As we take this journey that we call life, we will meet different people along the way. We may meet others who are also Sexual Assault Survivors and notice that they deal with things differently. I have met some people who use their experience as a reason to treat others terribly. Some people who still fear for their lives and are not able to move past their experience. While others like myself go on in life and use their experience as something that made them stronger because they realize that everything happens for a reason. You can read more about my experiences here.
Don’t get me wrong, our experiences are not ideal but by us gaining the experiences we have gained, we are able to take them and use them as fuel to be better and do better. I will never use it as a crutch or an excuse and consider myself a victim. My refusal to give those predators that power is strong. I even wrote to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice when I saw that there was a predator who was up for a yearly review to be removed from a program that made it possible to track his whereabouts and would hold him accountable for any crimes he would commit.
Without the program, he would be undetectable and free to do anything he wanted to, including molesting more children or even going after one of his former victims. You can read more about his story and how you could prevent him from being removed from the program here.
Self-care is more important than anything and you cannot convince me otherwise. Here are a few self-care few tips that I have followed and am learning to follow. It will truly help you feel better. Besides, in order to feel better, you have to be better!
1. Do something creative
Channeling your pain into creativity will produce your best work. You will be able to produce things that you never thought you would be able to produce in your life. I have been able to write poems, stories, and music because of my experiences. It also fueled my passion for photography and graphic design. I’m still working on the graphic design part but I’m not too shabby.
Seeing a Counselor, Psychologist, or Psychiatrist is highly recommended. Their job is to help you with recovery. They’re also there to listen to you and help you talk through your experience in order to work toward letting it go. The ultimate goal is for you to get to a point of talking about the assault(s) like you would talk about a sunny day where there is no reaction.
Find a quiet spot and meditate. Make sure that you are able to relax and let everything go. This gives you the opportunity to clear your mind.
4. Practice Aromatherapy
Get yourself some essential oils and an essential oil diffuser and you will be in business. I use peppermint oil and lavender oil to relax me. They both help to calm you. The lavender oil may be used at night to help you calm down enough to get some sleep for those who are insomniacs.
5. Take a long warm shower or bath
This is another way to relax. The water will feel amazing against your body and nothing else will matter. Even when I am having a depressive episode and I don’t want to shower, I am pushed to take a hot shower and I go from not wanting to get in to not wanting to get out. It happens every time.
6. Listen to music
Listening to good music will make you want to sing along and forget all of your troubles. Try old school songs from your childhood that puts you into a good mood every time you hear it. I grew up in the era of boy bands and girl bands so that’s what I tend to listen to when I need a boost. Bring me back to the 90s.
7. Write 10 things you love about yourself
By writing down the things that you love about yourself, you will be able to go reread it and remember why you are here. You may not truly know your purpose but remember that everyone has one, including you. You will not be able to love others until you love yourself. A constant reminder of why you love yourself will help you realize how important you are.
Going back to old journals will show you how far you’ve come. You’ll get to see how you dealt with things in different situations compared to how you deal with them now. It also serves as therapy because you are able to release your feelings on those papers without holding back. Talk about a stress reliever.
9. Create positive affirmations and repeat them daily
I have a friend who wrote down positive affirmations on sticky notes and posted them all over her apartment. She is literally surrounded by positivity. When I visit, I’ll go ahead and walk around and read the notes. Eventually, I’ll post my own around my place because it actually does help.
10. Drink a lot of water
Not only is it good for your health, but it also makes you feel better. I know I’ve just been super thirsty so I’ve been drinking multiple bottles of water a day. Try it! You’ll have more energy to get through your day and your body will thank you for it.
11. Don’t push people away
Okay, what I should say is Don’t push people away UNLESS they are bringing negative energy your way. Don’t push away people who are actually trying to help you and care for you. Don’t push away the people closest to you. Sometimes you HAVE to push people away when they are endangering your well being. I refuse to be around negativity and will push negative people away in a second. I don’t feel bad about it either.
12. Put yourself first
YOU are the most important person in your life. It is not selfish. If you are unable to take care of yourself first, how will you be able to take care of anyone else? Don’t let anyone guilt you into putting them first. What good are you to others if you are not okay? Exactly! You are no good to others when you are not okay.
Turn off all digital devices and just be by yourself, spend time with family or friends. Sometimes our phones, tablets, laptops, and everything else distract us. Even social media makes people depressed. Take a break from it, it truly helps. I tend to do it from time to time but I’m thinking it should be a weekly thing.
14. Surround yourself with positive people
This is something that is very important. Being around positive people will help you be more positive. They may even help push you to do better. With positivity comes success.
15. Take time off
Go on a vacation, staycation or go to the spa. Treat yourself because you deserve it. That vacation time that’s just building up, take it. You earned it. If you don’t have vacation time, take at least a day to yourself. Everyone needs time to themselves. Take time off of everything and everyone if you need to.