Self Care in All Five Dimensions

Do self care in all five dimensions:

I came across this recently online. In fact, it was the only thing that I liked on the psychcentral After Trauma Blog. Mostly it is a place for therapists, not trauma survivors.

Well, I’m trying to wrap my mind around this. It sounds vaguely familiar. I keep thinking I’ve read of this somewhere before, but if I had, I think, I would have posted about it already. So I posted below what the above article says, not a lot of ideas for the five dimensions, but I will be thinking about them and making up a list and will be posting about them in the near future.

Physical

Everything related to your physical body. Suggestioned areas of focus, sleep, nutrition, physical activity.

Mental

Intellectual and creative stimulation. Reading, writing, drawing, crafting, designing, building, puzzling.

Spiritual

Awareness of and relationship with something bigger than ourselves, not just religion. Meditation, community service, reaching out.

Emotional

Awareness and regulation of emotions. Suggested areas are journaling, music, talk about in therapy.

Social

Interaction with others.

40 Ways to Practice Self-Kindess

40 Ways to Practice Self-Kindness

I recently read this article. Some of the items I have been working on for some time. Some of the items I have been working on for a shorter period of time. Some of the items I don’t like at all and rejected them as suggestions.

Usually when I read lists of suggestions for doing things better in my life, I like the suggestions and often like the idea of doing several of them. But usually I do nothing. I guess I get kind of overwhelmed and the article or suggestions from books or others often get lost in the effort of managing my daily life and healing work.

So I decided this time to try something different; to pick out five items from the list and to try to work on them for several years.

Here are the five things that I have been working on:

Don’t forget to play.

(Always a difficult thing for me to integrate into my life. But I have been working hard at playing. One thing I did do this past week was to buy the dvd It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and have watched it several times. I love that show and try to watch it each year, and now I can watch it whenever I want instead of trying to catch it’s once a year airing. I’ll be writing about this suggestion more in the next few weeks and months.)

Listen to your body.

(Especially I have been using this suggestion the last few weeks for when I am tired and need to lie down, and need to rest or sleep. Look, I really don’t want to do this, but when I need to lie down and need to rest or need to take a nap or go to bed in the middle of the day or can’t sleep at all, I really need to be good and kind to myself and not try to tough it out like I have done a lot in my life. I need to be gentler with myself. I need to listen to my body.)

Be who you really are.

(Article suggests not being concerned about what others think of you, which had always been a huge issue for me. I had been working on this for a while. I decided it might be good to approach that issue from the other side, really being who I am more of the time. I had been doing this through the blog world and practicing being more engaged in the world.

Unfortunately I get shy in public often and this hugely gets in the way of being comfortable with myself. I think my shyness has been coming out more often because I really haven’t been around a lot in public over the last nine months and now being around others is making me shy. This is a lot worse because many of the times when I am interacting with others is in a group where I don’t know others, making my shyness and social anxiety worse.

Still, with these restrictions I am still working on this issue, and I am hoping that as time goes on I will get to know more people and be getting more support, which will help for my shyness to go down to a more manageable level. I have joined a support group and gone to a Reiki share, and gone out to eat several times with several friends, which I will be writing about more on the blog. )

Express yourself.

(This item is about expressing yourself creatively. I had been kind of stuck, in a couple of important ways and am trying to overcome those.

Last week I made a goal of writing a poem and I wrote a poem. 🙂 I’m not saying that it was the best I have ever written, but it was important to do it. I also read a lot of poems, that seems to get me going creatively with words. I hadn’t written a poem since February 2013 when I started getting ready to move and then had so many bad things happen with my new roommate and the apartment. I realized that I was stuck, by the bad times, then living in a shelter for a month, then my new place, and not being online here for months due to money concerns, well it really kept me stuck and thinking about it was not getting me anywhere.

I finally got some more beading supplies so that I can make earrings, bracelets, and necklaces again. It has been about five years since I really did any real beading work.

I finally got some poster board and bought some old magazines so that I can make some collages, that too has been a long time since I created one.

I’ve also been working on bringing more of my creativity into my daily life and seeing it in more of the things that I do. One of those things is to see and acknowledge my blog as being creative and as a big part of my creative expression to the world.)

Clothes. 

