Burnout

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I'm in constant pain, have very little family support and until recently was dirt poor.

I was definitely depressed, but I can only see it now in retrospect.

What changed? Some old friends invited me out for dinner and beer. That's it. Was as simple as that. Led to me going home thinking "what the f.. you been doing Bernard, snap out of it!". Then I began posting here. CC is right about that. We NEED that social interaction, particularly those of us who actually can go without for longer than most.

Second, fresh air, sun, water, that's also a need and very healing. I like to go fishing, it's very terapeutic. Just sit and look over the water and feel the elements. Very primal, goes right into that hunter-gatherer brain. Could be something else. Not a fan of running and such, but long walks are nice too.

Third, existential angst, which I found to go with depression, comes with not living according to your values. If you consistently do stuff which you don't like to do or feel shameful about doing, then stop doing it. Stop smoking or whatever. Stop being passive agressive. Stop self sabotiaging. I found that I needed to say "NO" a lot more. Just say no, to people. Do things you actually want to do. Be at ease with yourself.

Lastly, money troubles is BY FAR, the biggest driver of stress. I don't know when it became cool to be destitute, maybe to make people forget their declining purchasing power. Well, to me, having no money, and thus no ability to act, is a HUGE stress factor. Save up enough money to be able to "flee" to a hotel if shit hits the fan for some reason. Never be in a position where you're at the mercy of strangers.

Recap:

1) Connect with friends and strangers
2) Go outside and feel the elements
3) Start living according to your values
4) Solve money troubles and have a nest egg
 

DD1

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What @CCarter mentioned before about his depression is similar to my experience. There was a time in my life where my then-GF and I lived together and I felt miserable, binge-watching too much YT. I felt suffocated because I had nulled my personality while I lived in that country.

Just to expand on what he said and apply it to my own situation, last year I was lost. As I now know and understand, I had no balance in life.

Here's a personal anecdote: 25 years ago, young-me practiced kung fu. My sifu has recently started an YT channel. In one of his videos, he has mentioned three concepts about past, present, and future:
  • Too much past brings depression,
  • Too much present brings stress, and
  • Too much future brings anxiety.
I have made peace with my past - I can't change it. Beating myself up won't help things, but I certainly can extract lessons from it.

One challenge that helped me stop the inner dialogue of constant negative self-talk was my decision to stop complaining - about life, politics, the news, and most of all, about other people and myself.

The amount of energy and time I have released was unbelievable. I became more creative, relaxed, productive, fulfilled. I still have many issues in my life, mostly money-related, but that's a matter of finding the right opportunity and working smart to make it happen. I'm not (too much) concerned with it.

My present currently presents me with a great deal of stress. I have some debt (around € 290 k) which causes most of my current hair loss (LOL) but these are money issues, and they can only be solved with money. So stressing over them will not solve them, and this is how I deal with it on a daily basis.

I am also thankful for all the things I have right now, which helps be balance my stress. I am in damn good health, and working towards being in shape. I'm also thankful for my life experiences - I speak 4 languages and understand a 5th, I have a master's degree, I have studied in 4 countries and lived in 8. I have a few good friends and a big family.

My biggest challenge is my future. My expectations for solving the money issues (that I am mentioning for the 3rd time already) bring me a lot of anxiety because I keep making plans and projects, and time can't pass fast enough until all the stars are properly aligned and I finally set myself free.

I have always day-dreamed. I have a highly developed inner-dialogue. (This is also why I have had problems dealing with my past in the past, and why I have released energy in the last year or so.) I quite saw myself in what @TacoGuy said about talking too much and doing nothing.

Channeling my inner-dialogue into productive creativity has been the biggest challenge of my life, as well as my current priority. I am getting more focused, I am setting goals, and I have been working as hard as I can while juggling the daily life as well.

--

My father passed away last October. After a couple of months of working many hours a day, my mother has invited me to join her in her daily morning walks. At first we'd walk 30 minutes, now we are walking 45. Not only we get to breathe fresh air, we also get some sun (and produce some vit D too - no supplement needed).

It's been great.

First of all, it's helped both of us to deal with and overcome our grief, our anger/frustration (my father passed away ONE DAY before he'd be admitted to the hospital for his CLL treatment), everything.

