One of the main focuses in trauma recovery and healing is Self-Care.
I remember the first time my therapist asked me what I do for self-care, I looked at her like a deer in headlights.
What is this thing called self-care?
What do you mean I should be taking time during the day to focus on what I like to do to make myself happy?
I’ve spent so many years locked away in dissociation; I have such cemented perceptions of what I deserve regarding happiness and wholeness that this idea of taking time only for me, to practice self-care felt foreign, even selfish.
I’ve been working on self-care with intention for nearly two years now, and it’s still a struggle but I am finding my personal joys.
Of course, the basics of self-care are in my toolbox: music, essential oils, books, breathing techniques, friends on speed dial, this blog, and my trusty journal.
I also ventured out into the realm of hobbies and I tried something that looked fun but that I had never done before. I got into paper crafts and started making handmade notes cards.
Here are a few cards that I made.
I love it, this new hobby that I have found. I also believe that having a hobby in addition to basic methods of self-care for those of us living with Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is vital to the process.
Here are a couple of reasons I believe card-making has helped me as I live with C-PTSD.
1. It motivates and encourages my individual creativity. Most of my life I have always joked that I have a hard time stepping outside the box creatively, but once pushed I can build on ideas. As I learn about the long-term effects of childhood trauma on adulthood, I realize my imagination and creativity was stunted as a child due to changes in my brain as I responded to the abuse. Creating card designs is helping me tap into and reenergize the creative juices I have inside me.
2. It allows me to focus my mind during times of high anxiety and intrusive thoughts and memories. When I am measuring paper for design cuts and placement, when I am determining paper patters to put together, or choosing from the many stamp messages I have – my mind is disciplined and focused which helps calm me.
3. Every time I create a new card design or card set – I feel a sense of achievement. Of completing a task and that helps my confidence levels, especially the ones that I don’t even realize are an issue until triggered.
4. It gives me the alone time with myself to listen to music ad unwind from the weight of functioning with C-PTSD.
5. I’m learning a new skill. Who doesn’t feel good learning a new skill and seeing growth and improvement. Again, building on confidence issues that I don’t even realize I struggle with until triggered in a high-stress situation.
Another thing that is an added bonus of card making it that I have a collection of notecards which motivates me to stay in touch with friends and family. After years of dissociation and isolation from family as a means of survival – I have a lot of catching up to do.
I SO recommend looking for a hobby. Don’t just settle for journals, diffusing oils, or relying on breathing techniques (though all of this is helps too) – challenge yourself.
So tell me, what kinds of things do you do to practice self-care?
If card making is something that sounds like fun to you – please visit my page for all of the start-up supplies that I have purchased as well as my recommendations based on those purchases. Products will be linked to purchase for your convenience.
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