Working off Cat and Fran's self-care, PIES model from last week, some seasonal self-care tips for those of us with betrayal trauma include:
Physical - Daily physical exercise, ideally with fresh air and sunshine; when we feel we are moving into that triggered space, doing something that brings back body awareness (taking a drink of water, tracing the fingers of one hand with a finger on the oppossite, press heals into the floor, slowing & deepening our breathing); singing; stretching.
Intellectual - Study up on betrayal trauma, sex addiction or relational recovery (next week I'll be discussing my favourite new resources of the year); stop studying up on betrayal trauma, sex addiction or relational recovery... and study up on anything else but; memorize some scripture, a piece of poetry, a new song; stretch yourself to try out some new, harder-level craft, cooking project, etc.; play a game with friends
Emotional - Say "no" to some of the usual tasks, traditions and social committments of the season, especially those you think are likely to trigger; say yes to any traditions, tasks and social events you feel may lift you up (but then have a "plan B" if you do end up triggered... e.g., take two vehicles, check out availability of alternate places you could stay, check out alternate places your husband could stay); plan for regular "down time" in a space that feels safe; ask group members and friends ahead of time if you can contact them in a crisis (understanding that they may not always be available); if needed plan to attend a special holiday support group such as the I'll Be Home Alone for Christmas event.
Spiritual - Daily quiet time; practice thankfulness (increase the benefits by doing this thankfulness journalling exercise); attend a carol or other Christmas service; read an advent or Christmas devotional; meditate on scripture (increase the benefits by doing this exericse)
Finally, I want to note that singing (or playing an instrument) can potentially fill all the PIES categories. Exercising, mindful of God's presense with us, also has that potential. In fact, the more we can stay connected with God's presence, whatever we are doing, the safer and more grounded we will be. Generally though, the best "connection with God" space is in solitude.
The ideas listed above reflect (and augment) some of the earlier discussed self-care ideas.
Below are some further resources to take into your quiet, or "down" time.
God has a dream for me,
And for me, for all eternity.
It is a dream of healing and call,
Of life abundant with grace.
God fashioned me as an individual
To live an authentic life in community,
A life based on love.
Events in my life,
Within and without me,
Have warred against this authentic self of love.
My shadows have engulfed my gifts,
My Spirit-fire burns low, it smolders.
I can no longer find all the pieces of the person
God created me to be.
Perhaps it is all the happy fault,
This human path, this brokenness.
For now I seek Jesus the Healer, the Inspirer.
I want new eyes that open themselves to the reality
Of all that I was created to be.
Fully human, whole, not flawless,
Helping others, and hoping with them.
I want to shine with God’s light,
Especially through my broken places.
I desire to walk with freedom in God’s spirit.
I believe that God is still creating me today,
Resurrect me, my loving God.
Make me new again,
Able to give and to share,
In the abundant kingdom of the Risen One.
— Lyn Holly Doucet
A Meditation Soundtrack For Christians
Let's Not Lose Ourselves...
David Tensen of Leaderheart dedicated this poem "to all the HSP's (highly sensitive people), co-dependants, enneagram 9s, burden bearers, empaths and therapists"... even if we're none of those things, if we've lived with a person with addiciton, we can almost undboutedly relate.
When I’m present to you,
to your story,
to your trials and triumphs –
I’m not with me. I’m with you.
When we are navigating the
tear-fed seas of your traumatic tales,
buffeting waves of emotion,
I’m not at home –
I’m out. Out with you.
When, together, we trek through
recall and reason,
only to find ourselves lost again –
it’s a dark march back to me.
Many times now, I have strayed far from me.
Far from familiar.
And I hitch-hiked through healing.
I stumbled through dark heartlands
looking for myself.
Attempting to untangle my story from yours.
Finding and binding the armour I gave away
when your vulnerability
took you too close to the edge of yourself.
So, please, pardon me.
Forgive me when I pull back,
and need help.
For I am a recovering rescuer.
And as one who limps with aid
after having hip touched by angel,
I am learning now
how to move with strong boundaries
and fierce refusals.
I am learning to walk without
leaving myself behind.