Self-care and Sanity After Domestic Violence
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By: Nora Hood – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
If you are on a path of healing after domestic abuse, it’s important to take the time to care for yourself. After a difficult and turmoltuous experience, self-care is incredibly important for one’s overall mental health. There are several basic but overlooked practices of self-care, including sleep, relaxation, stress reduction, and learning to say no. Keep reading to learn more about how to incorporate these into your healing process.
In addition to adequate sleep, a vital component of self-care is finding the time to relax and reduce stress. For domestic abuse survivors, stress is often a part of daily life. Long-term exposure to stress hormones such as cortisol has been associated with health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and chronic headaches.
While it may be difficult to completely eliminate the source of your stress, developing healthy coping mechanisms for stress can be highly beneficial. Getting plenty of physical activity, avoiding harmful substances (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, etc.), and doing activities you love have been positively correlated with stress reduction. Going on a walk with a friend, playing with your pet, or attending an art class are just some of the self-care activities you could participate in. If you are looking for an activity to facilitate relaxation, consider meditation. Meditation helps facilitate mindfulness, provides a sense of control, and reduces anxiety. Consider designating a space in your home for meditation. Having a designated meditation space is an effective way to encourage daily meditation. You will not have to set-up your equipment or move furniture around; just sit, relax, and focus on you.
It is common for domestic abuse survivors to suffer from an inability to get/stay asleep. Stress, anxiety, and fear are among some of the reasons domestic abuse survivors experience insomnia and insomnia-related symptoms. Not getting adequate sleep can be highly detrimental to your mental health and, by proxy, your healing process.
Sleep deprivation has been associated with irritability, a loss of motivation, poor concentration, and forgetfulness. Long-term sleep deprivation has also been associated with physical illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. If you are not getting enough sleep, consult a physician as soon as possible. You could also try a few natural remedies such as exercise, eating healthy, and waking up early.
Learning how to say “no” is an important part of the recovery path. Whether it’s saying “no” to friends, family, or work colleagues, the act of saying “no” shows that you are dedicated to yourself, and your well-being. You may agree to do things you do not want to out of a sense of guilt, responsibility, or social pressure. As a result, you find yourself participating in activities that make you feel stressed and anxious. Constantly saying ”yes” despite not wanting to can lead to feelings of resentment and even hatred toward the person asking.
When learning to say “no,” try to be firm, don’t waiver, and be honest. During this time, it may be beneficial for you to identify what’s important to you versus what isn’t. For example, if going out for drinks after work prevents you from completing your goals the next day, you might consider saying “no” the next time someone asks. Remember, putting yourself and your self-care first is a vital aspect of personal healing.
If you are a survivor of domestic abuse, you know how difficult it is to embark on a path of self-healing. Getting enough sleep, learning healthy stress reduction techniques, and saying “no” can help ensure you are on journey of self-care and healing.
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Nora Hood considers domestic violence to be a form of domestic terrorism and aims to raise awareness about the issue through her efforts including ThreeDaily.org.
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