September 25, 2009

How to Take Care of Yourself

So often we encourage someone to “take care of yourself” without giving too much thought as to how this is to be done in practical terms.  Caring for others and attending to their needs, and putting our own needs last, comes more easily to us than caring for ourselves.

“Self care” then, is not generally something that most of us are good at doing.  We have to consciously take responsibility for caring for ourselves particularly after experiencing a traumatic event in our lives.

Looking after yourself is far from being selfish and indulgent.  This is stressed by Allan Wolfelt in his book, “Healing Your Traumatized Heart”.   Caring for yourself is about acknowledging how important you are and ensuring that your physical, psychological and emotional needs are being met – at least to some degree.   He writes:

“To be self-nurturing is to have the courage to pay attention to your needs. Above all, self-nurturing is about self-acceptance. When we recognise that self-care begins with ourselves, we no longer think of those around us as being totally responsible for our well being. Healthy self care frees us to mourn in ways that help us heal and that is nurturing indeed.”

Caring for your Physical needs
  • Eg eating, drinking, sleeping, exercise
  • What are some of the ways you care for your PHYSICAL needs?   
  • What works well for you and what do you need to consider more?
Caring for your Psychological needs
  • This is about your thoughts, your beliefs, your memories and the images in your mind.
  • How do you cope with the stress, anxieties, the triggers and frustrations of dealing with your grief?
  • How have your beliefs changed since this trauma?
Caring for your Emotional needs
  • This is about your grieving self… outbursts of grief, intensity of feelings of loss and longing to see your loved one again. 
Remember all your reactions are a normal response to a traumatic event.   Be patient with yourself and be tolerant of your limits at this most difficult time.
Know that you will never be the same again, but you can survive and go beyond just surviving.

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