I really can’t begin to label or quantify the value of good self care. Humans are equipped with amazing capabilities to self regulate…if only we would use them.
A balanced diet helps alleviate mood swings. We (generalizing for Americans) live on a cycle of sugar highs and sugar lows. We eat a low quality breakfast…if we eat any breakfast at all…which floods the brain with chemicals and overwhelms our neuro-functioning; this results in hyperness, motivation, and energy. As a result of this flooding however; our bodies secrete insulin to suck up all the sugar like a vacuum leaving us feeling lethargic and moody. This cycle repeats itself after lunch and dinner as well. Think about it…when do you reach for the candy bar? 10am, 2pm, 9pm…a few hours after each meal! Eating a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats ensures that our food (including a healthy amount of sugar) gets broken down over time and reduces that roller coaster of moodiness.
Exercise. I feel like this is a mute point in some ways. My goal is not to be preachy; it is to motivate you into action. The science behind working out is limitless and boils down to this: if you move your body your mind will feel better. Physical exercise can helps your brain secret endorphins, adrenaline, and dopamine…all of which alleviate depressive symptoms. Consider for a moment the cost of getting those chemicals elsewhere: prescription drugs, theme parks, extramarital affairs… Are those effective or realistic on a regular basis? Exercise also builds mastery. If you become fluent and experienced in a form of movement (yoga, running, lifting weights) it will build your confidence and overall satisfaction in life.
Sleep. Just do it, stop fighting it…put your Smartphone away and close your eyes. Did you know that your brain cannot convert anything into memory until you are asleep? That may explain why you don’t remember the details of yesterday or last week as clearly as you would expect. Our bodies are not machines; on a cellular level your body needs sleep to repair itself. Sleep allows time for the immune system to do its job and ward off viruses and bacterial infections. It also helps you to reduce your overall stress level. So next time you want to watch the next episode on Netflix, play the next level on a game, or return one more e-mail, ask yourself what you need more: your health or 30 more minutes of your activity…