these things in the past. And good for you, if you are already doing this! However, if you are like most people, you're probably not doing many of these activities.
What’s interesting is once you start receiving your ketamine infusions, you may begin to notice a change in yourself, wanting to take these actions. It can create a positive feedback loop. The ketamine helps you feel better, resulting in you being able to sleep better, feel healthier, consume mindfully, and wanting to help others, which in turn helps you feel better!
Finally, don’t wait until after ketamine to start these, start these now and see the changes they will bring to your life!