In light of World Health Day on the 7th April, we wanted to discuss the concept of self-care, and provide advice on how best to look after yourself when illness strikes.
The rush of our day-to-day lives has meant that self-care has taken a backseat. It has reached a point where the pressure of deadlines, and the environment of stressed colleagues has forced us to prioritise work and other people ahead of our physical wellbeing. So much so that a survey found that since the 2008 recession, the average number of sick days taken has fallen year on year. But it’s precisely when we’re feeling like we can’t take a day off to recover, that we really should.
For some, however, prioritising physical health is much more complex. This is especially so when suffering from an eating disorder.
Eating disorders have a canny ability to disconnect your mind from your body, allowing the concept of self-care to become foreign. To put it simply, self-care is an umbrella term for taking responsibility for yourself but taking care of yourself: this includes basic physical human needs but also emotional ones. Many of our clients are unsure what self-care means, and confuse it with being selfish, or find it difficult to connect the mind with the body.
As Emmy’s recent Huffington Post article stated:
“Much of our self-care behaviours are in response to an event or crisis, for example a physical injury. In a world where we see the rates of illnesses like depression steadily increasing, why do we put so much more emphasis on the care of the body as opposed to the mind? Very few of us consider mental self-care to be an integral part of how we live and take care of ourselves.”
This is why we have a Self Care therapy group, to dispel these myths.
We’ve put together a list of the ways you can implement self-care when illness strikes. Although they may seem simplistic, we know that many of our clients struggle with the basics of self-care when they first join the clinic.
How to be ill:
- Go to the doctors. Feel free to take someone with you if you need company
- Sleep! Your body really does need rest, and there’s no better way to do that than sleeping
- Listen to your body. Sometimes it will tell you what it needs, if it be nutritional nurturing or emotional nurturing
- Don’t push your limits. If you feel that you need to exercise, keep it gentle
- Take a day off work. All contracts should allow for a set number of sick days per year – it’s ok if you need to use them!
- Keep hydrating your body
- Nurture yourself with good food that will support your body’s recovery
- Stock up on herbal teas, fluffy blankets and essential oils
- Don’t spend the day scrolling through social media. Comfort your mind!