No matter where an individual is at in their healing process, self-care can help manage the effects of living as an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Self-care involves putting your own needs first and participating in activities that make you happy. It also involves practicing healthy behaviors and surrounding yourself with individuals that support you and contribute to your positivity. Self-care can be physical or emotional in nature, and every individual’s self-care practices will be different.1
Physical self-care involves keeping your body in the best condition you can, in order to be ready for whatever comes next. Strong physical health can help you recover from being emotionally drained and may lead to a variety of other health benefits.
There are many examples of self-care
- Good sleep: Getting adequate amounts of sleep can help your body recharge and be strong for the next hurdle that you may need to face. Getting to bed early and following a routine may help lead to better overall sleep patterns and quality.
- Eating well: The food we eat provides us with our fuel. Eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables as opposed to lots of processed foods and sugars will help keep our energy levels up and our bodies in good condition.
- Exercise: Exercise makes our body physically strong. Exercise also produces endorphins and can lead to improvements in mood. Finding exercise activities that you enjoy or engaging in your exercise routine with a friend may be an added boost.
- Finding activities that you love: Finding hobbies, activities, or routines that provide you with stability, fun, or peace may help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated whenever you participate in them.
Emotional self-care efforts focus on your mind and mental health
Emotional self-care involves keeping your mind and mental health in the best condition you can. Examples of emotional self-care include, but are not limited to:
- Finding activities that you love: Just like when practicing physical self-care, finding and regularly participating in activities that make you happy may improve your mindset.
- Journaling: Keeping a journal, whether it be daily, weekly, monthly, or whatever schedule you can keep up, can help you track your emotions. It can also help you find patterns in the way you’re thinking, feeling, and experiencing the world. Keeping a journal is also an excellent way to release any frustrating, confusing, or debilitating emotions.
- Meditating: Practicing meditation or mindfulness may help quiet your mind and allow you to gain a strong perception on what you need. Practicing meditation or mindfulness can be based on whatever schedule you feel comfortable with and can help you identify and combat mental and emotional health issues you may be struggling with.
- Surrounding yourself with positive people: The people we keep around us have an impact on the way we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Keeping positive family, friends, or other supportive individuals around you may have a direct impact on your mental wellbeing.1
- Self-Care After Trauma. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). https://www.rainn.org/articles/self-care-after-trauma. Accessed December 27, 2017.