By Cat Etherington and Fran Hopwood of Naked Truth Recovery
Self-care is about doing things that are good for you.
Self-soothing is about doing things that feel good.
Both are important and necessary tools for healing from betrayal trauma. However, it is important to develop your available self-care strategies to avoid becoming dependent on self-soothing alone. Having a good self-care plan can prevent you from falling into problematic coping strategies.
Positive self-care focuses on your whole being and gives attention to mind, body, heart and soul. Choosing a balance of activities from each of these four groups (PIES) below can help you achieve this:
- Physical (BODY): activities can improve your health and wellbeing e.g. getting enough sleep, eating well
- Intellectual (MIND): activities for interest or learning e.g. reading, education, doing a crossword
- Emotional (HEART): healthy activities that improve how you are feeling e.g. phoning a friend for support, seeing a counsellor,
- Spiritual (SOUL): activities that lift your spirit or support your values or beliefs e.g. prayer, meditation.
Sometimes (for example, during the Christmas season) it can be hard to focus on your needs, so it helps to have a plan already prepared. Here is a downloadable example plan for some ideas of how you could plan your self-care daily, weekly and at other times.
Use this blank sheet to make a list of things you can do to care for you. Try to have a good balance of self-care activities in all four categories. Be realistic but challenge yourself to consider your own needs first.
Reviewing Your Self-Care Plan
Many women are used to caring for others first and find it difficult to focus on their own self-care. Here are a few questions you can use to help you prepare yourself before you try out your plan:
- How does your plan cross the four PIES areas in a way that meets your current needs?.
- What resources do you need or are there any bookings you need to make?
- Who do you need help from?
- How ready are you ?
- What are your self-care challenges (money/time etc)? How might you overcome them?
This blog post was first published as a Whole Hearted program topic group developed as a follow-up to the "Why Does It Hurt So Bad?!" webinar. "Why Does it Hurt So Bad" can be obtained for free by joining the mailing list via the pop up that first-time visitors to Naked Truth Recovery's Whole Hearted program receive. Another webinar, entitled "Self Care - A Deeper Look" is available for purchase on the Whole Hearted vimeo archive.