Self-Care is a very big part of trauma healing. Most importantly because of its role during our most difficult times.
Self-care is what we use to help us refocus our minds and bodies to the present. It encourages us to intentionally seek out happiness during our times of great sadness. It is what we use to reconnect to our bodies when symptoms threaten to take us away.
It Is Not All or Nothing
I wish I could say that self-care was easy, or that it comes naturally. It doesn’t, in fact, it is something that has been extremely unnatural to me for pretty much all of my life.
Why would it come naturally when my whole life has been spent pleasing others, putting myself last, and avoiding conflict? Self-care feels like work, and it feels selfish.
Nevertheless, I am figuring it out. I am learning that it takes work and it isn’t an easy button that fixes everything, but it makes my hard days easier. The more I do it, the more I look forward to it.
A 7-Day Challenge
If self-care is something that you struggle with, know that you are not alone. That is why I created this 7-day challenge. These things have helped me, I think they can help you.
For the next 7 days, I want you to pick one thing per day from the list and go spend some time with yourself doing that activity. No repeats (unless you do the list again next week).
You can spend 15 minutes, or 2 hours focused on yourself – you decide. Set no expectations for yourself, just try to be present.
Write in your Journal
Keeping a journal is a huge part of recovery. This site is my public journal – I write out pretty much everything I go through and I process it here in real time.
You don’t have to take it to this level, but a private notebook where you can have honest conversations with yourself really helps. Write in your journal, or start a journal this week. I have plenty of prompts to get you started.
Do Something Creative
Creativity forces us to use a part of our brain that gets lost in the shuffle of hyper-vigilance. Spend some time exercising your creative side. Search Pinterest for a cool crafting idea and hit the dollar store for supplies; paint, sculpt, or color – there are no limitations, just be creative! I’m big into papercrafting.
Take a Day Off & Watch Your Favorite Movie
Take a day off this week; if you work make it one of your days off and take that day off for real (you know what I’m taking about). If you need to run errands, try to plan ahead with online ordering or a quick errand a day before. Ask your partner or your kids to help with the house chores, take the day off!! Rest your body, and don’t forget to watch your favorite movie!
Go For a Photo Walk
This isn’t just your average walk, I want you to take a photo walk. Pay attention to the world around you as you walk, wherever you are. Tell the story of your walk through some photos. Be present and aware of what is going on around you. Find angles, and cool natural lighting. If you’re in a city, tell the story of the busy streets; if you go for a hike, capture the wind in the leaves.
Meditate or Stretch
Schedule some time to connect with your body, alone. Whether you find a beginners guided meditation online, or do some beginner stretches. Commit yourself to at least 15 minutes alone with yourself to reconnect.
Call a Friend
Most of us are doing everything we can to mitigate our risks during this time of unprecedented health crisis. As a result, many of us feel the loss of connection to our friends and it is weighing on our mental health. There are things we can do to counter this. Call a friend – on the phone or through video chat (I recommend video chat) and just hang out for a little while.
Turn Off Social Media
For at least half of the day, turn off all social media. Check your Facebook, post a photo to Instagram, save some pins, record a quick TikTok, and then at noon – turn it all off! I’m serious!
Read a book, take a bath, or a nap, go outside, do some chores, spend time with your family, or binge a show on Netflix. Whatever you do, stay away from social media. Unplug from the constant real-time craziness of the world for a bit!! You deserve it.
You’re Doing Great
As you embark on this 7-Day challenge, I want to again impress upon you to not set expectations, just try to be present. Hold yourself accountable to your commitments, but do not punish yourself if you struggle. The fact that you are consciously trying is HUGE progress and deserves to be celebrated!
This stuff takes practice. Start small, and remember to be patient and kind with yourself through the process.
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