Healing With Self Care
Often, when we talk about self-care, we’re discussing stress. Engaging in some ‘indulgent’ or relaxing activities can really help you recover from stressful periods. However, self-care has another vital role in our lives and that’s to facilitate healing.
If you’ve experienced trauma in your past, self-care may look slightly different for you. Its goal is a little specific and because of this, the things you do to heal trauma may take different forms.
That’s what we’re talking about today. How can you use self-care to heal?
Healing With Self Care: A Note About Trauma
Trauma is a complex topic and one that’s best diagnosed by a professional. Many anxiety conditions like PTSD are rooted in some trauma. Even if you don’t have a diagnosis, however, you could experience the effects of trauma in your life.
Although we advocate professional diagnosis, it often doesn’t take a degree to realize that something from your past is affecting your present. This type of trauma is close enough to the surface for you to be aware of it.
Other traumas can be buried or repressed. It’s totally normal to have no idea that some of your self-limiting behavior or struggles are related to past trauma.
Here’s a serious caution for everyone reading this blog. Working with trauma can be dangerous and should be handled with care. Can you work through your trauma without retraumatizing yourself? Do you feel you can stay safe while addressing your past?
The answers to these questions aren’t always yes. Please don’t hesitate to talk to someone before you embark on any trauma work.
What Is Self-Care?
As we already touched on, some self-care is mainly for relaxation. The role of these activities is to help you take a break from stressful situations. We put things like a relaxing walk, a luxurious bath, and a soothing meditation that focuses on your mind and body connection in this category.
Things like watching a movie to distract yourself or reading a great book can also fall into the niche of relaxing self-care.
Healing self-care might also take these forms for you, especially when used together with more active forms of healing. For instance, you may alternate more active forms of healing self-care with a relaxing or distracting exercise.
Most healing self-care is either about reframing negative thoughts, improving your internal dialogue and relationship with yourself, or self-help exercises. Things like reparenting, reading about trauma, attending group therapy, and even one-on-one therapy all fall into this category.
Journaling and repeating affirmations can also be healing.
Healing Is About Actions And Attitudes
To get the most out of any self-care activity, we advocate giving yourself permission to engage in the activity. Embrace your need for distraction when your stress level is rising. Don’t berate yourself for needing some time alone after social activities if that helps you feel good.
Healing self-care takes this concept even further. You are not to blame for your problems or thoughts and emotions. You are, however, responsible for them. This is an empowering thought instead of something you need to feel guilty about.
Accept And Honor But Don’t Settle
Healing self-care requires that we work on accepting ourselves and our past. Something happened in your life that affected you deeply and it’s hard to move forward from that. That’s ok, especially if you admit it and become more comfortable talking about it to yourself and others.
Try making self-honoring actons and language your greatest priority. This alone helps reestablish the trust you have with yourself. This inner trust can be negatively affected by trauma and is often a foundational problem for people trying to heal.
Showering yourself with love and acceptance helps you get to a point where you feel comfortable believing that you deserve all the best in life.
How Self Care Mends Our Cracked Foundations
There are so many ways self-care helps us heal. Let’s just cram a bunch of benefits into a bullet list.
- Self-care repairs our inner trust;
- It can reduce self-sabotaging behavior;
- Self-care illustrates to ourselves that we’re the most important thing;
- It can actually increase compassion toward others;
- It is vulnerable and honest and that’s an example for others;
- Over time, it can reduce ‘trigger’ behaviors which leads to a more present life;
- It can teach us coping skills when it involves education and self-help;
- It’s beautifully authentic; and
- Self-care provides the love and nurturing you lacked during the trauma you experienced.
Whether you’re seeing a professional therapist or not, healing self-care is a wonderful foundation to establish. Your healing journey may last a long time, but it’s a rewarding experience and can contain moments of vulnerable beauty as well as pain.
Before we leave you today we want to tell you something very sincerely. What happened to you was not your fault and we are deeply sorry you went through it. We are holding you in a warm, safe space and sending genuine compassion toward you.
We wish you nothing but the best, gentle growth, and all the beauty you deserve.