Self Care for When We Have Too Many Tabs Open in Our Brains

Now that I have my permanent Irish address, I’ve got an Irish mobile phone (no signal in my rental so I needed to wait to check the network would work wherever I was moving to).

I’ve had it for over a week already and am still in the process of migrating everything over.

Am keeping my UK number as so many of my online clients and supervisees (as well as loved ones) are UK based.

But it feels wonderful to be putting down these additional roots in my new home country.

What I don’t love is how long it’s taking me to figure out each new element.

It’s the same make as my UK model just a bit more modern.

And yet, so many little differences. The other day, I had to go back to the mobile phone shop because when I was ringing my Irish mobile from my UK mobile to check it worked, a random number from my contacts kept popping up. Not the first person listed but someone I hadn’t spoken to in years.

Turned out, I’d inadvertently saved my UK number as a second number for this person and my phone wasn’t possessed at all.

But it’s taking me ages to get it all sorted. I have way too many apps on my home screen so I’ll figure out how to delete and alphabetise the ones I need.

When I feel like I’ve lost all capacity to focus (am between moves and being between phones with so many different ways to communicate and different people having different preferences), I’m reminding myself that anytime we’re learning new things – in this case technological – we’re creating new neural pathways.

When I talk to clients about creating new thought patterns, healthier habits and so on, I often use the analogy of wading through the jungle.

The first time we do something, before the new neural pathways are laid down, it can feel like we need a machete to chop our way through. And the more we tread the same path (do the same thing), the easier that pathway becomes.

The more neuroscientists learn about neuroplasticity, the better we understand why it’s harder but worth creating new habits and that, in time this well worn pathway becomes wired in our brains and habitual. Just because we can rewire our brains, doesn’t mean it’s easy.

My long term vision for the field behind my new house is more trees and wildflowers. Eventually, I want to build a bat house to attract bats and bug hotels and motels.

I’ll create a narrow pathway all the way along to the top but for now, simply enjoy the effort involved in trudging through all that tall grass.

With my phone, am not quite AS slow as I was in terms of finding whichever app I was meaning to open when I picked up the phone before another distracted me.

What made me laugh is that when I went to my new house again, figuring out which keys open which doors, which way to turn them etc, I decided to spend a bit more time there.

No point doing any cleaning or anything with so much building work being done in these next couple of weeks but it was great to do some space clearing meditations and take some crystals to each corner along with some fruit as a little offering to the elementals.

The front lawn was easy. The field at the back was hilarious. The long grass was so high, I was wading through it. The cow I’d seen there earlier and the other day had created a few small pathways (and a lot of cow pats).

I was rewarded with this view of my new house when I got there and I love imagining the future trees that’ll grow here.

In some ways, there’s a familiarity. I’ve always loved nature and the mountain views (while this is my first time having a mountain view from my bedroom and front door).

In others, I’d never lit a fire (apart from as a Girl Scout when we lived in America when I was 10/11) until moving to my rural rental in April.

I’d certainly never had sheep and cows as neighbours. Or cycled country roads (am still leaping off my bike loads when I hear motor vehicles approaching – and I’ll get rear view mirrors to both practice for driving lessons and to give me more awareness when wind stops me hearing the motors as well as to take endless pics of the mountain, trees, wildflowers, Clew Bay, the cows and sheep etc).

Staff at places like the bank (no mobile signal at home means no way to get activation codes when attempting online banking) and the mobile phone shop have been brilliant.

And as the weeks have become months (over 4 months since our 17.5 hour car and ferry ride), I realise that I’ve had so much newness to adapt to, it’s no wonder I’ve felt so discombobulated at times.

When I’ve found things especially challenging, I’ve thought that at least I’m an Irish citizen (this is my first time living in a country with a partial blood link), I speak English and I have my portable practice and freelance journalism

I can only imagine what it’s like for refugees.

And while I’m in no way comparing my decision to move with the even bigger decision so many people take so often regarding bringing new life into the world, it’s made me think about Baby Brain.

So many pregnant women and new mothers refer to their inability to remember what they used to take for granted as Baby Brain as if they’ve somehow lost that sharpness they had. Over the years, I’ve done my best to tell them about neuroscience research that explains that far from becoming stupid (as some seem to believe), they’re creating entire new neural networks in order to learn the essential new skills involved in helping the new life stay alive and thrive.

Baby Brain should be celebrated! (If you’re interested in reading more about this, Louis Cozolino may be of interest, especially The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment and the Developing Social Brain.)

I’m attempting to walk my walk and keep self care a priority. Talking soothingly and kindly to my self (at least most of the time) even when things I used to do so effortlessly feel impossible.

You might be dealing with new parenthood, a move, a new job, a new hobby, a new lifestyle change (I remember two years ago having to learn loads very quickly about being vegan), finding a new lease on life after a relationship or redundancy or in retirement, adapting to a health issue or something else entirely.

Whatever changes you’re making, how might you be kinder to yourself as you navigate all the learning you’re doing?

Maybe you’ve been ill and need to honour all the healing your body’s been managing while you’ve been sleeping and resting?

If you’d like my support in managing life’s transitions, you can find out more about working with me and get in touch if you’d like to arrange a free no obligation telephone consultation.

And, as ever, my emphasis is on self care – you don’t need me or anyone else if you want to simply journal or reflect in whatever way feels good for you.

May whatever changes and transformations you’re creating and living be as joyful as possible.

Big love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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