Self-Care During Crisis
Self-care is an important part of supporting recovery from trauma. It helps to take time for yourself, make healthy lifestyle choices and keep up community connections.
During and after a disaster, it’s important to treat yourself with compassion. Research shows that being compassionate towards ourselves and others helps build our confidence, increases resilience and promotes good mental health.
You may be trying to cope with a whole range of feelings; Even on good days, practicing self-care can build you up for the times when it’s not so easy. Your feelings are valid, acknowledge that you’ve been through an extraordinary time and it’s normal to have hard moments as you recover.
Here are some tips that can help when in a difficult situation:
Using Our Breathing To Ground Us
When we’re feeling distressed, we tend to take shallow breaths that make us light-headed and tense. However, superficial, but slow, deliberate breathing can really make a difference to our overall wellbeing.
- Find A Quiet Space With No Interruptions
- Try to relax your body. Drop your shoulders, loosen your limbs. Close your eyes.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose for 3-4 seconds. Notice the sensation of breathing in.
- Let the breath out for 4-5 seconds. Notice how it feels to let it out.
- Keeping going. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat for 10 minutes.
Stay In Touch
Being with people we care about is good for our mental health. It gives us more energy and helps us relax. During recovery, your community might feel more important than ever. There may be a need to reach out to support others and find support yourself.
- Make time to check in with friends and family.
- Find ways to connect outside of home.
- Avoid news and social media that’s causing distress.
- Connect with others who understand.
- Take time out, if you need to.
Make Practical Changes To Your Everyday Life
There are all sorts of practical tips you can introduce into your routine.
- Choose a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Caffeine can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and depression, so it may help to cut back for now.
- Get outdoors. Sunshine and movement are good for your mind and body.
- Consider a self-care journal. Every day, write down how you’re feeling. Keeping a record makes it easier to reflect on good days.
- Reflect on the positives. Think of three things in your life that make the world a better place.
- Make lists and reminders of what helps – it can be tricky to remember in tough times.
- Try to get into a good sleep routine – avoid using phones in bed, relax with a book or calming soundtrack, and try to sleep at the same time every day if you can.
- Make slow, small changes towards a healthy lifestyle. It’s okay if you feel like you can’t make major changes right now. Every bit helps.