Self-care is one of the most important aspects of living a full life! It is a much needed strength to learn in healing trauma. Unfortunately, many trauma-survivors struggle to see their own needs for self-care.
When I recommend the need for self-care to trauma survivors, they say it can feel like a chore.
Some of them even roll their eyes and tell me, “You mean you want me to take care of myself? Ugh. Who has time for that?!”
This is painful. It’s something I never wanted to, or thought, we’d have to talk about. With the upheaval in our country on all sides caused by the election results, everything feels a bit tougher these past few weeks. It’s like many of us are trying to walk through mud with every step… wondering how to move forward in these uncertain times.
From current events to politics, there is no shortage of anxiety-inducing information in the world. At times, it can feel like our senses are being bombarded with worrisome news. How much worry is too much? How can we cope? This can certainly be more difficult for those who have lacked secure attachment in childhood or have experienced trauma during their lives. In fact, those with insecure, avoidant, or disorganized attachment, attachment wounds, or trauma histories will have a harder time re-regulating their nervous systems.
How to Stop Worrying Too Much
The phrase “self-harming behavior” may call up images of troubled teenagers with cuts on their arms. But self-injury can occur for people of any age, in children, adolescents and adults, whether male or female. This is not at all a teenage fad!
We know that good relationships are so important to our happiness, yet we may not know just how vital they are to our health and well-being.
What do our connections to others give us? And what happens when we don’t have them?
Many people struggle to take a compliment. It doesn’t matter if the compliment comes from a loved one, a stranger, or a trusted source, like a therapist. The struggle goes much deeper than manners, modesty, or cultural norms.
I’m talking about the inability to accept what therapists call positive affect. The issue for some is about feeling, deep down, that you don’t deserve it, that you can’t believe it, that as a person you are not worthy, and that you can’t allow or take in the experience of feeling good about yourself, or even believing someone else feels good about you either. Continue reading
Personal connection is crucial to our work as therapists. We know how important empathic relationships are to mental and physical health. Being fully present during our client’s healing journey is the essence of our work.
But our life relationships are much more than a means of working with clients. We need rich connections in our personal lives and with our colleagues to be good therapists. Our professional interactions help us keep well informed, well supported and well educated to do this challenging work.
Many who take up careers in clinical psychotherapy have a deep personal commitment – some might say calling – to help others on their journey toward better mental health. Some, like post traumatic stress expert Dr. Bessel van der Kolk (whose father was a Nazi concentration camp survivor), found powerful motivation to improve mental illness treatment, after bearing witness to the deep impact of trauma on a loved one.
Good cheer, happiness, family and a spirit of giving are a big part of the holiday season. But for many people, stress and loneliness are major players that upset plans to stay positive. If your tension level rises when the decor goes up, you are not alone. It is common for some people to feel more anxious or lonely as the season begins.
Holiday stress can trigger negative thinking that builds on itself. To avoid this cycle, we can take this opportunity to find new comforts and enjoy the holidays differently. We can take simple, meaningful steps for healthy self-care, and put some fun back into our celebrations. Continue reading