On the Healing Journey: How to Engage in Self-Care for Trauma
An abusive parent. A gruesome car accident. A sexual assault. Whether they happened just yesterday or several years ago, these all represent different types of traumatic events. Any combination of traumatic experiences can result in a range of physical and emotional symptoms that can seriously impact your health.
Healing from trauma can get complicated, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for recovery. With that in mind, learning and practicing healthy self-care for trauma is an essential part of regaining a sense of empowerment and self-esteem.
Build A Healthy Support Network
It is normal to isolate and withdraw from others after a traumatic event. You may feel unsteady and unsafe around people. You may feel nervous about leaving home in general.
While you may need to keep your distance from specific people, it’s crucial to keep open lines of communication. This is a time to reach out to friends and family. Having support in the aftermath of trauma is vital for your well-being. In addition to reaching out to loved ones, you may want to consider joining a support group or seeking professional help.
Trauma can be an undoubtedly lonely experience. Talking about it may also feel uncomfortable. However, having people who believe in you makes for an easier healing process. The more you feel connected to others, the more likely you are to feel worthy and deserving of growth.
Honor Your Physical Health
Some trauma will impact your physical body- either directly or indirectly. And, while you may not feel any motivation to eat well or exercise when you’re feeling down, it’s crucial to keep your body nourished and strong. Your physical health and emotional health are interconnected. If you don’t take care of yourself, your symptoms of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem may worsen.
While you may not be able to control your emotions right now, you can control how you treat your body. Aim to eat a well-rounded diet and drink plenty of water. Move your body regularly. Establish a healthy sleep schedule. These habits will help maintain your energy levels, which can help you feel more balanced and confident throughout the day.
Just remember to be kind to yourself. You don’t need to do everything perfectly, and honoring your physical health shouldn’t feel torturous.
Allow Yourself To Relax
Trauma can leave you in a fragile, hypervigilant, and anxious state of mind. Consequently, your body may feel restless and tense. You may find it difficult to sleep, interact with others, or even concentrate on basic tasks.
Relaxation is one of the significant cornerstones of trauma healing. Learning how to relax can help reduce common trauma symptoms of ruminating thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, and destructive feelings of guilt and shame.
There are many relaxation strategies you can practice, and you may need to engage in a trial-and-error process to find the ones that best work for you. Some options include:
- Mindfulness exercises (deep breathing, meditation)
- Body work (yoga, acupuncture, massages)
- Pleasurable hobbies and activities
- Creative expression (journaling, art, music)
Trauma can cause even the most resilient people to experience profound feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, and incompetence. Unfortunately, this compromised self-esteem can stunt the recovery process.
Remember that you need to be your biggest ally during this time. You are not a product of your circumstances. You can heal, and you are deserving of healing. The healing may not be linear, but it is possible, and you can conquer this stressful time in your life.
Remind yourself often that you are worthy of love and a meaningful life. If you find yourself struggling with such affirmations, you may want to consider trauma-informed therapy. Therapy can help you identify how your trauma has impacted you, and it can also help you feel supported and empowered during this time.
Why Self-Care For Trauma Matters
Self-care for trauma isn’t just about getting a pedicure or watching your favorite TV show (although it may certainly include those activities!). Self-care is about honoring your internal and external needs. It’s about standing up to your trauma, no matter how hard it may seem.
Your road to recovery may be paved with challenges and obstacles, but you can heal. Are you feeling stuck with your process? Do you feel like nobody understands what’s truly going on? Do you worry that things are never going to get better?
At Willow Counseling, we specialize in trauma recovery, and we can help you. Contact us today to learn more about our therapy services or to schedule your first session.
Willow Counseling, PLLC, Nashville, TN
Willow Counseling, PLLC exists to provide quality trauma-informed mental health counseling to the Nashville community, recognizing the interconnectedness of our emotional, spiritual and physical selves. We work together to alleviate symptoms, learn better coping skills, relieve burdens, remove the pain of trauma, and so much more. However, our greatest desire is for you to know what it means to feel purpose and joy again and to recognize the strength and worth you have to offer the world.