5 Self-Care Practices To Help You Rise Again After Abuse
Up to 50% of all children will fall victim to general child abuse, which includes sexual assault, physical abuse, violence, and neglect according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The effects of such abuse are most devastating and can affect the individual for countless years, even after the abuse has stopped. While professional support services are paramount in the recovery of the survivors of child abuse, practicing self-care as an adult survivor is of equal importance as it benefits the body, mind, and spirit after the abuse. There are a number of self-care practices, such as the following, that can help an individual to rise up again and soar even after years of maltreatment.
Engaging in regular exercises such as walking, running, dancing, or swimming can boost recovering from abuse significantly. According to Harvard Health, being physically active not only lowers cortisol levels, but releases increased amounts of endorphins as well. Exercise also provides a healthy outlet for a variety of very intense emotions such as rage, hurt, grief, and disbelief that are all perfectly normal both during and after abuse. Apart from helping an adult survivor of childhood abuse heal emotionally, it can also help counter some of the physical effects of abuse including insomnia, a compromised immune system, and weight gain.
Ask for help
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Childhood abuse has many very severe long-term effects on its victims and often warrants a long and somewhat vexing journey of recovery. Reaching out to a family member or friend, or seeking out the help of a professional mental health practitioner, can boost your own healing process significantly as allows you to share your emotional burden with someone else. People who know you personally and who you love and trust can provide you with a proverbial shoulder to cry on while a professional counselor can provide you with a safe and meaningful environment in which to face your various demons.
Depression is common among survivors of childhood abuse and often results in the individual struggling to process what has happened to them. Creative hobbies such as art, music, dancing or sewing allow the survivors to express themselves in a positive way that allows them to deal with their experiences them and heal. Find a creative pastime that appeals to you and explore it further. Whether you sign up for an art class or take up scrapbooking at home, the benefits will be the same. Taking on sewing projects is also a great way to express your feelings and it will allow you to fill your home with beautiful homemade garments and decorations. Apart from a basic pattern and a few pieces of material you don’t need much else to become quite adept in front of a sewing machine.
It has been proven that meditation benefits the same areas of the brain (the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex) as what is affected by trauma. Frequent meditation assists in strengthening the various neural pathways in the brain and lessens our natural fight or flight responses which are typically heightened after enduring trauma such as abuse. When you meditate your heartbeat and breathing slows down significantly and your body finds itself in a much calmer state. While your mind may be more prone to wander during such a state, the meditation will place you firmly back in your psyche’s driver’s seat, enabling you to heal and finally feel fully empowered.
According to research conducted at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, breathing has a very profound impact on our physiology. Even if you are not engaging in meditation, you can still make use of mindful breathing techniques to help you cope with your trauma. Focusing on your breathing for anywhere between 30 seconds and an hour can be extremely beneficial in terms of managing emotions and addressing a variety of painful triggers pertaining to the abuse endured during childhood. There are a number of helpful smartphone apps available that will guide you through all the steps of mindful breathing that you need to feel calmer, happier, and in greater control of your emotions.
Engaging in a variety of self-care practices will help a survivor of childhood abuse heal significantly better. Remember to be kind to yourself throughout your journey, acknowledging your efforts, thinking of the future with positivity, and congratulating yourself on how far you have already come.