31st May 2019
While it is generally accepted that taking time to care for yourself is a good thing, in practice, self-care is often viewed as an unnecessary luxury. However, not only is self-care critical for maintaining good physical health, stable mental health, and efficient and effective performance both at work and at home, it helps keep people in recovery on track by helping them replace unhealthy habits with positive, confidence-boosting activities.
The key to a good self-care routine is to pay particular attention to the little things, like stress reduction and sleep. Here are some ways you can adapt your routine to allow for brief moments of self-care throughout your day, as well as strategies to help lessen the amount of stress you face on a daily basis. It’s easier than you think.
The Link Between Sleep and Health
Sleep is one of the most powerful means of taking care of yourself, but very few people actually get enough sleep. While the exact amount of sleep each person requires varies, most adults need between seven and eight hours of solid, high-quality sleep to feel rested the next day. A well-rested person is more alert, with a greater ability to process information and data, as well as more efficient memory recall. People who get enough sleep often find themselves being more productive and effective at work, accomplishing tasks at a higher level in less time than it would have taken them to do an average job on a less adequate amount of sleep.
Conversely, going without sleep inhibits information processing, memory recall, efficiency, and effectiveness. It can also have a number of adverse health effects, as well. Without the time to properly heal from the day’s wear, your body can become weighed down, making it more likely that you will catch a cold. A lack of sleep can cause headaches, irritability, anxiety, and even depression, all of which can put your mental and physical health at risk. For people in recovery from an eating disorder, that is a recipe for disaster. You can find out the perfect time for you to go to sleep by counting backward for eight hours from the time you wake up in the mornings. Then, do whatever is necessary to ensure that you will be in bed by that time. For instance, you could spend less time watching television in the evenings.
The indoor climate can also be a contributing factor to poor sleep quality. Dry air can wreak havoc on the body with possible side effects such as coughing, congestion, and other respiratory problems. It is crucial to stay hydrated, even while you sleep, so invest in a humidifier.
Finally, for those who have trouble falling asleep, many people are finding CBD to be a fairly effective supplement to assist with improving sleep. While it’s not a treatment for insomnia, it can be used safely to help calm racing thoughts, enabling you to fall asleep quicker. Just be sure to carefully investigate brands before settling on a delivery method (i.e. oil, vape, edible options, etc.) or dosage. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking anything.
The Power of Stress Reduction
Reducing stress is another great way of supporting the process of self-care, but it is so linked to a person’s specific circumstances that it can be difficult to identify a catch-all method of stress reduction. However, some studies have shown links between certain habits or situations and an increase in stress. Foremost among these is a cluttered home. If your home is dirty or filled with clutter like messy counters, dishes piled in the sink, clothes laid out on your bed, or an unorganized desk, you may be significantly adding to your stress. For people with eating disorders, this stress can trigger impulses and, in some cases, relapse.
By taking steps to reduce clutter in your home, you will help to shape your home into a place of serenity, which will allow you to calm your body and mind at the end of the day, thus reducing stress and increasing your ability to fall asleep. To declutter your house, go room by room and section by section. For instance, start with the hall where you first walk in after your day at work to ensure that you are greeted with a relaxing sight. Put your shoes in a basket, hang your keys on a rack, and try to maintain some sense of order.
There are many benefits to sleep, relaxation, and a stress-free environment, especially for a person who is learning to love themselves as they recover from an eating disorder. By fostering a lifestyle centered around self-care, you can feel happier and more satisfied in your life and recovery journey.