There are many ways of practising self-care

Emotional self-care entails being with people you like and enjoy, praising and affirming yourself, playing with children, looking at comedies, and allowing your feelings. Spiritual self-care is about spending time with nature, being open to inspiration, cherishing optimism and hope, meditating, praying, singing, feeling awe, and reading inspirational literature. Her faith was especially important in helping Linda to survive the early days of separation
“I constantly prayed to the angels for guidance and courage. When I wasn’t sure of where things were going, or what was to be my next move, I would pray to them and ask for guidance. I found it a tremendous comfort to know that they are always with me, and that they are always there to help. They never let me down. They helped me on dark nights, when I would be trying to go asleep – when my mind was restless, and thoughts were whizzing around my head, thoughts of everything, my husband who was gone, the dream I had lost, the home and life I knew was gone, how would my son react to the fact his father isn’t in his life, and lots of other things. I prayed to my angels and asked for peace, so I could get some badly needed rest. I have yet to find a night when this prayer for peace in my mind wasn’t answered.
Sometimes on my lunch break, when I was struggling, and finding it hard to cope and trying to fight back tears, I would go to my local church, and sit there and talk to God. I felt at peace and felt such calmness in the church – it was like a hideaway from the rest of the world. To me it allowed me to run away from the outside world that was pulling me in all directions, and just let me sit in peace and calm, and relax, and pray for help and guidance. I used to pray for my husband too, that God would help him throughout life, and maybe help him see the hurt and pain he is causing, and to help him become a better father.”
If possible, your survival/recovery plan should include having therapy. It takes courage to enter therapy. Talking to a stranger about intimate and shameful matters is not easy. And, this stranger is in a position of power. As a survivor, you know what it is like to have your power taken away, and it is right to be cautious and even suspicious as you enter therapy. It is, however, important to choose a therapist, who is right for you. Specific therapies will be necessary for victims who experienced serious sexual assault, who have become addicted to a substance or to self-mutilation. It is really important in therapy not be re-traumatised, and so it is vital to choose a therapist well trained in dealing with abuse and trauma, where you can safely vent your feelings, get suggestions, and bring your resources into awareness. This is akin to being ‘built up’ psychologically to take the hard road of exploring your life as an abuse victim. You can only do this if you have a good connection with your therapist, otherwise move on to another therapist after a few sessions.
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press

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