There are many ways to practice self-care. Survivors have often found these suggestions useful. Choose what feels right to you.
Choose what you want to hear about, look at and listen to. Consider engaging with the news less often and limiting your time on social media.
Express what’s in your heart and on your mind. Honor how you feel. Journal with words, drawings, whatever you want. What you put on the page stays there so you can walk away and leave the thoughts there whenever you choose.
Feed your body. Rest your body. Move your body. Spend time outdoors when you can.
Sharing your time and unique talents can feel like you’re fulfilling a greater life purpose. Follow what stirs your heart. Caring for animals, feeding the hungry, helping children after school and visiting with the elderly are all things survivors have tried and enjoyed.
Call a close friend, reach out to family, or take comfort in a partner’s arms. Take the time to regularly engage your support system. You are in charge of what you talk about or share with them. Reach out when you’re struggling and when you want to laugh together.
If you’re experiencing disruptive symptoms related to trauma, such as anxiety, flashbacks, dissociation, thoughts of suicide, or other mental health warning signs, consider finding professional support. A mental health professional can provide a nonjudgmental space to unpack your experiences, they can also teach you new ways to deal with trauma.
You can find crisis plans to fill out online, or you can work with loved ones and your counselor to create your own. Consider giving a copy of your plan to your counselor and a friend or family member so you have extra support, and make yourself copies for your home, bag, and anywhere else you can grab it in a crisis.
Know your limits and then set them with others. Be firm, clear, specific, and confident. You deserve it. You require it. And you can do this. Some survivors choose to communicate this information in person, others send a letter or an electronic message.
Your voice is powerful, but you have the option — and the right — to decide how and when you speak up. There’s no pressure to share your story. These are your decisions and whatever option you choose is perfectly acceptable.
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