Unfortunately, being a survivor of trauma or abuse is exceedingly common. According to the National Children’s Alliance, nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S. annually. And according to the Center for Disease Control’s 2017 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, nearly 1 in 4 adult women and approximately 1 in 7 adult men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
While being a survivor of abuse is challenging, empowerment can come through recognizing your needs and taking care of yourself. When you take care of yourself, you send the message to your mind and body that you are worthy and deserving of care. Regardless of if the abuse you experienced was recent or in the past, a daily self-care routine will help you deal with what still impacts you today.
1. Quality Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important ways of taking care of yourself. Having enough sleep on a nightly basis is an essential part of maintaining adequate physical, mental, and emotional health. Fundamentally, your body needs regular rest to operate properly. A good night’s sleep will uplift your mood and energy, improve your memory and help decrease stress levels. It is a key element to mental health.
Another way to take care of yourself is through some quiet reflection. Meditation and mindfulness, even just a few minutes a day, can provide several health benefits. Some of these benefits include boosting your immune system, managing stress, increasing concentration, and improving your mood. Find an easy or beginner meditation to follow with a Google search, smart phone app, or the free meditation exercises available on YouTube.
Incorporating movement into your day will help you feel more energized and release stress. Additionally, exercise/movement is also a wonderful physical outlet to release stuck emotions that you might be holding as a result of your abuse or trauma. Walking, jogging, yoga, dance or anything you enjoy are all great options. Make sure your form of exercise is not unpleasant for you or push yourself too hard; even gentle movement like stretching is beneficial. The purpose of exercise is to create an act of self-care, not a punishment.
4. Positive Affirmations
Many negative thoughts and beliefs can develop as a result of experiencing trauma or abuse. It’s very common for abuse survivors to feel shame about it and blame themselves; for that reason, it’s important to reiterate positive statements to yourself. You can tell yourself, for example: “I am valuable,” “I am good enough,” “I am worthy,” “I am capable,” “I am strong,” “I am loved.” Identify negative self-talk and counter those thoughts with positive affirmations.
Reach out to your support system by calling a friend or family member, joining a support group and/or finding a therapist. If you lack a support system, look into local, like-minded groups or shared hobbies and make new friends through smartphone apps and/or the Meetup website. Community websites and forums also offer ideas for groups, events or activities to connect with others and meet new people. Additionally, you can seek support or therapy groups for survivors of abuse, PTSD/trauma, etc. to connect with those that have had similar experiences. Sharing your struggles with people who understand and care about your well-being is an important aspect of your healing journey.
Are you a survivor of trauma or abuse? A licensed therapist can help you so you don’t have to go through this alone. Contact me today so we can set up a time to talk.