How do you take care of your nervous system while you are recovering from trauma? When you are recovering from trauma you often fall into survival mode and forget about living an intentionally healthy lifestyle. Today I want to put your mind at ease about your nervous system health. Here are 10 ways to keep the nervous system healthy.

Many of the practices you use to recover from trauma will also help you restore and keep your nervous system healthy. We all know the basics of good health such as sleep, healthy eating, and exercise. You can take even better care of your nervous system by reducing stress, following a daily self-care routine, using relaxation techniques, and learning breathing exercises.

Taking care of your physical and mental health leads to a healthier nervous system. Everything works together to support your physical, mental, and emotional health. When you make one positive new habit you improve many areas of your health and life.

Decorative image 10 ways to keep the nervous system healthy

10 Ways to Keep the Nervous System Healthy

As you recover from trauma it’s important to include healthy behaviors to support your nervous system. One natural result of trauma recovery is healing your nervous system.

Doing the work can start a snowball of changes to your nervous system, emotions, and physical health. Having some strategies in place to support your system will help make the healing journey more comfortable as you work your way back to health.

Most of the suggestions below are things we have heard often to promote overall health. It makes sense that something good for your health would also be good for your nervous system. It’s a good thing that working to improve how you eat, handle stress, and exercise will help you in so many ways.

Regular Exercise

We have all heard of the value of exercise to our physical health and may have experienced relief through physical exercise on a “bad” day.

When you are healing from trauma having a regular habit of going for a walk or visiting the gym can support your mind and nervous system in healing through physical movement. Getting out for a walk can reduce stress and change the direction a bad day is headed. Making a habit of doing exercise that reduces stress will support a healthier nervous system. You also begin to look forward to this regular habit of stress reduction and begin to crave regular physical activity.

Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is so important for overall health. I’m not here to say what you should eat and when. My advice is to find a way of eating that makes you feel good and stick with it. Most of us know what foods we should avoid and what we should eat more of.

I would like to encourage you to pay attention to how you are eating when you are struggling. Noticing a correlation between foods eaten and your mental state could be the inspiration you need to eat healthier.

You can research specific foods and supplements that support nervous system health if you want to dig into this area of supporting your nervous system.

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Pay Attention to Your Mental Health

What’s going on with your mental state? Are you feeling depressed? Are you pushing yourself too much and feeling the stress of going, going, going each day?

You can support your mental health through a daily journaling practice. Writing about your daily struggles helps you let go of the daily stresses of living. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you focus on something positive each day. There are so many ways to incorporate journaling into your day.

Becoming part of a community of survivors is also helpful for your mental health and nervous system. It’s important to break the feeling of isolation you may have after being in a traumatic relationship. Spending time with people who understand what you have been through and accept you how you are is a powerful way of supporting yourself as you heal.

Working with a counselor or trauma recovery coach can help you heal which will calm your nervous system. The help and support of a mental health practitioner can make a big difference in getting your nervous system back to a healthier state.

A Healthy Daily Routine

Including self-care in your day is an excellent way to spend time on your nervous system health. This will directly impact your nervous system health.

As we covered above healthy eating and exercise can be a foundational part of your healthy daily routine. You can experiment with different aspects of your day to find out the most important things you can include to help you have a healthier nervous system.

I think part of a healthy daily routine is cutting out things that cause stress, pain, or suffering. This could look like having stronger boundaries to keep people who stress you out at a distance and not overdoing exercise.

Pay Attention to Your Stress Levels

Can you make changes to your daily routine to reduce your stress level? Or can you include more time to relax or practice self-care to reduce stress?

Our lives go at such a fast pace that it seems impossible sometimes to reduce stress. But, when you are stressed out you may be less productive which can actually take more time from what you need to do each day than doing something to reduce stress.

You could check in with yourself about your stress level a few times per day. When it is higher than it should be you can take a few moments to do a breathing exercise, walk outside, or something else that helps reset you to a lower stress level.

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Get Enough Sleep

We all know the importance of getting enough sleep. Developing a calming bedtime routine can help you sleep better. You can experiment with different room temperatures, bedtimes, and white noise to see if any of these simple changes can help you improve your sleep.

It is worth it to see your primary care provider for help with sleep if you have been struggling to rest well each night.

Many survivors have lost the ability to fully relax and rest because they lived in a stressful situation for years. As you improve other areas of your life after getting to safety you should see your sleep get better as well. The mind and body have an amazing capacity to heal.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

You can practice relation techniques daily to help you calm your nervous system. Things like listening to music, going outside, prayer, and meditation can help you in your daily practice of relaxation.

Relaxation techniques can be very personal. Find things that you like and that help you relax. Ideas to try include massage, hugs from loved ones, talking to a good friend, yoga, and aromatherapy.

Limit Social Media

Oh, social media. It can cause a lot of stress to watch others live their so-called perfect lives while we are working to recover from trauma. Have you ever tried taking a break from social media? It might be worth it to see if and how much it is impacting your daily stress level.

When we are constantly bombarded with ads that promise a better life or a cure for all of our woes we feel worse about the life we are living now. Watching our friends get married, have babies, go on vacation, buy new cars, etc. can make us feel like we are missing out. When we can limit social media and replace that time with meditation or reflection on how far we have come that can help our nervous systems stay healthier.

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Try Deep Breathing Exercises

Here’s a simple breathing exercise to try right now to see if it helps you feel better.

  1. Breathe in for a count of four.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of four.
  3. Breathe out for a count of four.
  4. Hold your breath out for a count of four.
  5. Repeat.

How did that breathing exercise make you feel? Can you include it throughout your day when you want to get back to a baseline of calm to help you transition to a time of relaxation?

There are so many breathing exercises available with a simple google search. Try a few and add your favorites to your daily routine. You can do specific breathing exercises before bed to help you sleep, during the day when you are stressed, and as a transition from your work day to being home in the evening.

Physical Health

Go for a check-up. Take care of any health concerns you have. See your dentist on a regular basis. Get your eyes checked. When you take care of your physical health you give yourself a healthier nervous system. It all works together. Also, when you take care of yourself it sends a message to your brain that you matter.

Quality of life

You can improve your quality of life by taking care of your nervous system. How amazing is that? Trauma recovery really does help us heal in all areas of our body, mind, and soul. It’s a beautiful way to learn to live in freedom and peace.

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