Self-care is a simple concept, but it’s not easy for everyone. I used to think taking care of myself meant paying my bills and expenses, folding my clean laundry, and stuff like that. Now I know it’s a lot more. Self-care means taking care of one’s own emotional and spiritual needs as much as any physical needs.
Steps to Self-Care
First, I had to acknowledge that I had feelings. I had suppressed my emotions for a long time. Acknowledging their existence had been too painful with an abusive husband, so I convinced myself I felt nothing. After I successfully left my ex-husband, therapy and support groups helped me get in touch with my feelings. It hurt, but I learned strategies to manage my PTSD symptoms and cope with my strong emotions.
Second, I had to consider that I deserved to care for myself fully. In part because I hadn’t found self forgiveness, I didn’t think I was worthy of being nice to myself until recently. I still struggle with this sense of worthiness, but I have committed to self-care. (I have told myself, as a backup, that I will care for myself even if I don’t think I earned it. A lot of people get more than they deserve, I figure, why can’t I?)
Third, I had to learn a lot of ways I can care for myself. I still add new tactics to my list.
Fourth, I had to remember to care for myself. I had such a habit of ignoring my emotional needs that I had a hard time remembering to practice self-care. Even after I thought to care for myself, I often couldn’t think of specific actions because I was overwhelmed by my emotions.
I made a list. I have a few versions of my self-care list around my house. I also keep a version on my phone and another in cloud storage. Now when I’m overcome with dread, anger, sadness, or hopelessness, I reach for one of my lists and pick a tactic.
My 10 Main Self-Care Tactics
Spread the Love
Share your go-to self-care habits in the comments below. I’m excited to see the ways you meet your emotional needs. I hope I see some new ones for my own list!
Do you know anyone who might benefit from this post? I’d appreciate it so much if you shared it with them.
Rebecca encourages survivors of domestic to speak about their experiences and to lean on each other for support.