Finding Healing Through Self-Care
It’s no secret that all of us at some point have been worn out, exhausted, and drained. But what is surprising is how some people after hitting this low point seem to bounce right back as if nothing ever happened. Somehow these people find healing faster.
So what’s the secret that these bounce back people know that the rest of us don’t?
It’s this: self-care. And here’s how to learn it too.
What is self-care
The oxford dictionary describes self-care as:
- “The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”
But my favorite description is from Lalah Delia:
- “Self-care is how you take your power back.”
Delia’s words are especially powerful in the context of self-care for survivors of domestic abuse.
See, domestic abuse is really about holding power and control over another person. DA (domestic abuse) is not simply the use of physical force or coercion. It’s taking someone’s internal and external power away from them.
(*A lot of people get confused about the signs of domestic abuse, the definition of domestic abuse, and even about domestic abuse statistics. But to learn more about the real definition and meaning of domestic abuse, check out our article here: What is Domestic Abuse? )
But while domestic abuse strives to take away your power, self-care is one of the strongest forces in helping you regain your power. After trauma; stress; and burnout; self-care is the force that heals and rebuilds your emotional and physical wellbeing.
Why Self-Care Is Important
To be clear, with domestic abuse, gaining physical and emotional safety is the crucial first step to healing and to regaining your power. And depending on your situation, it may take several steps to secure this safety for yourself and those around you.
So, before you can fully jump into self-care, you must be fully safe. But after you’ve gained that safety, self-care is one of the next essential steps of the healing process.
Why? Because self-care rebuilds your emotional and physical wellbeing. And by self-care rebuilding your emotional and physical wellbeing, it helps you keep up healthy relationships with other people in your life and helps you reconnect with the world around you.
This makes self-care an essential step. One you can’t skip because you simply cannot give your whole self to your life and your loved ones until your whole self is fully healed.
How to start self care
1. MOVE FROM LAST TO FIRST
Once you’ve secured your safety from domestic abuse, to start self-care, you have to move from feeling last to feeling first. Your abusive relationship and traumatic past put you in last place, so now it’s time to put yourself in first place. And once you put yourself first, you can start creating your own happiness.
And we know this is easier said than done. Even after domestic abuse, life still gets busy, and you probably do not think you have time for self-care. You’re probably thinking, “I don’t have time to put myself first with everything else I have going on.”
But the truth is, putting yourself first, before anything else, will help you succeed like you’ve never seen before. Putting yourself first, instead of last, will actually help you get all of those things on your to-do list done faster and better. Yes, it may take time to see the progress, but, trust me, it will show.
2. MOVE INTO A ROUTINE
After moving from last to first, the next thing to do is to create a routine. Making this self-care routine can be easier said than done, but it helps so much to start small and then build up. Even just starting with a 5 minute routine will help you on the road to healing.
And once you get a solid 5 min routine, trust me, it’s a lot easier to create a 10 min one and then a 20 min one and on and on.
So to help you start, here’s some of our best quick routine tips.
10 SELF-CARE ROUTINE IDEAS:
Take a 15 min nap
Say 2 positive affirmations to yourself
Ask 1 person for help (even if it’s just someone at the grocery store)
Set 1 daily goal
Journal for 10 mins
Spend 5 mins breathing deeply
Exercise for 15 mins
Spend 10 mins reading a book
Take a 30 min bath
Listen to music for 10 mins
Bonus Idea (and my personal favorite):
Spend 30 mins wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket
And once you get used to a small routine, you can grow your routine into bigger and bigger self-care tasks like:
Walking away from stressful or triggering situations
Distancing yourself from negative people
Joining a weekly social group or support group (online groups count! Plus, here’s info about our support groups: Defy Domestic Abuse Support Groups)
Bonus Idea (and what’s changed my life):
Surrounding yourself with positive people
Of course, these are only just a few tips and comforts that you can try to start your self-care routine. So take these, experiment with them, make them your own, and find what works best for you and your lifestyle!
Honestly, it took me a long time to figure out a self-care routine that really worked for me. But once I did, life got better and I got stronger. And trust me, no matter how long it takes, creating a self-care routine will make you stronger, just like it did for me.
Self-care leads to self-healing
Sometimes it can feel overwhelming trying to start self-care. But please remember, it’s so hard for people in domestic abuse to leave. So regardless of what you think of your self-care habits:
If you've left abuse, you should be incredibly proud of yourself.
If you’re working on leaving, you should be incredibly proud of yourself.
If you’re thinking about leaving, you should be incredibly proud of yourself.
And if you have yet to leave, you can do it! We all believe in you, and we’re already proud of you!
You are important, and Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit is here 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to help you move from being put last to being put first, to help you move from self-hurt to self-care, to help you move from heart-struck to heart-strong.
\ 24hr call line: (608) 365-1119