I mention my mother because I am living a very "family" moment in my life - involving mother, grandparents, and a large extended family. It's been rewarding, inspiring, uplifting, many things.

HOWEVER

I also agree with @CCarter that you can't rely on walking sticks such as supplements, stimulants, depressants, exercise routines, women. Just as much as you can't outsource your treatment to someone else.

I mean, you probably could, but would you be really overcoming your underlying issues?

What helped me was to think about the root causes of everything. I reflected upon (and still think about) all the things I mentioned in this post. I also talk about all these things with my mother in our daily walks.

From what I read about them, shrooms can help with all that. I most certainly believe that professional help can help as well. But expecting that you will find a magic pill is just putting an artificial obstacle for your own cure.

There are things that you can do, and things you must do. But the solution already lies within yourself. You still gotta do the bulk of the work yourself. Or, as a former colleague of my old man used to say, "you gotta dig through the bad shit in order to find the good shit."

I hope some of what I said helps you as it's helped me. Cheers,
 
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Do you guys see the resemblance that we all have in this thread?

I've been through every single one of these issues mentioned, and have been working on self experimentation for the past two years to improve quality of life.

The one thing we all have in common, is leading excessive indoor blue lit lives. These glorious internet businesses that give us the freedom we've always wanted, are also the curse of poor health from what I've found so far.

From staring at screens that eventually warp brain perception, sitting 12 hours a day - poor posture/blood flow for hours on end, to the lack of melatonin production that totally fucks up your circadian rhythm, it's not the best combo.

I don't have any quick tidbits to add without typing an entire novel of ideas on this, but if you've never experimented with building an outdoor office with a treadmill desk, it might really help you.

Sounds stupid, but combining natural light during screen time with movement, reduces these issues over time. (windows block portions of UV wavelengths)
 

jstover77

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Oh shit.. glad you recovered. Already got blood / test checked so that is not the problem. You mentioned CBD pills, how much mg of CBD did you take per day?
I take a 20 mg softgell per day. I took it for about 5 months, then stopped for a couple months and could totally tell the difference. It's just part of my daily vitamin regimen at this point. It's a bit pricey at around $1 per pill, but the supplier is in the US, test their products in-house for quality control, USDA certified organic, and has nothing but good reviews online. If you know anything about the CDB industry, there's a ton of fake shit out there. The website is sunsoil.com.
 

Syrinj

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How can you be lite as a feather by adding more shit into the equation?
Gonna take a shot in the dark here. I relate to @psyvortex 100%. I have dealt with your exact situation to the T. Depression, anxiety, etc. I've tried Rxs, VitD3, Mag Glycinate, Zinc Gluconate, NAC. All but the Rxs have been helpful. Taking care of my circadian rhythm has been the biggest ROI along with the below:

Focus on this above quote from @CCarter. Everyone has mentioned supplements. Here's one thing overlooked by most in every circle: your diet. Studies are emerging that suggest that depression is a symptom of lifestyle factors (e.g. blue light circadian interruption AKA being inside with phones and flourescents and computer screens for long periods; the "Standard American Diet"; sedentary activity). These studies are saying that depression is actually inflammation. What foods are you eating? Even deeper (but more important), what oils do you cook with (and for any foods you don't cook yourself, what oils are they cooked in)?

What I'm getting at is this: drop any and all seed oils. These include:
If any of the above are listed on a list of ingredients, throw that shit in the trash. Why? They are more-or-less pure omega-6 fats. You mentioned fish oil supps, but if you're ingesting stuff made/cooked with these oils, then fish oil supps will never catch up enough to bring your omega3 : omega6 ratios back into balance.

If you're burning yourself out as much as you say you are, then it may also be likely that the majority of your food isn't cooked yourself (trust me, I know how busy things can get focusing on self-education, training, work, roommates, sleep disruption, etc.) because you simply don't have time to prepare homecooked meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (yes, even if you meal prep). Consider reallocating some time for meal prep, or invest in a pressure cooker for more efficiency to mitigate this time crunch.

