Self-care after trauma is an absolute necessity. Just like a car without any gas in its tank; we cannot run on empty. Not only is self-care necessary for you, but it is necessary for those around you as well. We are more energetic, compassionate, patient, loving, and connected to others when our tank is full and we are feeling restored. When we are more thoughtful to ourselves, not only do we have a healthier mindset, but we are better people for those around us.
As you learn about yourself and become more aware of your limits and what you are capable of, I hope you continue to challenge yourself to engage in activities that may not always seem pleasant, but that can have a long-lasting effect on your mental health and the way you approach different situations. Here are 10 more things you can do for yourself that require a higher effort, but will have the biggest impact on your life as you make self-care a habit. Remember to pace yourself; but also challenge yourself to not rule something out just because it seems hard or overwhelming. Remember. Practice. Try.
Say no to something that is causing you distress
Try to not cancel plans last minute. This can be a difficult one; but try to remind yourself of how great you felt after getting home from something you followed through with – think about the memories that you’re going to create.
Rearrange your room or living area
Try a new form of exercise that you’ve never done (maybe swimming, martial arts, or rock climbing)
Volunteer for an organization that helps with an issue you’re passionate about
Write a letter to your younger self
Learn a new skill
Experiment with a new hair color, plan a tattoo, or engage in other body modification ideas that you’ve been wanting to try
Start journaling regularly
Set boundaries with people in your life that tend to compromise your efforts
If you are able and want to take it even one step further to make larger and more impactful changes in your life, here are some additional suggestions:
Plan to change that job/relationship that’s been a detriment to your mental health
End that toxic relationship that is ruining your self-esteem
Get a new pet or look into training a service animal
Look into your resources to get out of an unsafe situation. Click here for local options to help you change your circumstances.
As with any self-help strategy, not all suggestions work for everyone. I encourage you to explore these things; even if they don’t feel like they are having a big effect. Continue to practice some sort of self-care strategy to help you achieve that status of healing. Success takes effort and there will be satisfaction in embarking on this journey for yourself. Click here if you feel you need to talk with a professional to help you manage your trauma experience.
Madison Parnell is a Graduate Student Intern with the Mindly Group studying Mental Health Counseling.