Caring for Your Body After Betrayal Is Essential - Part 2

View Part 1 here.

Hi, I'm Rachel, and this is part two of my series around caring for your body during your recovery from infidelity/cheating, which is an essential but often overlooked part of this journey. In the last video, I talked about the impact of stress and trauma on our bodies and how it can throw everything from our appetite to our sleep patterns to our immune systems off the rails.

Today in part two of this video series, I want to share specific ways and easy tips for caring for yourself and supporting your body during this difficult time.

I can remember in the days, weeks, and months after my D-Day just how badly the intrusive thoughts would slam into my mind at random times during the day and I would not be able to catch my breath.

I can remember sharing this with my therapist and having her remind me to focus on what was in my hands to control at that time. There was so much that was out of my control! Everything in my life felt crazy and chaotic, but there were some simple and small ways that I could care for myself during that time.

I couldn't overcomplicate things or add any overwhelming activities to my plate, and neither can you. So here are the five simple practices that worked for me during my recovery and still work for me today.

1. Breath work. This is essentially intentional breathing. In high-stress situations, our breathing tends to be more shallow. We tend to keep our breath up high in our chest instead of taking full breaths into our diaphragms. This is an instant way to bring calm and ease into our bodies.

It's a really effective tool for those moments where we feel swallowed up by the overwhelming stress and trauma. There's also a "breath prayer" you could consider. For this one, I recommend a book by Jennifer Tucker and Ann Voskamp called Breath as Prayer: Calm Your Anxiety, Focus Your Mind, and Renew Your Soul*. It's a gorgeous resource if you want to learn how to do that.

2. Use your senses. This is similar to breath work in that it helps us focus on what's in our immediate surroundings. It engages one or more of our five senses, which helps lower anxiety and get us grounded again.

There's a method often used in therapy called the "5, 4, 3, 2, 1 technique." For this one, we want to look around and take time to focus on: 5 things we SEE, 4 things we FEEL, 3 things we HEAR, 2 things we SMELL, and 1 thing we TASTE.

3. Grounding or Earthing. As with the other two practices of concentrated breathing and using our five senses, this one can really help us re-center and become more aware of our surroundings. For those of us who might not prefer to walk around barefoot, this could feel a little uncomfortable at first. With this method, the basic idea is that you want to put your bare feet into a part of the Earth's surface. That could be sand, soil, grass, mud...

What science has shown is that the earth's natural electric charge will help offset some of the stress or pain we are feeling in our bodies. This grounding technique can lower our blood pressure. It can even help our sleep patterns and improve our blood flow.

4. Eating the rainbow. I know that our appetite and our digestive systems are typically in a state of disarray during this time of recovery and turmoil. We may not feel like eating a bunch of nutrient-dense foods, and that is entirely understandable. Doing this one does require some thought and some planning, but you should consider it because there is a strong link between our nutrition and our mental health. The two really go hand-in-hand together, so eating the rainbow can mean that to the extent that you can control it, you will choose to put colorful foods on your plate. We may not feel the same sort of immediate relief as we would with the other practices, but it does pay off in the long run!

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