Problem is that seed oils are widespread in everything NOT cooked at home (yes, even Whole Foods hot bar and nearly every non-Michelin-rated restaurant you eat it) because they are the most economical means of producing food fast with long shelf life in any setting (fast food, diners, even "fine dining," etc), and they are touted as healthy because the fats aren't saturated (we're not here to debate). Point is (I'll say it twice): they are nearly pure omega-6 and by ingesting them, you are firing up inflammation in your body, and no amount of exercise/sleep/supplements will balance it as long as you do this. The ratios are just too great (you're dealing with manufactured oils, here, not stuff occurring in nature).

If you insist on sticking to unsaturated fats/oils recommend:
  • coconut
  • olive (careful, look up olive oil industry practices on spiking with seed oils; good practice is to see if they list exactly what olive species they use)
  • avocado
Otherwise, butter/ghee/beef tallow/duck fat/other animal fats etc should be fine if you're not concerned about saturated fats/cholesterol.

Making this switch was a GAMECHANGER.

Finally, if you're looking for a specific brand of fish oil supps (also huge ROI), DM me since I don't know if I'm allowed to do that in a thread. Reason I mention this is that there are studies showing 3-4g of EPA/DHA (yes GRAMS, not milligrams) have profound positive effects on depression, and this has been my experience since I've started ordering "pharma grade" from Norway (it's more expensive anything you'll find on physical store shelves in US, but worth it IMO). Also, eat more wild fish.

Just my two cents.
 

Wills

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First I gotta say my perspectives here are not R.E. debilitating clinical depression, but more around getting yourself out of a funk/existential crisis/sustained shitty period in your life.

@CCarter is right about simplification and spending face to face time with good people. I'm looking back to when I was consistently happiest and it was before I started working as a freelancer/agency from my house. I'd just had my daughter, we were living in a small apartment with very little stuff in Santiago, Chile, I was making under $1000 per month at a so-so job with lots of great coworkers. I biked to work half the time, worked out before work or at lunch most days, talked to fun people, left work at work, and enjoyed time with my family.

I've since made much more money, have more stuff, still exercise but no bike commute, am more isolated during the day due to mostly working from home, have work/home life mix into each other all the time and haven't felt consistently as good as I did back then. I have some work to do here.

That being said, I have my own perspective and experience with some other things people have mentioned in this thread.

As @eliquid mentioned, self-talk is critical. I don't have it all figured out when it comes to my self talk about my ability to run my business and make money, but I've made huge gains when it comes to physical pain.

I had constant, chronic lower back pain for 12 years (ages 18-30), including frequent spasms and constant lower level pain, a hospital visit when I tweaked my back and literally couldn't move my legs for over an hour (at age 21), and an MRI and visit with a surgeon who told me I had no fluid in my lower discs and my lower back looked like that of a 50 year old (at age 19 or 20). The surgeon also told me to stay away from surgery as it rarely ended the pain people felt.

After over a decade, trying lots of different physical methodologies, supplements, braces, etc, with always temporary improvement and relapse, I happened across a book called Healing Back Pain by John Sarno. I read it and 2 books by his patients (all at the same time), and within 2 weeks my chronic lower back pain was gone. 4+ years later, I've had a few short relapses that lasted a couple of days until I remembered to get my shit together, but no more chronic pain.

What changed? Primarily my beliefs and self talk. I realized that with every spasm and bout of pain, I would say things like "why is this happening to me?," "if things are this bad now, how are they going to be when I'm 40?," "how am I going to play with my kids when I can't even bend over?" "I'm like an old man," and on and on. I also had been taking ownership of the pain mentally, like it was my pain. I changed all of this while I read these books.

I was ready for this shift because I had tried so many things and seen them fail. I knew there was something I was missing about this pain. When I found Sarno, I adopted the beliefs 100%, changed my self talk, decided there was no reason I should be in pain, did exercises he recommended to help, and almost like magic, the pain disappeared.

I now need to apply this to the business/financial side of my life. I just finished reading a book called The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod. I highly recommend it to you where you're at, as it gives an actionable framework for daily progress towards making anything you want to happen in your life a reality.

His equation is simple. Unwavering Faith + Extraordinary Effort = Miracles.

