Welcome to our Day 5, also New Years Day, of our "10 days of self-care" & thank you for putting you first & joining us.
Today, we are going to put some time aside to rest and discover the importance of rest, although as I'm sure a lot of people will know reading this, often, we find out why rest is important when it's too late!
We are sending you the warmest wishes for 2023! Let's set ourselves up in the right way for the year.
Whatever resting may be to you, why not get comfy and be supported at the same time by purchasing our Level 1 or Level 2 leggings? Our leggings feature an extra high waist for abdominal support & complete coverage of your ostomy/s. The extra high waist can also be folded down if you prefer, for your height, and in doing so, gives extra support. The super soft fabric allows freedom of movement whatever you're doing to rest & also allows your skin to breathe and can be worn by both men and women as a layer under shorts or even just on their own with an oversized jumper.
What is rest?
Rest can be really difficult to define in the sense that it looks different for everybody, especially where chronic illness/es and ostomy/s are concerned.
Generally, rest is any behaviour with the aim of increasing physical or mental well-being. It may be active rest, such as going for a walk or can be done sat down, such as taking 15 minutes to sit down and focus on your breathing. Whichever way you choose to rest, it's important that these behaviours do actually help you recover and recharge.
Then there's sleep. Sleep involves sensory detachment from the world around us and is a vital function of our body. It helps with every system such as our emotional well-being and is also linked to better immunity. Where as without rest, you can function, with no sleep, you can't. Although, rest is super important too in our increasingly busy modern world, and also, if you have chronic illness/es. As some of you may experience, sometimes rest doesn't seem a choice but is more of a necessity, before we fall ill and take longer to recover.
How does taking a rest help?
Depending on your needs as an individual, the amount of rest needed will differ from person to person. If, however, you don't sleep well, you may feel naturally like you need more rest.
Sometimes, even taking a rest for a few minutes in the day can give you the boost that you need to keep going.
Rest promotes mental health, reduces stress, improves mood, strengthens relationships, boosts creativity, productivity and also our well-being. It can also help us with decision-making. A sufficient level of rest can help the body to repair and recover.
Sleep hygiene tips
Sleep hygiene is a term that's often used to describe healthy sleeping habits. Good sleep hygiene is vital because it sets us up for a better sleep. So many things in your day can actually impact sleep and affect sleep ability.
Your sleep may be impacted due to being in pain or feeling like your brain wakes up the moment your head hits the pillow! We see you, and understand it is rarely as straight forward as it seems. The following tips are more generalised and obviously need to be taken with a pinch of salt and common sense. If you need to adapt them for your illness/es or know they'll be near impossible for you to do, then that's okay! Please don't feel pressure if you aren't comfortable to give them a try.
So, how can you try to improve your sleep hygiene? Try some of the tips below. They may take a bit of time and consistency, but we think they're definitely worth a try:
- Establish a consistent sleep schedule - (Where possible, this includes weekends). Your body will then start to know, over time, when to expect sleep.
- Form a relaxing bedtime routine & be consistent with it - This can help your body to identify when you are preparing for sleep and can actually help you fall asleep quicker. Devices with blue light such as TVs or mobiles should be avoided for at least 30-60 minutes before bed (not something a lot of people may want to hear, I know!). Relaxing may include things such as taking a warm bath and reading a book.
- Turn off electronic devices before sleep - We've just touched on this one but blue light can cause us to stay awake and make it hard for our brain to not to alert.
- Exercise - and regularly. Whether this is indoors, or outdoors, even half an hour of gentle exercise can help you sleep better. Avoid strenuous activity such as working out for one to two hours before bed as this can actually wake you up. You could do some gentle yoga if you wanted to wind down and there are so many yoga videos out there designed for winding down.
- Limit caffeine - Caffeine can affect you from anywhere between 3 - 7 hours after it is consumed. It's important to note that everyone has different tolerances to caffeine so for example, some people may need to stop drinking caffeine mid afternoon whereas others might need to stop drinking it much earlier for it not to hinder their sleep. If you don't consume caffeine often, you may be more sensitive to its effects when you do.
- Your sleep environment must be tailored to you - There are things in your room which can help you to fall asleep such as darkness, quiet, comfortable bedding and pillows. Some people may also find earplugs help if they sleep light or even an eye-mask if you are really sensitive to light. Having a room temperature roughly between 15 - 19c can also be optimal for sleep.
- Only use your bed for sleep & intimacy - Obviously, if you are chronically ill, you may have no choice but to rest in bed, so if this is you, this one may be out of your control, and that's okay. Generally, if we only use our beds for sleep & sex, then our brains become accustomed to knowing when to switch off and relating bed to those two things only, making it easier to relax & sleep.
- Go to bed only when you're tired - If you can't sleep (unless you're restricted by pain or other reasons), don't toss and turn in bed. Try getting up and reading a book or doing something relaxing until you feel tired enough to head to bed. Again, if you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get back up and repeat or try something else. Tossing and turning can actually wake you up more.
- Limit napping - Again, take this with a huge pinch of salt if, like some of us, naps are life! Some people need to nap to simply make it through the day. Generally speaking, if you do need to nap, keep it to half an hour or less and try to avoid napping later in the afternoon.
- Try to manage stress before bed - As a lot of you will unfortunately experience, worrying & stress can keep you awake at night. Things that can help with this are writing your worries down before bed, prioritising "to do" tasks for tomorrow, then the rest of the week and meditation has also been found to help. Some people also find that weighted blankets can help with anxiety and insomnia.
Are there any rest or sleep tips that you find really beneficial? We'd love to know what they are and why! Comment below.
We look forward to you joining us for Day 6 of 10 days of self-care tomorrow!
We are past the half way point now of our 10 days of self-care and really hope you've been able to take something from this. Enjoy the rest of your day and be proud of the fact that you have managed to put some time aside for you!
Disclaimer: As always, this post is from our Social Media & Marketing Specialist, Amy's, experience of living with a permanent ileostomy, Crohn's Disease and from what she has researched. Nothing in our blog posts should be taken as medical advice. It's always best to consult a medical professional if you have queries or concerns.
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10 DAYS OF SELF CARE: CATCH UP
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