Where Do We Go From Here? Self-Care in the Wake of Trauma

By | 2017-12-14T21:09:25+00:00 December 6th, 2017|

In the last blog, I wrote about how we are effected by trauma and grief, and the different ways people experience trauma. Today I will be focusing on self-care, why it is important, and some different ways to take care of yourself.

 HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MYSELF?

 Great question! There are many ways to take care of yourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Additionally, there may be something that works great for you today, but tomorrow isn’t very helpful. That’s why I like to make a list of all of the things that might work, so when you’re struggling your list is already created and you can keep trying something until you find one that works.

PHYSICALLY

  • Eat, sleep and try to keep to your daily routine
    • This is probably the most important thing of all.
    • Your brain cannot function at its optimal capacity with lack of food and sleep.
    • This will definitely effect your mood and physical well-being.
  • Take a walk
    • This does not have to be a long walk. You can start with 100 steps. Then as you feel ready add more steps each time.
  • Dance
    • Turn on some music and dance by yourself or with someone else. Just let loose and go with the music
  • Swim or Take a Bath
    • Water can be very soothing. For some people, movement is helpful. For others, they may just want to relax and soak in the warm water.
      • You can also add some essential oils like lavender for a more relaxing experience
    • Bike ride
      • Just feeling the wind and air is sometimes very freeing and allows one to let go of tension.
    • Gardening
      • Many people talk about how therapeutic this is for them.
    • Make a smoothie or warm drink
      • Each person has their own preference, but this is often very comforting.
    • Do something for others
      • Studies have shown that when you give to others, it increases your level of happiness

EMOTIONALLY

  • Write in a journal
    • Getting your feelings on paper sometimes helps
    • Write 3 things you’re grateful for each day at the same time
  • Listen to music that is soothing and makes you feel good
    • Make a playlist of songs that make you happy, so you can go directly to that and not have to search out songs when you’re having a hard time
  • Look at photos that have brought you joy and comfort in the past
    • Being able to look back at good memories helps your brain rewire itself to happier times
  • Connecting with friends or family to help support you
    • Lean on friends and family and do something you enjoy with them
  • Create balance in your life
    • This is so important, and again, looks different for everyone
    • Notice if you’re spending too much time watching TV or on the internet or social media.
      • These things definitely have a large effect on your mental well-being.
    • Get support from a trained counselor
      • Being able to talk about your experience with a trained professional will help you to process what happened and then be able to move forward

SPIRITUALLY

  • Meditation/Mindfulness
    • This can be so many different things. You can sit quietly and meditate, go for a mindful walk, listen to a pre-recorded guided meditation, and many others
  • Attend a church or temple service of your faith
    • A place of worship is very healing for some.
  • Yoga
    • There are special restorative yoga classes that helps your body and mind heal
  • Burn candles/incense/essential oils
    • Different scents are often very calming when you’re feeling anxious, sad, or upset.
  • Read a book that brings your inspiration
    • Poetry books, inspirational quotes, and books that focus on healing are often helpful

Many people, far and wide, have suffered and experienced so many different reactions as a result of the tragic events in Las Vegas. You should never have to suffer alone. There is always someone out there to listen to you, no matter what time it is.

Two wonderful resources I also refer to are:

Crisis Text Line

Text 741741 and write Hello in subject line

They will carry on a texting conversation with you as long as you need

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

800-273-TALK (8255)

You can call 24/7/365 and there will always be someone to listen to

You do not have to be suicidal to call. Anyone who needs someone to talk to can call

Please feel free to reach out to me or any of our clinicians at Engage for any local resources in Ventura County.

Norine VanderHooven is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been in the mental health field for over 30 years. She graduated from USC with her Masters in Social Work. She is currently in private practice full time at Engage in Westlake Village. Norine specializes in trauma, crisis, depression, and anxiety. Norine is trained in EMDR, and is passionate about working with children, teens, and adults using EMDR. She is She is on the strategic and social media team of American Association of Suicidology and often presents on suicide prevention and risk assessment. She feels privileged to be able to help people on their journey in discovering their authentic self, and working through any challenges they might be experiencing. In her spare time, Norine loves spending time with her family and their dog, as well as getting to San Diego whenever possible.