Let’s look ahead to the coming week.

Support Groups

Here is what we are doing in the Benzo Withdrawal Help Premium Support Group: 
Monday, November 27, 9 a.m. Pacific is our check-in. A 45-minute Q and A session. Fear, worries, concerns, but also sharing victories and celebrations!
Wednesday, November 29, 9 a.m. Pacific, our discussion topic is 45 Minutes of HOPE.  We’ll explore why we heal and give you boatloads of hope to hold onto!
Friday, December 1, Getting Through the Christmas Season Join us to discuss the best tips for navigating the Christmas season in benzo withdrawal.

Join The Benzo Withdrawal Help Premium Support Group

Healing Tip of the Week: Reducing Stress During Benzo Withdrawal

During benzodiazepine withdrawal, managing stress is not just beneficial; it’s essential. Stress can exacerbate withdrawal symptoms and hinder the brain’s healing process. Stress is inherent in benzo withdrawal due to the downregulated GABA receptors, but we can find ways to reduce as much stress as possible.

Here’s why reducing stress is good for the brain, especially during withdrawal:

  • Promotes Neurogenesis: Lower stress levels can lead to an increase in the production of new neurons in the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with memory and learning.
  • Balances Neurotransmitters: Stress reduction can help balance the levels of neurotransmitters, which may be disrupted during withdrawal.
  • Decreases Inflammation: Chronic stress can cause inflammation in the brain, which impedes healing. Stress management techniques can help reduce this inflammation.

Here are practical ways to reduce stress during benzo withdrawal:

  • Practice Mindfulness Meditation:
    • Engage in daily mindfulness exercises to stay present and reduce anxiety.
    • Use guided meditations to help focus your thoughts and calm your mind.
  • Incorporate Deep Breathing Techniques:
    • Try diaphragmatic breathing to activate the body’s natural relaxation response.
    • Utilize breathing apps or timers to establish a rhythm that soothes your nervous system.
  • Listen to calming music or sounds
    • Play massage or spa music
    • Listen to nature sounds on an app such as Naturespace
  • Engage in Gentle Yoga or Tai Chi:
    • These low-impact exercises can reduce muscle tension and promote mental relaxation.
    • Focus on movements that feel comfortable and do not strain your body.
  • Connect with Supportive Communities:
    • Share experiences and gain insights from others who are going through similar challenges.
    • Engage in group activities that promote a sense of calm and belonging.
  • Stimulant Intake:
    • Eliminate caffeine and sugar, which can aggravate anxiety and stress.
    • Choose herbal teas or decaffeinated beverages as alternatives.
  • Spend Time in Nature:
    • Take walks in natural settings to benefit from the calming effect of green spaces.
    • Practice grounding exercises, like walking barefoot on grass, to connect with the earth and reduce stress.
  • Understand Your Nervous System:
    • Know that in the protect state, your thoughts and feelings will be negative. Observe. Do not judge or believe the negativity. Remind yourself that ‘state drives story.’

Remember, the journey through benzo withdrawal is unique for everyone. It’s important to be gentle with yourself and recognize that reducing stress is not a luxury, but a vital part of the healing process. Use these tips to create a tranquil sanctuary in your daily life where your brain can find the peace it needs to heal.

Plant-Powered Pick of the Week: Carrots – Crunch Your Way to Better Health

This week, let’s put the spotlight on a vegetable that is not only a staple in kitchens worldwide but also a powerhouse of nutrients – the humble carrot. Carrots are more than just an ingredient for soups and salads; they’re a fantastic source of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, with a host of benefits that can particularly aid those in benzo withdrawal.

Why Carrots Are Great for Your Health

  • Rich in Beta-Carotene: Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy vision, immune function, and skin health.
  • Full of Fiber: The high fiber content in carrots can help with digestive health, which is often affected during benzo withdrawal.
  • Antioxidant Power: Carrots contain various antioxidants, which can protect brain cells against damage caused by oxidative stress.
  • Support Detoxification: They support the liver in detoxification processes, which is particularly beneficial during the withdrawal period as the body works to eliminate toxins.

How to Include Carrots in Your Diet
Here are some easy and delicious ways to get more carrots into your weekly meal plan:

  • Raw Snacking: Keep a container of cut-up carrots in your fridge for a quick, crunchy snack. Pair them with hummus or a yogurt-based dip for added flavor and nutrition.
  • Roasted Delight: Toss whole or sliced carrots with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and your favorite herbs, and roast them until they’re tender and slightly caramelized.
  • Juice Them Up: Carrot juice is sweet, hydrating and can be combined with ginger or apple for a refreshing drink that’s full of nutrients.
  • Sweet Treats: Grate carrots and add them to muffin or pancake batter for a sweet, moist, and healthful twist on your favorite baked goods.
  • Savory Soups: Puree-cooked carrots with broth and herbs to create a comforting soup that’s both nourishing and soothing for the digestive system.

Herbed Carrot and Quinoa Salad (Remember, we learned about quinoa last week!)
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa and water (or vegetable broth for more flavor). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the quinoa is fluffy and the liquid is absorbed.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, minced garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper until well combined.
  3. Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and let it cool for a few minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the grated carrots and cooled quinoa. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat everything evenly.
  5. Add the chopped parsley, mint, and cilantro to the salad. Gently mix the herbs into the salad to distribute them evenly.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  7. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld. This can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  8. When ready to serve, garnish with toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch and extra protein.

This Herbed Carrot and Quinoa Salad is a refreshing, nourishing dish that can serve as a meal on its own or as a vibrant side. The herbs provide a burst of freshness, the spices a subtle warmth, and the quinoa and carrots make it a substantial, fiber-rich treat. Enjoy this healthful creation and let the natural sweetness of the carrots shine in your plant-powered week.

From My Heart to Yours

I hope the week ahead is filled with positivity, gratitude, and holding tight to the knowledge that you will recover! Every day forward is a day of healing. Keep up the good work! I love you!