By Unwavering Faith he means faith in yourself, every day, no matter your results or how you feel that given day.

By Extraordinary Effort he means consistently putting in the effort on the things that matter to get what you want, regardless of your results or how you feel any given day. He doesn't mean grinding or putting in long hours or not sleeping. Just prioritizing the process you need to take to get to your most important goal, and making sure you put in the work every day.

By Miracles he means making big shit happen in your life that you want to have happen.

He has a mantra to repeat, as often as necessary, once you've decided on the "miracle" (most important goal) you're looking to work towards. “I am committed to maintaining unwavering faith that I will <<insert goal here>>, and I will continue putting forward extraordinary effort until I do, no matter what. There is no other option.” He comments that you don't even need to believe it's probable, only that it's possible.

I realized in reading this book that a missing piece for me, and why I think I've been on a bit of a rollercoaster of income and productivity in the last few years, is a lack of faith in myself. I'm just starting with this process but I think it's great. He also has workbook and summary PDF downloads at a specific URL I forgot and can't find (I have the audiobook) and are blocked via robots.txt. If you want to check those out, send me a PM with your email and I'll email them. There is a lot more to the book though so I definitely recommend getting it.
 
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While there have been many amazing responses so far, I still have a ton of things to share that haven't been mentioned yet.

I'm not a doctor or anything like that. I just also had a burnout in 2015 and have been trying different things since then, read hundreds of studies, spent literally thousands on supplements and what not and have ultimately been successful.

What I'm sharing here are just my opinions based on studies and anecdotal evidence (my own and that of others).

I'll mostly link out to SelfHacked as reference. Not because I think it's that much of a great resource (I don't really like the "throw as many benefits as possible into one article approach"), but because they basically sort each benefit (or possible benefit) by how reliable the studies on it are. Their conclusion at the bottom is also usually very objective. Overall these articles make a decent overview and starting point for further research.

For specific supplements, I'll mostly link out to Mind Nutrition. They always do a third party CoA (certificate of analysis) for every batch and are very transparent regarding their prices. They aren't cheap. But what you pay goes mostly towards product quality, not company profits. Needless to say, I'm not affiliated with them - just a fan.

Dosage recommendations are just rough estimations. They vary depending on your DNA, diet and where you live.

Alright, let's get started.

I'll group this into three sub topics (supplements, mental, physical), which of course are all closely connected anyway and it makes sense to follow all of them. If you neglect one, everything else you do will likely not work as well.

