Su WallaceCounselling for Couples, Individuals and Families

Looking after ourselves

Many people considering counselling are facing many challenges in life, feeling stressed, overwhelmed, under-slept, anxious, and generally depleted.
It takes about three weeks for the brain to recognise a new habit is the way you want life to be, so small steps to change can pay off in a short space of time.
The activities here are general self help for any stressful situations.
If you have any medical concerns please consult your healthcare provider first, or if you feel faint, dizzy or ill undertaking anything on this page.

Breathe Take a moment to focus on your breathing. It's common to hold our breath or begin to take shorter, faster breaths when stressed.
Try this: sit or stand comfortably, with an open stance so that your chest area is not compressed or bent over. Breathe in for a count of three, hold this momentarily, just a second, breathe out for four counts. Repeat ten times or three or four minutes.
The extra count on the out-breath helps to fully empty stale air from the lungs.
Use this every day, a quiet few moments to settle your body and relax your mind. You may build up to four in/five out breaths if you like this exercise - test and rest, don't overpush yourself. Deep breathing increases clarity and attention and lets you get back to your day feeling more centred.

Move If you are seated for a long time at work or home, take a short walk once an hour if you can, a change of scene, a break, a chance for your body to waken up. 250 steps an hour should do it, Fitbit users might recognise this.

Eat You wouldn't expect your car to run without fuel, often we do expect our bodies to run without fuel though. You might need to prepare food to take to work with you, allow yourself a work break, pull your car over to a layby to pause for ten minutes, whatever is needed to find a space. Or maybe use your 250 steps to nip to the shop for a healthy snack. Aim to have a balanced meal or snack, focussing on a balance of proteins and fats with controlled carbs, as these can make you feel sluggish.

Sleep if you currently have less sleep time than you need, please don't suddenly try to sleep for eight solid hours, its likely to be unsuccessful. Instead, aim for a consistent bedtime and consistent getting up time, its shown to be healthier. If you stay up late, aim to bring your bedtime earlier by ten minutes a week until you are going to bed an hour earlier than you used to do. Re-evaluate at this point, repeat if needed.
Keep your bedroom dark, and with ventilation if possible without bringing too much noise into the room. Keep your blankets or duvet at a level where you are warm enough without feeling sweaty or chilly. If you are staying up too late due to worry or anxiety, or to avoid a relationship difficulty, come and see me!

Socialise Human brains are wired for connection to others. Seeing friends, engaging in hobbies, chatting to loved ones, are all good ways to connect. Try and find some new ways, especially if you find yourself absorbed in social media or gaming a lot. If you are in a relationship, talk time to have connection, conversation, touch, laughter, as often as you both need.

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