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It’s the beginning of the year, and a good time to reflect on our emotional and mental health. We’ve set goals and committed to improving ourselves, but how do we maintain those changes in moments of crisis? How can we practice grounding ourselves all year round? We deeply understand the repercussions of trauma, victimization, and the overwhelming flood of unsettling emotions that tag along with it. We also understand how at times, in the midst of processing our trauma, we forget how to put ourselves first. That being said, there is a lot of healing that can be found through self-care and we want to make sure that you know about some of the ways to get started!
But first, by definition, it is essential to remember that self-care can mean many different things to many different people. What may work for someone else might not necessarily work for you, and that is okay. We recommend finding what works for you and committing yourself to practicing it all year. Self-care is a great way to reflect and focus on you as you move toward healing.
Here are some ideas and tips for self-care that we’ve either suggested to each other and/or have discovered work for us:
- Grounding Exercises – This helps in moments of high anxiety and panic
- Breathe slowly and steadily from your core. Imagine letting go of whatever fear is consuming you.
- Meditate OR use distractions and background noise such as sounds of nature like flowing water, singing birds, or even a soft melody to help you settle down.
- Imagining yourself in a familiar and comfortable space. Take in how safe it feels.
- List 5 positive things in your life and keep this list somewhere you can read everyday.
- Wiggle your fingers/tap your feet. Pay close attention to the movements. You are in control of your body.
- Take a look outside and counting cars, flowers, trees.
- Think about a day when you didn’t have much anxiety. Remember how it felt to be less anxious, and ask yourself what you can change.
- Self-compassion guided meditation– take a self-compassion break and explore these mediations. Go easy on yourself, and explore what it means to accept your shortcomings: http://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/#
- Journal – This may help if you don’t want to talk about what happened or just wish to process what you’re going through in silence and safety.
- Call a loved one – Someone you feel comfortable talking to. This is a good way to distract your mind.
- Get comfortable and secure – Wrap yourself in a blanket, or get cozy on the couch to feel more secure.
- Turn off your phone or step away from the computer for an entire day.
- Cultivate an environment of encouragement. Tell a person at work or at home that you appreciate them. They may return the favor.
- Learn a new hobby like sewing or cooking. Self sufficiency has proven to have benefits for mental health.
- Take a time out of your day to exercise or go for a walk listening to music you love.
- Write positive affirmations on sticky notes and place them around your desk or your bedroom.
- Watch funny animal videos on Youtube, like this one: https://youtu.be/6w2UxDdhZPk
Our hope at DCVH is to encourage you to begin self-care rituals that will help get you through this new year, and to remind you that it’s never too late to start.