This Men’s Health Week, we at SurvivorsUK wanted to take some time to reflect on the health of survivors, and how we can better look after ourselves in the face of trauma.

Health is a tricky thing to navigate – we’re frequently bombarded with new health trends and the idea that we all need to have the perfect body.

But expectations of six-packs and salads are unreasonable. Most of us work long hours, have busy lives, or are unable to access the kind of time and money needed to build the lifestyle that is so often promoted to us.

Despite these unrealistic expectations, we should and can strive to lead lives that are healthy, and what better time to start than men’s health week?

We know that dealing with trauma, especially as a survivor, can mean that our health falls by the wayside. Abuse can exacerbate our mental health, and our health can be one of the first things to go out the door when we’re feeling low. It’s much easier to stay in bed than it is to get up, have a shower, brush our teeth, and take part in the usual routine of life.

So what can you do to look after yourself?

Find a routine

Having a routine is important. It can help us find stability even at the worst of times, but make sure your routine is realistic. If you don’t usually wake up at 7 am, then don’t expect yourself to start waking up at 7 am. Be gentle with yourself, and find something that works for you.

Take time for you

In your routine, try to build in some time for yourself. We can all be guilty of not taking a moment for ourselves as we let our commitments take over, but it’s important to take some time each day to do something nice for yourself. Whether it’s five minutes of meditation in the morning or having a cup of tea in the evening with a good book. Use this time to remind yourself that you are worthy.

Spend some time outside

The pandemic has meant we’re all spending a lot more time on our phones and computers, so take some time away from your screens to enjoy the outside. The fresh air will do you wonders.

Eat well

The food we consume has such an impact on our health. Forget the demanding diets or superfood trends, and instead focus on eating the food that you want – food that will nourish your body and soul, that will help you to help yourself.

Talk to someone

Health is no longer about perfection, but rather about taking care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. While it’s important to get exercise, eat well, and have a routine – it’s also so important to not be alone, especially as you take on trauma.

If you need someone to speak to, SurvivorsUK is here for you. Our online helpline is available every day from 12 – 8 pm.

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