I see so many people wishing they could go vegan but feeling like depression is stopping them.
I know what they mean, though, since depression alone is hard to deal with, and then think about adding a lifestyle that is not really loved and accepted by everyone around us.
Things can get really messy, people!
Going vegan doesn’t have to be overwhelming – and I have a printable that will help you do just that here – but it’s a bit more challenging when you are dealing with a mental illness. I know that because I was depressed before, during and after my vegan transition – I still am as you know.
Navigating veganism and depression at the same time is not easy and no one really talks about it, but I want to. I know how important it is that we all start living more compassionate lives and it is crucial we help everyone do it, not just those who have very little mental health struggles to worry about.
Here are my best tips to go vegan when you have depression as an obstacle:
- Treat it as something that you are exploring, not a goal to attain. Veganism was never a goal to reach – it’s just a philosophy we live by – so don’t treat it as something you must put on your to-do list. Explore it, play with it and see how far you are willing to go each day.
- Be religious about your self-care routine. I don’t care what anyone says, if you are not your own priority and you aren’t being strict about how you treat yourself, you have no chance of staying vegan long-term. I know for myself that were I not serious about making myself feel better, I would be very unhappy living a vegan lifestyle. To find out what I do to take care of myself, read this post here.
- Surround yourself with people who will support your journey, or at least won’t make it difficult. We don’t necessarily need a group of vegans to cheer on us, but we do need to feel that we can lean on someone and hear their encouraging words when needed.
- Acknowledge that others are suffering equally, if not more, as we do. As humans, we have a responsibility to take care of those we abused, enslaved and began to exploit for no other reason but that we could. Yes, we are struggling ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we should use it as an excuse to harm those less fortunate.
These are just four things that are most important to remember when you are navigating veganism and depression at the same time.
It is possible to adopt new, healthier and more compassionate habits. No matter how depressed we are, there is always more strength in us than we are able to see at first. There is always enough strength in our hearts to decide we want to be better, to do better.
You got this. Because I and so many of my fellow plant-eaters were able to deal with mental health struggles AND those few first weeks of living a completely different lifestyle to the one we were used of.