This week’s self care ideas are to help you support yourself with trauma (big T and little t – telling yourself that others have been through worse won’t help you heal as much as paying attention to what YOU need, be that time and space, therapy or something else).
The above ideas are to help you connect with your own inner resourcefulness. That expansive, part of yourself.
It might be that you go back and forth between all of them.
a) If you feel like you’ll never get over it, please reach out for support. We humans are amazingly resilient. The idea of post traumatic growth may feel laughable but with time and healing, it’s possible that you might look back with pride in yourself for being so strong and brave, even when you felt anything but. Notice if the things you’re doing are helping you or making things worse and know that you can get through this. Trauma is one of my specialisms (READ MORE…) and while online work might not be enough for you at this time, there will be fantastic face to face options for support near you.
b) When I think back to all the things and feelings I didn’t talk about for so long (even through years of therapy), I feel so sad for Younger Me. I was so ashamed. But, as Brene Brown’s work on shame and vulnerability being essential components to whole hearted living demonstrates, while it’s scary to voice – even to ourselves, sometimes – how we feel, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You might want to journal and burn the pages afterwards. You might want to scream underwater as you swim lengths or shout into a pillow. There are so many options and while you’re braver than you think, you don’t have to do anything that isn’t right for you.
c) Sometimes, glimmers of hope, laughing, feeling yourself again (if the trauma was at an age where you remember being happier beforehand) can feel encouraging. Other times not. As well as seeking support, you might want to spend a little time thinking about an ideal future, when you’ve integrated this trauma and pain and are stronger than ever. You might describe it aloud to yourself or journal it, as if it’s already a reality for you.
d) Even thinking the worst is over can be triggering when such thoughts set of the amygdala (alarm bell of the brain) and we wonder if maybe it isn’t and catastrophise about fresh horrors and pain. This is totally normal. We’re wired to think ‘snake!’ rather than ‘twig’ as it’s a stronger survival mechanism to worry about what’s safe than ignore danger. We’re also wired to remember traumatic memories more intensely than, eg, that wonderful afternoon way back when.
With trauma, post traumatic stress, PTSD, we can get caught in a vicious circle and our whole physiology stays hypervigilant, unable to heal and relax. I’m not saying this to alarm you further but to say there are lots of things – including trauma sensitive yoga (READ MORE…) – that can help you help yourself.
Grounding is one of the fastest ways to connect with the present, safe, moment and come back into our breath and bodies. Even if it hasn’t felt safe enough to be embodied in the past, feeling the soles of the feet on the ground, inhaling as you tense the thighs and exhaling as you release are simple ways to get back into your body, connect with your breath with a little movement, which can feel safer than connecting with the breath in complete stillness.
I recommend this to my yoga students in case they’re struggling to relax into Savasana. It’s a way to connect and honour your needs and not very obtrusive so others are unlikely to notice. You can even do it under a dinner table or at a meeting.
Other ways to ground include looking around you and mentally (or aloud if you’re alone) naming five things you can see, eg chair, bike, table, rug, painting.
If yoga appeals, you can access free videos to some grounding poses and exercises I made as book bonuses – click HERE – I especially recommend Warrior II, Tree, the Grounding and Centring (see below, too) and Forward Folds – also Downward Dog (walking the dog option for extra movement).
Am recommending several books to help when working with trauma this week. You can view more below:
I hope you’ll find my suggestions for crystals to support you helpful – and I always love hearing what works best for you.
How do you feel as you imagine yourself strong, happy and well? In your imagination, in an ideal world, how do you look? What else can you see around you? How do you feel? What are the strongest emotions you’re aware of? Any sounds? What are you telling yourself? What are others (if there) saying? Any tastes or smells? Other sensations? Make it as vivid as possible for yourself and maybe journal any insights you come up with. You are already whole, no matter how broken you feel. Let your unconscious mind and inner wisdom guide you.
If you’re feeling affected by trauma and would like my help in connecting to that more resourceful, empowered, whole part of yourself – even you READING this is a big step. There’s a part of you that’s already whole and well – you’ll find out more about my trauma therapy HERE
If online trauma therapy isn’t for you and you’re not local to Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland or Colchester, Essex, there are also lots of therapists and others who can support you in making your recovery that bit easier.
And if you are further along in your recovery and want support in turning what you’ve been through into a way to shine more brightly to help others, my Persephone Coaching, Therapy and Supervision services may be of interest (click HERE)
There’s a lot you can do for yourself and I hope these tips and recommendations and tools will help.
As ever, I welcome your questions and comments.