From a conversation I had with a friend:
Stress is stress, and the body reacts to it all the same. To lower your mental stress, we need to make sure your physical health is as good as we can get it. Physical stress from an injury or illness affects us the exact same as mental stress from job loss or relationship problems. They’re connected.
Sleep is imperative. I no longer take prescription meds, but I do use over the counter stuff regularly. Z-quil capsules and 10 mgs of time released melatonin. Set yourself up for success. No screens an hour before bed. No reading in bed. Use the theta phase before sleep hits to program your subconscious with positive thoughts to develop cognitive flexibility.
Water. Are you hydrating? Minimize caffeine, alcohol, and other diuretics. Drink a glass of water every hour.
Nutrition. Eat healthy. Sensibly healthy. No weird diets. As clean as possible, within reason. Sensible portion sizes. Don’t starve, don’t binge.
Activity. Regular, daily, if possible, exercise. But nothing that will push you into sympathetic nervous system activation. Cross training is awesome, but if you’re regularly dysregulating, it probably isn’t your friend right now. Science says the best exercise for de-stressing is simple walking. Walk outside (I know, that’s scary. Do it anyway) for 22 minutes straight. At a pace that allows you to carry on a conversation. You can definitely find 22 minutes to go for a walk. Don’t bullshit me.
Who do you love? Talk to them. Connect. The illness lies. You’re loved. No matter what lies the illness is telling you, somebody loves you so much, they’d die for you. You know who they are. Reach out. Connect. Isolation breeds illness, and the illness feeds off isolation.
Routine. The illness craves cortisol. It wants chaos. Establish a routine. Routine also helps moderate the frustration of poor memory and lack of concentration, removing one thing we shit-talk ourselves down about.
- Eating well
- Talk to loved ones
Start with that. That’s your homework. It’s hard, and it’s scary, and it sucks and the ONLY way out of this shitstorm is THROUGH it. It’s hard. So are you.