For a long time, I thought self-care was a routine that meant you took care of yourself. I never really thought much past that. Other than it being important and necessary to maintaining yourself. Sure, it means that but in the terms of recovery self-care takes on another meaning. When you’re recovering from childhood sexual abuse there is an intense period of uncertainty, crying, anger, hurt, self-loathing, shame, and guilt; self-care becomes vital to the continuation of this recovery journey.
When I first started this journey, I mentioned my abuse one time. I seriously believed I would never mention it again for the rest of my life. That changed when I got pregnant- fears, flashbacks, and triggers were at every turn. I knew right then recovery and healing (I believe recovery and healing are 2 different things. When I travel deeper and deeper through this, I will share with you.) from my childhood abuse was absolutely necessary to change the path I was on. (Want more on my pregnancy journey and the things I learned? Click here.)
Deep diving into something like this puts you into a spiral. Everything is all consuming on how you can heal, what you can read, who you can talk to, what you can talk about, analyzing everyone and everything, sometimes you forget how to take care of yourself because you literally through yourself in the middle of the f*cking storm forgetting what it means. Forgetting what it brings up, forgetting the emotions, forgetting the fears until you’re in the middle of the storm thinking: WTF did I get myself into? When that moment hits you realize you went from pretending it never happened to a full fledge recovery junky.
All of sudden your body feels overwhelmed, exhausted let alone how you emotionally and mentally feel. When this moment happens, you know it’s time to start kicking in self-care. Truthfully, it’s better to do it before this moment, but sometimes we have to spiral into the chaos to know when to slow down. Without jumping into the chaos, myself, I wouldn’t have known what it was like to jump a little too deep too quickly. During this time, I learned some serious self-care as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
If you too are on this journey, please know any type of self-care is vital to your recovery journey. I wanted to share what I learned and did so you don’t have to get hit with “storm exhaustion”.
6 Self-Care Ideas to Help You on the Road of Recovery
Rest. This is so important to anyone but it’s especially important for anyone on a road of recovery. When you’re feeling emotionally or mentally drained, it’s important to rest because you don’t want to lash out on people who might be trying to help. You don’t want the recovery to pour down on your life that it causes more chaos than intended. Rest so you can go to work or school or enjoy yourself. Just because your battling out baggage doesn’t mean you have to be miserable or make everyone else, around you, miserable. Rest. This will help you move through everything you’re going through.
Take breaks. You don’t always have to think about the things you’ve been through. Give yourself permission to laugh, to enjoy a movie, hang out with friends or whatever you. Don’t think you have to be stuck in recovery mode all the time. It actually helps you recover faster and helps you gain more insights about your recovery when you take a moment to breathe or just not think too much.
Relax. This might seem like it should go with rest but I don’t think so. Rest, to me, means sleeping or meditating, laying down. Relaxing, to me, is like watching TV, taking a nice bath, drinking coffee. Doing whatever helps you feel good or be in the moment. This will help you mentally prepare for whatever you’re dealing with. It’s important to do this, when you can hear your inner self say things like: I just want to sit down, I don’t want to do this today, give it a rest. When you feel that way, listen. That’s super important. It’s your intuition telling you to give yourself a break. Listen to your intuition it’s never wrong.
Don’t beat yourself up for being emotional. I don’t know about you, but in my house, it was never okay to have certain emotions. Especially if there was crying involved. (In my house, crying was for no one! There wasn’t a double standard growing up.) When it comes to this type of recovery crying is like second nature. You’re crying because of what happened, because you’re angry, because people don’t understand, because of fear, because you’re crying you cry more. The worst thing, as I learned, is to beat yourself up for having emotions over what happened. It’s not your fault that it happened but now you’re taking back your power by recovering and healing, and that sh*t isn’t easy. It’s okay to be emotional. To have some tears to have some meltdowns. I had tons of them. (I would be lying if I said I don’t have them anymore.) It’s completely okay. It doesn’t mean you’re not strong or you can’t do it. It just means you’re going through it. It’s okay. Allow yourself to be okay with being emotional.
Call in the support crew. This might be hard if you haven’t told anyone. I believe it’s important to have at least one support person. (If you need some help with telling people, check this blog out.) This person or people are vital to your success during your journey of recovery and healing. They can be there for you no matter what. Make sure it’s someone that understands you may not want to talk about it, but you just need someone around. Don’t be afraid to call them in. Because sometimes it gets pretty lonely especially when you don’t know if anyone has been through the same thing. Call your people. They will help you.
Make self-care a habit. This is the part where it includes taking yourself on a date, going to the movies, putting on your make up, doing your hair etc. Do things that feel good to you. I’ve learned some of things I used to do as self-care I can’t do anymore. Not because it was bad but it didn’t feel good to me. Be aware of that. You do change every time you heal another layer of being abused. So be willing to accept the change.
Self-care is vital for anyone. It’s important to put yourself first, even if you’re a mother. Taking care of yourself will ultimately trickle down to everyone else around you. It will help others heal. It will help others see your worth because you take your worth seriously. Recovery from childhood sexual abuse is a long battle that seems like it will never end, which is why it’s important to take care of yourself when you’re right in the middle of the storm. This will help you last longer and help you keep going when you feel like giving up or things have become too much to deal with. As you might know, recovery from childhood sexual abuse isn’t for the faint of heart. Self-care is one of the best ways to keep yourself strong.
If you have questions, can relate or want to share your story, comment below. Let’s connect.