I struggled with self-care for a long time. It wasn’t an easy task for me. Back then, I was solely focused on numbing myself. I was in too much pain and too ashamed of what had happened to me. It hurt too much to think about it. In the process, I had completely disconnected from myself, my body, and my needs.
What helped was when I learned about the long-term impact of trauma, what the long term impact of toxic stress on my body. I could easily see how the abuse I suffered made me not want to talk about the past, feel my feelings, or want to take care of my body. But what was invisible to me was how the toxic stress from my childhood was still fueling the high level of cortisol in my body. The high levels of stress hormones in the body can create and contribute to long-term problems with our heart and our blood vessels. This information became a complete game changer for me.
I had to start to practice good self-care to help my body counter the years of living with toxic levels of stress in my body. My body was my vehicle for living a good life. I needed a healthy body if I was going to heal and restore. I was not sure how but I knew I wanted to experience feeling good about myself.
Adding self-care to my life was difficult because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted and needed. I was really hard on myself about it too. It was embarrassing. I was a grown woman but I didn’t know how to care for myself in a loving way. However, I was very skilled at taking care of family and friends. I knew what they needed and I would go out of my way to make sure those needs were met. I always put them first, often at the expense of my own self-care. But I realized I could learn from the acts that I already performed daily for others. I just needed to turn them inward.
Self-care begins with awareness. Pay attention to what works, what doesn’t work, and what needs to be tweaked in your life. Check in with yourself daily: How am I doing, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially? Use some kind of scale and track it. (Example: 1 is feeling really low, 10 is feeling really good.)
The best way to start is by making a list:
Seems like a tall order, doesn’t it? It did to me at first. With a busy work life and a family of five, I had no time in my day for taking care of “me.”
But I was determined to do this, so I kept trying. I was especially motivated to not let the past take any more from my present life. It is my life now, my future that I was investing in. I knew it was my responsibility now to choose things that were good for me.
Then an amazing thing happened. I began to feel better about myself. I was shocked to discover self-care was helping me heal. It was actually the piece that helped with integrating all the things that I already knew about healing.
Slowly, I started to treat myself with the respect and love I deserved. And it felt good...really good. After a few ups and downs with my self-care practice, I learned what worked for me. I gave myself 12 months, a whole year, to implement a new healthy habit. It has taken a few years but now I do some form of exercise 5 times per week. I drink plenty of water every day. I meditate consistently, I keep track of my sleep, and I eat 3 healthy meals every single day. My self-care journey was just as challenging as my emotional and mental health journey but I have to say it was the most rewarding. I know I have helped reverse some of the long-term health effects my trauma has caused. I finally get to feel good in my body, no longer feel at war with my mind, safely have my feelings, and feel good about taking care of all of it.
You can do this too. It does take time but you are worth it. Make today the day you take those first steps toward your own self-care. It won’t feel comfortable at first, but keep trying. You’ll be glad you did! And if you are looking for guidance or support with self-care or a community of others working on creating healthier habits, please check out my new online self-care community!
Ready to tackle self-care? Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. I can help! Just follow (this link) or call 619-889-6366 to reserve a one-hour coaching session with me ($175). Let me help you understand the impact of trauma and how to start your healing journey. You deserve it! Reserve your spot NOW!
Have you read my new book, “Releasing Your Authentic Self”? If you’re ready to do the deep, hard work of emotional healing, this book is for YOU!! You’ll find it at Amazon in paperback (link) or Kindle (link). Enjoy and happy reading!
Are you looking for more support? I have created a closed Facebook group for the readers of “Releasing Your Authentic Self” If you are ready to dig deep, and want to experience the daily support, encouragement from others like you. Follow this link to learn more: Releasing Your Authentic Self Support Group.
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