Supplements
There are actually two different groups here. One being the "basics" just to make sure you don't have any obvious deficiencies that could impact you physically and mentally. I'll start with these:
  • A high-quality multi vitamin. There are a lot of shitty products out there. Most OTC ones are. I highly recommend this one following the recommended dosage. This is going to resolve a lot of issues for a lot of people already if their diet isn't well-balanced.
  • Magnesium. Make sure you use glycinate, which has good absorption rates which many other types of magnesium don't have. You can get it here, but in this case, any other brand will do as well as long as it's the right type of magnesium. Take enough to get about 400mg of active magnesium per day. This can be upped to 600mg. If your kidneys are fine, it's no problem to try. As soon as you get diarrhea, you know you're at your upper limit. Split into doses of 200mg max. If you take more at once, it can't all be absorbed and you won't get anything out of the additional mg you took.
  • Vitamin D3 + K2. Most people have a D3 deficit, especially in our line of work. Many of you already seem to take it, but I didn't see anyone mentioning K2. If you take D3 without K2, your blood calcium levels are going to rise, which is going to cause all sorts of new issues in the long run. So never do that. Take about 100µg K2 for every 3,000 IU D3. Depending on how much sunlight you get onto your skin, it makes sense to take 5,000 - 8,000 IU D3 per day. Yes, you read that right. The usually recommended dosages (and D3 blood levels your doctor checks for) are way too low. This is a good supplement that contains both D3 and K2, although it is a bit low on K2. If you eat lots of greens (they contain K2), you could make up for it.
  • Omega 3 (DHA/EPA). I don't think I have to tell you much about this considering how popular it is. DHA and EPA are extremely important for nerve and brain function, your immune system, etc. Most people get way too much Omega 6 which causes inflammation and all sorts of other issues and too little Omega 3 to balance it out. Take one of each of these in the morning and in the evening (so 4 capsules total per day).
Alright, that's just the foundational supplements. Now let's move on to the ones that can fix your burnout, depression, and anxiety. I recommend that you try each supplement on its own for 4-7 days each, so you know how you react to each and can easily narrow it down and adjust the dosage if one doesn't work well for you or something.
  • NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine). In the short term, this can protect your liver extremely well. If you take it a 1-2 hours before you drink alcohol, you'll have much less of a hangover if any and you can avoid liver damage. Not that you should abuse this. Just to showcase how well it can protect your organs from damage. That includes your brain. In case you got any heavy metals etc in your body, it will basically protect you from them. It also increases focus and helps with mood disorders/depression (takes 4-5 months though). Take 600mg in the morning and 600mg in the evening. You can get it from here. It tastes awful though, so you might be better off getting it from elsewhere in capsules.
  • Lion's Mane (Hericium Erinaceus). This is a super powerful mushroom with a long history in TCM. This actually promotes the nerve growth factor and nerve regeneration. This means it can basically heal your brain and nerve system. It also helps with depression and anxiety, boosts your immune system and does a ton of other amazing things. This is a great extract to buy. Take 500-1,000mg per day. You can try upping it to 1,500mg for the first month or two. However, it can cause some head pressure or even headache especially in the beginning, so I recommend to start with 500mg for the first couple of days and work your way up from there. Lion's Mane takes 4-6 weeks to really show its effects.
  • Saffron. You wouldn't expect a spice to be that powerful. But believe it or not, if you take a decent extract for 6-8 weeks, it has stronger anti depressant and anti anxiety effects than Prozac and comes with many more potential benefits. I recommend using the standardized "affron" extract and following the recommended dosage. You can get it from here.
Psychological
  • Use the pomodoro timer technique as often as you can when you work. This is to prevent your burnout from breaking out again, which can easily happen when you start to feel fine again. There are many apps for this. I just use KanbanFlow for project management which has a built-in pomodoro timer, but there are tons of free apps, browser addons, etc.
  • "Socialize". While this has already been mentioned, I think the point of this can easily be misunderstood. It's not about going out for drinks. It's not about surrounding yourself with as many people as you can. All of that can be very pointless. It's about making and maintaining real connections that make you feel accepted for who you are and safe. So don't just participate in "socializing" with people and think that's it. It's not. You can be in a room full of people and still be the loneliest person in the world. Find the right people to socialize with and build individual connections instead of just being part of the group.
  • Meditate. It's not hard and it doesn't matter too much which technique exactly you go for as long as you do it. Headspace is a decent app though, although you don't really need one. But it can help keep doing it. 20mins in the morning after waking up instead of checking your emails. Then 20mins again in the afternoon. This would be the ideal scenario.
  • Spend time in nature. Spend time in nature instead of watching TV. Leave your phone at home and go for a walk in the woods or something. Can be combined with meditation.
Physical
  • Ketosis. This is probably the "hack" that had the most profound impact on my quality of life that I wasn't able to achieve with any supplement or other method. What's just being hyped as a weight-loss diet has incredible benefits on your body and mind. Go into full ketosis. You'll feel like crap for the first few days for sure. Things will start to get good after 3-4 weeks. This topic is too broad to explain here, but luckily after reading dozens of studies myself, I found this YouTube channel and the guy really knows what he's talking about and saved me a lot of time I would have otherwise spent on meta analysis of the studies. Watch this video to get an idea. If you prefer reading, Diet Doctor is a good resource. Make sure to track your macros at least in the beginning using something like Cronometer and do something like 80% fat, 15% protein, and 5% net carbs. And no, it's not an issue to bulk up in ketosis. Make sure to get a blood ketone and blood glucose testing device to measure your GKI. It should be 3 or less.
  • HIIT. Weight lifting is good, but not enough. Getting your heart rate up for at least 30mins three times per week has profound benefits on your brain health. It doesn't matter how you do that. You could run on the spot in your room or do jumping jacks or go for a bicycle ride or a run. If you combine that with HIIT, you'll get huge cardiovascular benefits as well and there's no reason not to.
  • Get a standing desk. I used to sit all day during work. I had back pain, felt tired all day, etc. Nowadays I only work standing. It took a few months to get used to, but I just have more energy and feel much better overall. Every time I sit for a day, I'm being reminded of how much of a difference standing makes. Not that it's ideal to stand still all day. Ideally, you'd want to move. But at least for me, it's still so much better than sitting.
  • Improve your sleep. This one is extremely important. First, track your sleep with something like Sleep as Android (I use their Sleep Phaser). Try a different pillow and/or mattress and measure how that affects your sleep. Make sure your bedroom is as dark and quiet as possible (unplug everything that has standby LEDs etc). Don't consume any caffeine later than 10 hours before you go to bed (yes, 10 hours). Avoid blue light as much as you possibly can. Use a monitor that has blue light filtering (or use software) and use that mode all the time. Turn it on on your phone as well ("night mode") at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed. Ideally, avoid any and all screens 2 hours before you go to bed. Instead, print out articles you want to read or read a book, listen to an audiobook, etc. Keep tracking your deep sleep and try to get as much of it as possible. You can try supplements like this or this as well. They work for many people, but personally, I just get weird dreams from L-Tryptophan (or 5-HTP for that matter) and feel less rested. It seems like I'm an exception in that regard though.
That's it. Your roadmap to a significantly improved quality of life & how to get rid of fatigue, depression, anxiety and all sorts of chronic health issues (and prevent future ones). Good luck y'all.
 
