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Ways to Make You Feel Better: Part 1 of 2

FloxyFloxy Port de SóllerPosts: 997 Incredible Poster
edited October 10 in Health & Wellbeing
While convalescing after major heart surgery and driven by self-doubt, I started a journal on how to make myself feel better: Physically, emotionally and to develop a strategy to exercise more and find ways of improving my sleep. If I could begin to feel less stressed and anxious, then perhaps I could get to appreciate my body more.

Starting with Sleep

Now that winter will soon be upon us, I set about making my bedroom feel cosier. Here in Mallorca the floors are wooden planked, but they feel cold underfoot so we layered rugs down and cozified the bedroom lighting. I chose a warm pinky shade for the bedside lamp so the light would reflect the warm wood of the cabinet to help induce sleep. I made my pillows fluffy, always kept the bed sheets clean and I had heavier curtains drawn across, but a small window open to keep the bedroom ventilated so the ideal temperature would be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15–19 degrees Celsius).

Avoid blue light. At least an hour before bedtime I stopped using my laptop and phone. It's because blue light coming from a mobile or computer screen actually wakes the brain up, making it much harder to fall asleep. But if that is unavoidable, then a good fix for this is getting a free app called F.LUX  At sunset, this automatically changes the colour of your screen, depending on what time evening it is in your country. You can adjust the brightness or dimness, or shut it down if uploading images.

Avoid heavy meals at night or foods that are considered stimulants including coffee or Coke. When I began having decaff, I saw a marked improvement in my quality of sleep, and found a herbal nightime suppliment valarian to help induce sleep. To be on the safe side, always ask your doctor before taking calming or anxiety reducing supplements. Poor sleep doesn't just affect concentration and energy levels, it can also lower immunity, increasing your risk of certain diseases - and even leave you vulnerable to weight gain, according to my doctor.

Except The Sleep Council's survey found that more than a third of us only manage 5 to 6 hours sleep a night, so if you feel like you're losing out, then you need to address this. Here is Seven Steps To A Better Night’s Sleep:


However, if your insomnia has lasted between 2 weeks and 3 months, then you should contact your doctor and see about being referred to a therapist for a course of helpful CBT.

According to my aunt who had a course, it took her about a fortnight to notice any changes. Her therapist told her that one of the problems with chronic insomnia is that we tend to associate bed with wakefulness rather than sleep. CBT can help people develop a pro-sleep routine to achieve a strong connection between her bed and getting beneficial sleep. This meant aunty found falling asleep became more natural, so much so that she stayed asleep all through the night. See MOODZONE - NHS  Otherwise and this could be helpful, but your GP might prescribe you a short course of sleeping tablets that, when taken over a period of not longer than a fortnight, could help you find a rhythm that will will return your normal sleep patter. In the meantime don't get stressed if you can't sleep - get a book out and read, listen to calming music or watch some TV and only go back to bed when you feel sleepy. Always consult your doctor for advice - never self-diagnose!

Alternatively, try an online sleep programme called SLEEPIO


Start Eating Better

Since dealing with my eating disorder, I felt more able to refrain from jumping on weighing scales. Seeing the telltale pointer swinging up did nothing for my self-esteem. It was fast becoming counterproductive. Instead, I started tracking all the food I ate for a week. Loving lists, I made a list of everything that I ate. During that time I figured out which meals I had that fell into healthy and which didn't. I avoided processed food such as ready-meals because basically they contained either too much salt or sugar and were unhealthy. And also during this time of adjustment, I began learning how to cook on my own. Essentially, learning to cook on your own is a positive way to staying healthy in the long run.

Together we created a meal plan by first creating a grocery list relating to recipes we decided on and that way we created a useful meal plan. Even better was saving it to our phones so they could be propped up in the kitchen while we prepared our meals. And from that, we tracked all our meals to ensure I was actually adhering to what had been planned. It eliminated cheating, and our grocery plan relating to the recipes of which were a great many meant that I never grew bored.

We used our grocery plan in conjunction with a fine book called The Food Medic by Hazel Wallace.

Anxiety and Panic

In the early hours of the morning or when dusk falls, this is the time when anxiety can feel so overwhelming, think for a minute. Anxiety is not dangerous - it’s just uncomfortable. I won't die or go crazy. But I remind myself that my body is having a false alarm, that's all. Nothing, I remind myself, is going to happen. I've survived anxiety attacks before so I will this time, too. I'm not going to fight my feelings. I'm going to let them come and then I'm going to ride them out. So I focus on a task like counting backward from 100. Or sitting in the park in the shade of great big tree and there are squirrels around, and lovely green grass. All is peaceful. I've closed my eyes to think on these things. Like sitting in a meadow among wild flowers and tall grass, swaying in a gentle breeze. Use this to help you relax and keep your mind focussed.

When a feeling of panic sweeps over you or when having an anxiety attack, get a friend or a relative to sit with you. Here are some things I'll want my friend to help me with...

Talk to me and assure me that you will not force me into anything I don't want to do, and that you will take me to my safe place if need be. Just gentle conversation, please. And some laughter would be great. Help me get involved with something - like focusing on something else. For me, I need to hear sounds and laughter but the most important thing for me is to have someone to talk to who understands and we can just talk through this, all this that is troubling me. Try and find something that distracts me. Start talking about other things. Be supportive, listen to what I am saying. We all need different things- all of us have different things that help us. Encourage me in my successes and buoy me up when I feel like I've had a failure. And please stay with me! Do not leave me - talk to me, touch me, rub my back, and reassure me. Just keep talking about anything so that I have to concentrate on your talking and can try to ignore the panic.
I'm driven by self doubt.

