By NANCY STEPHANI
Focus: It can be so difficult!
You have a big project and are just stuck. You can’t seem to start or gain any traction. You are trying to study but just want to take a nap. Don’t worry. Hitting a wall happens to us all.
Many of us head for the caffeine, energy drinks or even nicotine. Sugar-filled treats will only provide a short-term energy boost, after which we will have even less. Getting enough sleep and eating the right nutrients are ways to assist our minds and bodies in completing the tasks at hand. High-quality protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fiber all help our brain to stabilize and focus. High-protein snacks like nuts are the right thing to reach for when experiencing writer’s block or tackling a major project.
Break the task down into doable pieces while taking a break in between each part. Schedule the work at the time of day you do your best work. For many of us, that is first thing in the morning.
Take 10 minutes to picture yourself after completing the task. How will you feel? What will you do to celebrate?
Then, grab a healthy snack or two and get to it.
Consider having some edamame, a high-fiber and high-protein snack that can be seasoned with different flavors or simply roasted and enjoyed. Dip apples into almond or peanut butter. Have a fruit smoothie with some protein powder added. Don’t forget the old standbys of carrots and celery. Grab a handful of nuts. Good dark chocolate has lots of health and focus benefits. Pumpkin seeds make a good snack. If you are hungry and it is time for a meal, consider having eggs for lunch or dinner. They contain all nine essential amino acids that the body can’t create on its own and are full of protein and vitamins.
Don’t forget to take exercise breaks to wake up the body and the brain. Keep moving: Five hours of sitting is as bad for our bodies as smoking one pack per day of cigarettes! Remember that research shows our brains work best when they get regular cardio — an hour a day is the recommended amount.
If you are doing all of this and are still having a difficult time, consider a medical evaluation and/or seeing a therapist. Attention deficit disorder is common even in adults and can be treated through therapy, behavioral modifications and medication, or a combination of two or three of these.
The bottom line is the best way to get your best work done is to follow your mother’s advice: Get enough sleep, eat right, work hard, and reward yourself. Life is too short not to enjoy it, and we find joy and fulfillment in doing our best work.
Stephani, coordinator of emergency services at Century Health, is a licensed independent social worker supervisor. She is on professional staff at Ohio State University at Lima. If you have a mental health question, please write to: Mental Health Moment, The Courier, P.O. Box 609, Findlay 45839.