Take Some Time to Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is an important part of anyone's routine. We get so caught up in our daily lives, it's often hard to remember it's okay to take care of ourselves. This is especially true for both survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence, and caretakers of individuals with disabilities.
Some people worry that self-care means you're selfish or indulgent, but in reality we should be as kind to ourselves as we are to other people.
For anyone who has experienced trauma, self-care is an important tool in recovery. If a loved one with a disability has experienced trauma, help them create a list of their favorite things to do to create an emergency self-care plan. These can be anything from reading a book, to going for a walk, doing something artistic, or knowing who you can talk to when you are struggling to cope.
It is just as important for anyone working with people who have experienced trauma to practice self-care. When we take on another person's trauma, it can be overwhelming if we don't know how to cope or who we, ourselves, can turn to for support. So it's important to practice what we preach....come up with goals for what you can do to take care of yourself and when. For example, setting aside 30 minutes every day to do yoga, meditate, get exercise, read, or anything else that helps you stay grounded.
It's important to always know that you are not alone. Everyone responds to trauma differently, but there is no one right or wrong way to cope. Many people find it useful to connect with other people who have similar experiences. As a parent or caregiver, try to find ways to create groups and connections in your community. At Heart, we are working with local agencies to start support groups for people with disabilities who have been abused or assaulted, as well.
For more resources, you can watch Ted Talks on the importance of self-care. For ideas on various self-care activities, check out this Self-Care Wheel. And, as always, please reach out to us if you would like more information or resources!