You have been through hell and back. You thought the person you loved most in this world had your back and was going to take care of you. Now what?
You learn to take care of yourself. There is a huge difference between being selfish and maintaining self-care. Your abuser will most likely convince you that anything you do for yourself is selfish, and that could not be further from the truth.
It is your right and obligation to prioritize your own well-being.
Physically, you owe it to yourself to feed your body right, move it, rest it, and otherwise make sure it is performing optimally. By doing so, it puts your mind, emotions, and energy in the right space for healing AND taking care of others, like your children. A tired mommy is not a very effective one—so fuel yourself properly.
You also need to make sure you are mentally and emotionally balanced. That can be difficult if you haven’t gone no contact or otherwise have to deal with the ending relationship, or even if you are just trying to manage the day-to-day responsibilities of life. Stress in a “normal” life can be overwhelming—taking care of a house, fulfilling job duties, running errands, and so on. Add in this trauma, and you’ve got a lot on your mind to deal with.
Take time for yourself every single day to center your mind to reduce your stress. It doesn’t take long; a few minutes at a time is all it takes.
How? Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breathe out for 4 seconds. Repeat 10 times. You will feel yourself coming back into clarity. Or you can go for a 5-10 minute walk, listen to your favorite music, or read one chapter from your favorite book. For a longer or more defined practice, meditate or do yoga. All of these will help you to restore your mental health.
There is also social health, and this can be your introverted “me” time or your extroverted “out with friends” time. You need to carve out occasional time for yourself. Maybe it’s a once-a-week bubble bath or a once-a-month massage or mani/pedi (even if you do it at home!) Whatever it is, find the time to pamper yourself and love on yourself. You deserve it!
And don’t forget the importance of seeing your friends and family. I’ll get into that a little bit more later on, but make sure you surround yourself with healthy, supportive people who make you feel good about yourself. Remember your hobbies, go to your favorite places, bond with your favorite people. Life is more than the trauma you left behind; you don’t belong staying there.
Make a commitment to your overall well-being. The better you are to yourself, the more empowered you will be to take on your new, bold life as a thriver.
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