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Why Self-Care May Be Step One

Do you find yourself feeling confused? Exhausted? Irritable? When you try to tackle your problems, does your mind refuse to focus? Some of life's problems are not easy to grapple with. Our brains are our problem-solving tools. They're also where we experience stress, anxiety, depression, addiction and other issues which make it hard to think clearly. The very problems we experience can interfere with our ability to solve them.

When anxiety, depression, addiction or other troubles take over our lives, we need all our skills and focus to deal with them successfully. It’s common to forget that close link between body and brain. One of the most important first steps to take is self-care. Over and over I've found that clients forget to look after their body and brain. The brain requires certain things to function at its best: adequate nutrition, sleep and exercise.

Without enough nutrition and sleep, we tend to lose our energy and motivation. It’s harder to focus, and easier to become confused and overwhelmed. We’re more likely to be irritable and impatient, and less likely to appreciate those around us. Impulsive behaviour increases, because it’s harder to think clearly. We may not perform tasks as well, and then feel frustrated and worried about our competence.

I've seen clients go from confusion and frustration to determined problem-solving creativity, just through minor changes to their food intake or sleep habits. Here are some suggestions:

  • If your appetite is low, try eating small amounts frequently. Keep healthy, easy-to-eat items around the house. Don’t skip meals, or allow yourself to go more than a few hours without eating something. Set reminders if necessary. Plan ahead to ensure there’s food in the house or in your bag.

  • If you have trouble sleeping, check out sleep hygiene advice. Make it a priority to catch up on sleep you've lost.

  • Add some kind of exercise to your routine. Even a daily walk is beneficial. Your body's health affects your brain.

Your brain is your best tool. Keep it sharp! You may be surprised at the difference a little self-care can make. It may be just the edge you need to start to take control and move forward.