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Suggestions for Self-Care


Pillow and Candle
Relaxing picture

 

Self-care is not selfish. Ephesians 5:29 says: “After all, no one ever hated his own body,

but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.” And it is good stewardship to take care of the body God gave us.

 

Say yes to yourself and your needs. Giving yourself permission to take care of you will help alleviate any feelings of guilt. Following are suggestions and tips to practice taking good care of yourself.

                                   

EMOTIONALLY

  • Get enough sleep. The pain of divorce often impacts sleep patterns. Try going to bed earlier, listening to soft music, or reading before bed. Lavender essential oil has been shown to help people sleep better. Or, talk to your doctor.

  • Stay hydrated. Sounds simple, but it's easy to forget to drink enough water. To stay rejuvenated all day, keep a water bottle handy.

  • Eat healthy. Being busy or distracted makes eating right very difficult. Be aware of grabbing quick snacks loaded with salt or sugar. Try to include more veggies and fruits in your day. Or, you may be experiencing the exact opposite and aren't hungry because of the emotional upheaval. Taking care of yourself includes making sure you are giving your body what it needs nutritionally.

  • Go outside. Whether it is for a quick walk, a cardio run, or just to sit and read, get outside. Exercise and sunshine are known for their encouraging and uplifting benefits. Decide what makes you feel the best and do it.

  • Develop an attitude of gratitude. Being thankful goes a long way in helping you emotionally. It can be the difference between staying negative or having hope to move forward

 

PHYSICALLY

  • Maintain healthy emotional boundaries. This can be important especially if you are dealing with a high-conflict ex. You can decide what you will allow and what you won't. Practice saying yes and no honestly. The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:37:  Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No. Too often we tolerate unacceptable behavior which hurts us emotionally. Give yourself permission to put yourself first in those situations and just say no.

  • Be aware of your self-talk. Having to struggle with a painful situation can make you become hard on yourself. Thinking things like, "I'm so stupid," or "I'm ugly," or "I can't do this," are all linked to your emotions. Check yourself when you realize you are going down that rabbit hole. Stay positive.

  • Cultivate a personal belief system that brings you hope and faith. Research has shown a lifestyle that includes spirituality is generally healthier. A spiritual practice can help sustain you daily, especially when going through a divorce. This will give you confidence as you cope.

  • Spend time with friends and family. There is nothing better than being with people you love and who love you. This is very important to your emotional health. Take time to be with those who recharge you emotionally.

  • Update your physical appearance. This doesn't need to be a drastic change. However, trying new makeup, a new hair style, or even just putting on something other than sweats, can be invigorating.

 

SPIRITUALLY

  • Read the Book of Psalms. When you need spiritual encouragement, this book in the Bible is perfect.  The Book of Psalms is full of prayers and hymns which can speak to the pain you are feeling.

  • Read the Book of Proverbs. This book is full of wise sayings. It will help find wisdom for everyday life.

  • Meditate. This is a form of prayer and is helpful in calming your mind and connecting your heart to God.

  • Listen to worship or inspirational music. The hurt from divorce can often be like a brick wall surrounding your heart, holding in the ache, and keeping out the joy. Listening to music can be the one thing which penetrates the pain. The right song can deliver the perfect message to bring balance in the chaos.

 

MENTALLY

  • Keep your mind sharp. Doing puzzles, learning about a new subject, taking a class, or learning a craft are just some of the ways you can keep your mind in tip-top shape.

  • Read a book, listen to podcasts, or do other things that are inspirational.

  • Stay positive. There is a strong connection between the mind and the emotional. Maintaining a positive outlook, along with your attitude of gratitude, will be constructive for your mental health.

  • Carve out "me" time. With so many spinning plates, finding time to feed your mind may be difficult. Plan times during the day when you can relax. Listen to an audio book while you drive, pray while you walk, relax during your lunch break. Taking a few short minutes here and there is much better than nothing at all.

  • Unplug from social media. Being tied to technology can be mentally draining. Set a specific time to be away from your social media accounts. Turn off the notifications that constantly ping so they won't distract you. Read a magazine or a book, meditate or pray. Do something that will give your mind a break from the busy.

  • Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts can be helpful. When you are going through a divorce, there are so many thoughts racing through your head, seeing them on a page will give some perspective.

 

Stress Busters

 

Imagination regeneration when you can't quiet your mind

  • Find a place where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes and get comfortable, either sitting in a favorite chair or lying down.

  • Think of an image – a place, a scene, a memory – that relaxes you.  (Use all your senses to bring it to life.  What do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel?)

  • Let yourself completely immerse in your image, allowing it to relax you completely.

 

Progressive Relaxation when your body won't relax

  • Lie down or sit, as comfortably as you can, and close your eyes.  (Preferably somewhere you have privacy.)

  • Tense the muscles of a particular body part. (Example: make a fist and notice the tension in your hand and arm.)

  • Hold the tension in the body part for about seven seconds.

  • Release the tension quickly, letting the muscles go limp.  (Notice how your muscle feels better after the release.)

  • Repeat steps 1 through 4, using the same muscle group. Move to another muscle group. (Repeat steps 1 through 4).

  • Work through the steps until you know you're more relaxed.

 

Anti-Stress snacking to help your mood

  • Avoid highly sugared treats.  They’ll give you a boost in the short run but let you down in the long run.

  • Stick with snacks that have high-energy proteins and are high in complex carbohydrates for a long-lasting pick-me-up.

  • Specific foods to boost your mood and help alleviate some of your stress: A piece of fruit such as an orange, peach, apple or banana, handful of mixed nuts, spinach salad, soft pretzel, air-popped popcorn or low-fat yogurt

 

Three quick foods for a pick-me-up

  • When you are frazzled. Eat celery or carrots. These contain amino acid tryptophan that releases serotonin, a calm-inducing brain chemical.

  • When you have low energy. Eat mushrooms (high in B vitamins which help to release energizing hormones) or almonds.

  • When you feel depressed. Eat peanut butter. This contains amino acid phenylalanine which slows the break-down of endorphins (the body's feel-good chemical) so you will feel better longer.

  • When caffeine is a must. Go for green or black tea for boost to keep you going. Green tea contains amino acid which boosts energy.

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