This is the second part of the Self-Care and Self-Love post:
Last week's post (which can be found here
) focused on identifying self-care and self-love you already had. This week will focus on finding new ways to bring self-care and self-love into your life.( Cut for length! On self-care and self-loveCollapse )
So, with all this in mind:
- Which aspects of self-care do you not currently use?
- Which aspects of self-care could you integrate into your life? How could you integrate them?
- In which ways do you express self-hatred or guilty feelings? How could you try to combat those feelings, or redirect your language/actions so as to constructively help yourself.
- What are your favorite parts of being you? What are your friends favorite aspects of your personality?
It's my goal to make this a two-parter: this week will be identifying self-care or self-love, and next week's will be identifying how to include more in your life!
Self-care can mean many things: from keeping a steady routine, to hygiene, eating, sleeping, or even soothing routines. Little things we do every day, or every week, to help keep ourselves feeling cared for. Sometimes, it only registers to us subconsciously: for example, keeping a regular flow to your day as far as eating, sleeping, and working, can reduce stress levels without any extra coping skills needed.
Self love is hard to muster after being abused or raped - since so much of processing that trauma is self-blame or guilt. But self love can be shown both in self-care and in finding things about yourself which you genuinely love and enjoy.
- How did your abuse/rape affect your self-care? How did it affect your self-love?
- What do you include in your self-care? for example - do you include routines? pampering? or simple things?
- While self-love is tricky to define, what aspects of yourself do you love or enjoy?
- If you've been able to incorporate self-care or self-love, how did you do so after being abused?
When you become a survivor, the road to finding a "normal" life again seems overwhelming. We spend a great deal of our lives learning lessons and growing up to become who we were meant to be...And in that moment, everything seems to be ripped away and without explanation we are expected to simply start over. It seems unfair, and whether I believe in god or not, the only words that seem to help explain the situation is that life is unfair, but god only forces you to endure what he knows you can overcome.
My list of things to deal with asap...
1. Find a new career to work towards
2. Figure out whether I even feel like attempting to go back to school or just get my G.E.D
3. Tell my parents not only that I was kicked out of school, but that I got arrested
4. Find where I want to move to and start creating a plan to make it happen
5. Look into schools in other states, and determine how the hell i'd pay for it
6. Write and write and write some more until I stop having panick attacks
7. Call my therapist for an emergency session with hopes that I can stop these damn break downs...
I am doing this not only for myself, but for the one person who never accepts my apologies, and is hard on me only because he cares. The person who gave me the idea for all this, and who is the best friend that anyone could ask for. Thanks Adam.
After surviving abuse, many survivors often feel a loss of structure and stability. Whether it's because we're still living with an abuser, or whether it's invasive thoughts or memories, it can be tough to have a consistent schedule from day to day. We can't always predict which nights we'll be up all night with nightmares or panic attacks, which makes going to work, school, or university even harder.
Even on a social level, it can be tough to find consistency. We're often plagued by social anxieties, or fears of new people or places, and often those fears can strike without much notice. This can make it quite difficult to get the together time we crave with our friends and loved ones.
There have been many studies throughout the years, of survivors and non-survivors alike, that show that most people benefit from some sense of structure. Whether that structure comes from a consistent schedule, or even just a consistency in how we feel and how our friends and family behave from day to day - structure is soothing on one of the deepest levels we know.
Most inpatient or partial inpatient psych programs rely on a schedule - including everything from times to eat and sleep to times to talk about what we're going through in group or individual therapy. Often, when we are in a time of increased symptoms or anxiety, our therapists will recommend we stick to a relatively consistent schedule.
Since structure soothes us on an instinctual level, it can provide a large amount of stress relief for us in our hardest times. Though it can be hard to implement and stick with, it can be one way in which we can take care of ourselves and help ourselves through a rough period.
So this week's questions are:
- What sort of structure and stability do you have in your life now?
- What type of structure makes you feel the safest? Is it a schedule, or is it more consistency from day to day?
- In what ways could you bring more structure to your life?
One of the major aspects of abuse is that we are shown or told that someone else's needs or wants are more important than our own. Abuse thrives on silence, particularly the silence of the abused's wants and needs. Beyond just our abusers, over time, while trying to cope with our PTSD symptoms such as insomnia, nightmares, depression, and anxiety - we forget to take some extra time to ourselves to relax and unwind.
