By Philip Watkins, Naturopath
1. Keep it simple
If you’re already on a journey to fix a problem, whether it’s weight, energy, brain fog or simply not feeling right, pick the easiest thing you think might help and do this today. Sometimes, it could even be the act of not doing something that’s the first step.
2. Ask for help
But what if you don’t know the first step? Then, it’s time to contact that person you’re following on social media or get a recommendation from someone you know to book that first appointment and ask for help.
It can be daunting to do this, but go in with the mindset that it doesn’t have to go past the first appointment if you don’t want it to. At least you tried.
Cortisol is a hormone released in the body when your environment asks you to take action on something. It’s often associated with stress and helps us react and respond to anything challenging during the day.
However, did you know that the body releases the same amount of cortisol when you are lonely as when you are punched in the face?
Post-pandemic, many men have expressed difficulty getting things back to normal when it comes to being social. If this is you, maybe it’s time to make a phone call and carve out some time to catch up with someone?
4. Talk to a counsellor
Not sure who to call? If you feel you have something to say but don’t know if members of your network would understand or be able to help, it’s time to seek out a trustworthy counsellor.
This process can take time, so if the first person you try isn’t the right fit, try someone new. Not one of my patients has ever come back and reported that lightening the load of their thoughts with the help of a trained professional worked out poorly.
5. Get a blood test
I say this to men any chance I get. Get a blood test. A common feature of many cases I’ve seen post-pandemic is the suspension of people’s annual checkups after lockdown.
If you got your tests done at least annually before the pandemic, get the pattern started again by committing to getting your blood drawn by the end of the year. An annual blood test and checkup can stop you from dying early.
6. Think prevention, not intervention
With that said, It’s better to prevent something than to cope once it’s already arrived. A key example I see with men – fatty liver.
Most don’t know that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the origin story of cardiovascular disease and could be the reason why your blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar is high.
Getting a scan of your liver may save you decades of trouble down the line, especially if your healthcare practitioner has told you that you have mild fatty liver in the past.
7. Get moving
If time is hard to come by and exercise has fallen off your to-do list, go for a walk around the block.
Brisk walking may increase your life expectancy into the 80s but, more importantly, might just be the answer to your mental health challenges.
One study confirms exercise to be more effective than medication in some cases – though this is not an invitation to quit your medication, rather an invitation to start walking around the block? 
One of my favourite quotes is, “If you can’t find 10 minutes to meditate, then you probably need 3 hours.”
A study via the Harvard Medical Department found that 12 minutes of meditation over eight weeks was enough to reduce activity in the amygdala, the area of the brain that primes you for stress, by up to two-thirds. 
9. Limit your alcohol consumption
Try to cut out alcohol for 14 days and see how you feel.
Just maybe you’ll see that your sleep problem fixes itself all on its own?
In the last two years, a significant researcher concluded his study on alcohol, stating that “suggesting health benefits from low to moderate alcohol consumption is the biggest myth since we were told smoking was good for us.” Ouch. 
10. Check in on someone you love for no reason; I’m just going to leave that there.
1 Belfort-DeAguiar R, Lomonaco R, Cusi K. Approach to the Patient With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, 2023
3 A Powell, When science meets mindfulness, 2018
4 Schutte R, Smith L, Wannamethee G. Alcohol – The myth of cardiovascular protection, 2022
飲酒帶來不同的健康風險。嘗試戒酒 14 天，看看您的感覺如何，也許您的睡眠問題會自行解決。