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Finding Balance: A Journey to a SANER Life

In this crazy world, where hustle and productivity often take precedence over wellbeing and self-care, it's essential to remember that we all carry our own battles, some of which remain unseen.

As someone who understands the intricate dance of mental health struggles, I want to share a path that has helped me in the toughest of times: the SANER approach. In this blog, I'll break down this acronym, which stands for Sleep, Attitude, Nutrition, Exercise, and Relationships, to help you find your way to a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Sleep - The Foundation of Wellness

Let's start with "S" for Sleep. If you've ever spent a restless night (or nights!) tossing and turning, you know the toll it can take on your mental well-being. Sleep is the foundation upon which everything else rests. When we lack sleep, our emotions are more volatile, our thoughts become muddled, and our capacity to handle life's challenges diminishes.

So, how can we cultivate better sleep habits? Begin by creating a calming bedtime routine. Wind down with a bath or shower, spend time with a good book, or some soothing music. Limit screen time before bed, as the blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. And remember, consistency is key. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Yes, even on weekends. However, it's also important to balance this consistency with flexibility. Worrying about not sleeping is a recipe for keeping you awake.

Attitude and Mindset - Embracing ACT and DBT Wisdom

"A" stands for Attitude and Mindset, and here we delve into the realms of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). These modalities encourage us to make peace with our emotions and thoughts rather than fighting against them.

ACT teaches us to accept our thoughts and feelings without judgment. It's about recognizing that negative emotions are a part of life, but they don't define us. In DBT, we learn to regulate our emotions and practice mindfulness, grounding us in the present moment.

By applying these principles, we can develop a more compassionate attitude towards ourselves. When we stop struggling with our thoughts and feelings, we create space for growth and positive change.

Nutrition - Nourishing the Body and Mind

"N" is for Nutrition, and it's not just about what we eat but also how we eat. Our bodies and minds are closely interconnected, and what we consume can significantly impact our mental health.

Start by focusing on balanced meals that include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Hydration is equally crucial; dehydration can affect mood and cognitive function. Remember to drink enough water throughout the day.

Mindful eating, a practice from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), can help you savor each bite and reconnect with your body's hunger and fullness cues. When we nourish our bodies with the right foods and approach eating with mindfulness, we lay the groundwork for emotional well-being.

Exercise - Energize Your Mind

"E" stands for Exercise, and it's not just about physical fitness; it's about giving your mind a boost too. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by releasing endorphins, your body's natural mood lifters.

Find an activity you genuinely enjoy, whether it's dancing, hiking, or simply taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood saying hello to the flower and trees along the way. The key is to make it a part of your routine. Start small. You can always aim for more when you're ready.

Relationships - Building a Supportive Community

Finally, we come to "R" for Relationships. Humans are inherently social beings, and the connections we forge with others play a pivotal role in our mental well-being. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community can be a lifeline during difficult times.

Nurture existing relationships and seek out new ones that align with your values and goals. Join clubs, attend social gatherings, or engage in group activities related to your interests. Remember that it's okay to lean on friends and family when you need support, and don't hesitate to reach out for professional help when necessary.

The SANER approach reminds us that achieving mental well-being is an ongoing journey, and it's perfectly okay to seek help and support along the way. By focusing on Sleep, Attitude and Mindset, Nutrition, Exercise, and Relationships, we can build a foundation for a happier, healthier, and more balanced life.

Remember, you are not alone in your struggles. As much as you can, hold some hope for brighter days ahead . For me, the SANER approach gives me somewhere to anchor myself when I am feeling lost and overwhelmed. When I recognize I need to come back to basics. It's returning to the fundamentals of caring for myself. Embrace the SANER approach, and may it guide you toward a life filled with compassion, self-care, and well-being.

Is there anything you would you add to this list? I'd love to know! Email me to share your ideas.


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