Many of us are determined to move past our abuse and create a safe and peaceful life for ourselves, and it's not unusual that we delve so deeply into the healing process that we forget entirely that we deserve even a small vacation from the daily grind.
Pampering often gets a bad rap - that if we take even just a few minutes a day or every few days that are solely for us, that we are somehow selfish or depriving others. So rarely are people, especially survivors, encouraged to take a little pampering time to help reinvigorate ourselves for the tasks which lay ahead.
Taking even just a few minutes every few days to do something solely for yourself can give enormous amounts of relief - but it can be difficult to remember that it is okay to do so. So many of us spend years forgetting our wants and needs, it can be tough to remember that we are deserving of some time to ourselves (or with friends!) that focus on relaxation or fun.
With the holiday stress, I'm sure all of us can use a bit of pampering time, so this week, that's what we'll be discussing! :)
This week's questions are:
- How have your needs and wants been ignored by your abusers? Do you feel comfortable expressing your wants or needs to others?
- What is one of your favorite ways to relax or have fun? How could you bring some aspect of that into your life more often?
- Do you already have some time set aside for pampering? If so, what do you do?
Nightmares are a common symptom amongst survivors. Also, many survivors feel anxiety or depression around bedtime, or may experience insomnia as well. Whether it's because of our nightmares, or because of your abuse, going to sleep and getting restful sleep is something that so many of us struggle with on a daily or weekly basis.
One of the great ways to combat nightmares and bedtime anxieties is to have a soothing bedtime routine. Devoting 15-20 minutes to relaxation before bedtime is a great nightly routine to have. Putting ourselves into a calmer state of mind around bedtime can make it easier to fall asleep, and to have more restful and nightmare-free nights of sleeping. Having a consistent routine can reduce the number of nightmares you have over time, and going to bed more relaxed makes it easier for us to fall asleep.
But for many of us, finding something that can soothe us around bedtime is very difficult. It can be hard to find something that can relax you and help you get a better night's sleep. So this week we'll open the discussion up about soothing bedtime routines. Many of us have little tricks that help us relax, and discussing our methods of relaxation can often bring insight to us when we're stuck.
The most effective soothing methods tend to reach us on more than one of our senses: for example, having a soft blanket to wrap up in and having soothing music - which affects touch and hearing. Soothing things reaching us on two or more senses at the same time can have a much greater effect than just soothing one sense at a time.
Also, don't forget about your sense of smell! Scent is the sense most connected to our emotions (think about the smell of freshly baked bread, and immediately most people will have a pleasant feeling arise in them), and aromatherapy on any level can be a great addition to any soothing routine. Sometimes something as simple as a shirt that smells like someone we know, or an air freshener can make a big difference
So this week's questions are:
- Do you have a soothing routine for bedtime?
- If so, what do you do? What works best for you?
- If not, what soothing things could you do in the 15-20 minutes before sleep?
(Just realized I didn't post this last night, sorry!)
Survivors on the whole, are pretty compassionate people. We've been through some pretty horrible things, and for many of us, that means that we feel empathy or compassion towards anyone else who's going through a hard time. In this community especially, we're able to feel compassion for others, regardless of what it is they're going through. Many of us also feel that compassion towards animals, offering a similar type of protection and support to our four-legged friends.
However, something that a large amount of survivors struggle with is compassion for themselves. Whether it comes from our abusers, who told us we were horrible people, or whether it comes from feeling like a burden or from depression - many of us have a hard time remembering to be gentle and supportive with ourselves. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to see our own worth. Who we are sometimes feels so buried underneath our confusion and pain, that we can't see how we treat ourselves as opposed to others in our lives.
Many of us have or have had a different set of rules for everyone else than we have for ourselves - feeling that our own actions are less forgivable than someone else's. Those feelings, while they can help us in some regards, often hinder us just as much. We do not allow ourselves to make mistakes, though we are able to have a healthy view of other people and their mistakes. It's always harder to have perspective on a situation when you're involved in it, so that's what this week's questions are all about - self compassion and how to remember to let ourselves have some
This week's questions:
- In what ways are you not giving yourself the same compassion as others?
- In what ways do you give yourself the same compassion as others?
- What ways can you remind yourself to treat you with the same compassion as others?
I know this is a tough one this week, but don't be afraid to talk it out :)( My AnswersCollapse )