self-care-in-recovery

Self-Care Is Critical for Thriving

Self-care. Self-love. Selfishness.

 

I used to believe that these three words were related because I didn’t understand why caring for yourself and loving yourself were important. I spent many years neglecting and harming my body, hating myself, and being miserable as a result. However, through my journey of healing I have found self-care and self-love to be vital not only for existing, but for thriving.

 

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety about five years ago. My psychiatrist worked with me to find the right medication to treat them both. Since then, I have been in and out of counseling and this year, I was diagnosed with PTSD due to the abuse and rape I suffered from my ex-fiancé. PTSD has come with its own new challenges apart from my anxiety and depression. It has taken all I am to fight against its persistent symptoms every day. Self-love and self-care have played a huge part in my healing process.

 

For me, self-care has been a trial and error process. I am still learning the best ways to care for myself with grace and love. People don’t come with “How To” manuals like toys do. Everyone was created in a specific way with different personality types, different trauma, and different experiences. Self-care isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of thing. It takes time and patience.

 

I have found several ways to care for myself so that I feel safe, recharged, and ready to face a new day or situation. Some of them include:

 

  1. Taking a nap
  2. Reading my Bible
  3. Praying
  4. Coloring in my coloring book with brightly colored markers
  5. Listening to music
  6. Taking time on my makeup in the morning
  7. Painting my nails
  8. Taking a relaxing bath
  9. Buying ice cream when I get a craving for it
  10. Calling my mom and telling her about my day

 

These are just a few of my favorite ways to care for myself. I am very self-aware and usually know what I need, when I need it. If I have a panic attack or can’t seem to calm down, I try these things until one works. Sometimes it takes time and that can be frustrating, which is why self-care requires so much patience and grace. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to hurt and okay to feel my feelings. I remind myself that my feelings are valid and I am allowed to feel them. I am allowed to be angry with the man who abused and raped me. Sometimes self-care is just letting myself cry about what happened, and sometimes it’s reminding myself that I am worthy of love.

 

The best advice I can give anyone trying to learn how to love and care for themselves is this: be patient and celebrate little victories. Healing takes time. Reprogramming your brain to think loving thoughts about yourself takes time. So be patient. When you start to put self-care into practice- even in little ways- celebrate that! Do not sell yourself short! You are taking steps and moving forward and doing your best to win over your past. You are a survivor. You are a warrior. You are brave. You survived one of the most painful and damaging things, so cut yourself some slack, you’re doing just fine.

blogger   Skyler Fuller

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