Comments

  • FloxyFloxy Port de Sóller Posts: 997 Incredible Poster
    edited October 10
    Ways to Make You Feel Better - Part 2

    Relaxation techniques. 

    The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from your abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs like I did. When we take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from our upper chest, we get to inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen we get, the less tense, short of breath, and anxious we feel.

    1. Sit comfy with a straight back.
    2. Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little. That's what I found.
    3. Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles, like I did. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little, that's what I found.
    4. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale. Slowly, after a few of these deep breaths, your anxiety begins melting away.

    If you find it difficult breathing from your abdomen while sitting up, try lying down. Put a small book on your stomach, and breathe so that the book rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale. You can do this on your bed, or on a sofa.

    5. Don't treat me any differently once you know about the panic.
    6. Don't force me to go someplace I feel very uncomfortable about going. Do not surprise me by doing it anyhow.
    7. And if I leave early, please try to understand. Don't bad mouth me behind my back and then let me hear about it later.

    Some time ago I read a lovely story called "The Colour of Ink". This is edited.

    "This is one of the strongest tools, in my opinion, to help me through panic. And by this I mean just TALK to me, about anything or nothing at all. Talk about the clouds, the grass I am standing on, the light across from me, THE COLOUR OF INK. Talk about the different colours ink comes in nowadays. These little calm thoughts send me messages that I am ok and that life is calm. Ink comes in many colours and we can even name them - very calm talk about nothing at all and I am under control."

    Another method involves pets. Out of all the pets, cats have been scientifically proven to be the most relaxing animals. This, however, does not mean none of the other pets aren't relaxing! When you have a pet, you can usually train it to be loyal. You can stroke it, comfort it, and be comforted by it. For instance, if you take a dog out for a walk you can see it is enjoying itself. For me though I don't have a dog now, this gave me a wonderful feeling and made me feel happier for the rest of the day. If you own a dog, going a run with it may be a good idea as it can help take out anger and stress on the pavement. Or if you own another well loved pet, spend time with it whenever you can.

    Some more very useful tips on relaxation can be found here: HELPGUIDE.ORG

    Notebook and pen time: Put your feelings into words. Express whatever you're feelings, either by talking to someone or writing it down. Scientific research shows that putting feelings into words calms activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for processing our emotions.

    Don't fight the feelings: Anxiously telling yourself you shouldn't be feeling this could actually increase your anxiety levels. Float...yes, float with the feelings as if you're on a fluffy cloud up in the sky, accepting they are temporary is calming and soothing.

    Reserve a regular slot in your day to spend quality time dedicated to the things that worry you. Focus on the present. This will enable you accept and let go of what you cannot control. It also will help you realize that you can't change the past; that the future hasn't happened yet; therefore, it's a waste of time to keep thinking about them.

    Write things in your notebook. Scribbling your worries on paper allows you to return to them later. You don't have to dismiss them completely, and you can feel comfortable knowing you will revisit the concern. Know that writing occupies your mind and reduces the power to overthink. When thoughts are in your mind, they feel chaotic. Putting them on paper organizes them or a computer document. A few precious minutes with your notebook and your mind will be calmer. If it's helpful, set a time limit for considering them before returning to them later.

    Exercise. As well as releasing tension and releasing endorphines (those feel-good neurotransmitters), it's a recognised fact that walking, running or even cycling can be as effective and medicine by relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression.


    Accept and appreciate your body. Social media bombarding us with images that focus on youth and thinness can make us feel badly about our bodies, especially when we focus more on how our bodies look than on what our bodies can do. What's more, the image we have of ourselves usually bears no relation to the reality. Media images are unrealistic, often airbrushed and manipulated to look ultra cool and fashionable. Perhaps this is one good reason to unsubscribe from media accounts that only show idealised views of appearance or those things that cause you to feel inadequate.

    Focus on aspects of your body that are not appearance-related. I try to remind myself of this on days that I hate my appearance. All of the cells in my body somehow know how to help, to repair and grow for me. I don't need to worry, for my body cells just do it. So whenever I feel sad, I must remember that there are billions of cells in my body and all they care about is me.

    Hate your mirror? Stand in front of it and list 3 things you like about your body: Your eyes and the depth of their colour; your hair; your fingernails. And then think of 3 best personal qualities that you really like about yourself.


    Affirmation



    Do you have anymore suggestions of ways to help someone feel better?
    I'm driven by self doubt.
  • ShaunieShaunie Hope.less 🌦 England 🏠Posts: 2,077 Mega Poster
    edited October 15
    Thanks for sharing. 
    Do you have anymore suggestions of ways to help someone feel better?
    If tell them to do Mindfulness & grounding & just let being mindful of all senses and prolonging & intensifying postive stuff like faviourate food. 
    & also imagery - some people can just imagine their safe space
    “If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us face, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.” ~ Marvin J Ashton 🌸🌸🌸
  • FloxyFloxy Port de Sóller Posts: 997 Incredible Poster
    Shaunie said:
    Thanks for sharing. 
    Do you have anymore suggestions of ways to help someone feel better?
    If tell them to do Mindfulness & grounding & just let being mindful of all senses and prolonging & intensifying postive stuff like faviourate food. 
    & also imagery - some people can just imagine their safe space
    Thank you that, @Shaunie
    I'm driven by self doubt.
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