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Wills

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Some great stuff in there @infinitnet, thanks.

Just wanted to add one more thing on the topic of simplification. At face value you might think simplification is doing fewer things, having fewer variables at play and stuff in your life, and in some ways it is. But there is another, equally powerful form of simplification: structure.

By structure I mean the habits and guidelines/rules you set for yourself, the schedule that you adhere to, etc.

I've had periods in working for myself when I had very little set structure. I woke up at different times on different days, worked out some days, worked different hours of the day, ate at different hours of the day, etc. These were usually the times where I got the least done and felt the worst.

Right now I have a lot more structure in my life; all structure I created for myself. I wake up at the same time every day of the week, and don't sleep in much if at all on the weekends, unless I'm really tired. I work out every morning. I walk outside at lunch. I'm winding down at a consistent time every night. Right now I'm eating no sugar and drinking no alcohol. I'm adding more structure from here, but so far the schedule changes, personal rules and habits have been a great change and simplified my decision-making and how I use my time.

The danger I think, and what @CCarter was partially alluding to, is adding lots of new things to your life at once, then burning out and stopping everything, ending back where you started, but worse because you beat yourself up for having failed. So it's important to know yourself, be honest (rather than optimistic) about how much you can add to your life at once and actually stick to long enough for it to become a habit, so that you can then add more positive things if you want to.

I've heard people talk (in interviews) about their time in prison as positive because of the structure it gave to their time and their lives. Of course this is an extreme and these people probably had very unstructured lives in the first placed, that helped land them in prison. I've heard people say the same about being in military.

Particularly for those of us who don't commute to an office every day, we need to self-impose this structure. The cool thing is you get to design it yourself, so you can make a much better one than you'd get if yours was determined by your job (or prison/the military for that matter).

Once you build the structure you make fewer decisions about what you should be doing when, because that's a given. You make fewer decisions about what you'll eat and won't eat, when you'll sleep, work, etc. Ideally all of the important, recurring things in your life have structure to them. Behind/within the structure is simplicity due to decreased decisionmaking, and the freedom and energy to be present and engaged in what you're doing.
 
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@Wills you're totally right. When I look back, I actually did start to incorporate structure before I gradually worked my way towards all that I mentioned earlier. The first one being setting the alarm at the same time every morning 7 days a week and going to bed the same hour every day +/- 30mins. That's part of the "improve your sleep part" and the reason I started doing it. So while I totally agree that without structure starting everything I mentioned above at once might be too much and could end in a "relapse", I also believe that you'll need new routines to actually have something you can structure. Sleep schedule is definitely a great starting point though, as well as meal times. Just something you already do anyway. Then slowly add more routines.