The suggestion is to wear the clothes that you feel the most ‘you’ in. I had been thinking about this for a while, wanting to wear clothes that are not only very comfortable, which is always what I need to do for my health issues, is to be comfortable and for my clothes to be loose, and start adding more creative touches that are whimsical, silly, and fun. I had been buying some bead bracelets and assorted pins at the used store and I wear them on my backpack. I am always looking at clothes when I go to the used stores and sometimes at the regular stores, and rarely finding something great to go with my ideas of comfort, fun, and casual attire.

 

Reblogged: Reasons to Stop Making Comparisons

Reblogged: Reasons to Stop Making Comparsions

from the Internal Acceptance Movement website

by Daniell Koepke

“1. External things aren’t an accurate measure of self-worth. 

Because we can most easily compare the things that we can objectively measure, we live in a world that is great at measuring and comparing externals. Somewhere along the way, we decided that we could determine who is living a more valuable life by comparing our clothes, cars, body size, weight income, beauty and occupation. The reality however is that external things do not define your self worth. The person you are inside—your character, your attitude, your goals and dreams, your morals and values, the way in which you treat others—these are truly self-defining. The external things don’t have the power to discount who you are as a person.

2. You always compare your worst with their best.

Comparing your life with others is always a losing proposition because there will always be people who “appear” to be better off than you and seemingly live the perfect life. We always compare the worst of what we know about ourselves to the best assumptions that we make about others. The truth is that other people’s lives are never as perfect as your mind make them out to be. Everyone struggles. Everyone feels insecure. No one’s live is easy. People tend to put their best face on in public. Know that what you see is not usually the whole picture.

3. There is no end to the comparison game.

There are an infinite number of categories upon which you can compare yourself, and an almost infinite number of people to compare yourself to. Once you start down that road, you will never, ever find an end.

4. Life isn’t a competition.

How you measure up against others holds absolutely no importance in your life. Other people’s strengths, talents, and successes don’t discount your own. They don’t define who you are as a person. Your goal in life isn’t to be better than everyone else. The goal is to be the best you that you can possibly be.

5. Comparison puts your focus on the wrong person.

You can control one life – yours. When you consistently compare yourself to others, you’re wasting precious energy and time by focusing on other peoples’ lives rather than your own.

6. Comparison robs you of joy.

Comparing yourself to others will always cause you to regret what you aren’t, rather than allow you to enjoy and celebrate who you are. It will always steal the joy and happiness that is within your reach. It keeps you from recognizing and appreciating all the wonderful things that make you, you. And ultimately, comparing prevents you from fully living your life. It causes you to envy and fixate on other people’s lives rather than experiencing and engaging in your own.

Making comparisons doesn’t make us feel any better. It makes us feel inadequate and worthless, and in many ways, it keeps us stuck. While the temptation to compare may never be completely eliminated, there are definitely some practical steps that you can take to challenge the comparison thoughts. 

7. Recognize the inherent problems in comparing yourself to others.

You are a unique human being with an individual set of strengths, struggles, talents, insight, and characteristics. You can’t make comparisons, because as a unique person, you have a unique life. You can’t possibly expect your life to look like anyone else’s because there is no one else exactly like you.

8. Celebrate who you are.

Instead of focusing on all the things that other people have, start focusing on all the things make you special. You have so many wonderful things that make you who you are. These things that make you different are the things that make you beautiful. Don’t forget them.

9. Challenge the voice telling you that you aren’t good enough.

Your tendency to make comparisons isn’t a result of inadequacy. It stems from your insecurity and the belief that you aren’t good enough. When you can challenge these thoughts and counter them with truths. When you accept yourself for the person you are, and recognize all that you have to offer, the need to make comparisons will fade, because you’ll realize that other people’s lives and successes don’t have to take away from or discount all the things that make you wonderful.

10. Remember that nobody is perfect.

We live in a society that strives for perfection. The reality however, is that perfection is unrealistic and unobtainable. Everyone has flaws and imperfections. Everyone has made mistakes and messed up. No one’s life is perfect. You are no exception to that. Know that happiness doesn’t come from having the perfect life. It comes from looking past the imperfections and struggles and holding onto the good things. The sooner you stop striving for perfection, the sooner you can start enjoying your life.

11. Try something different.

Chances are that you’ve been comparing yourself to others for a long time. You know how awful it feels, and you know that it hasn’t really gotten you anywhere. So why not try something new? You have absolutely nothing to lose. So instead of shaming yourself for being different, try celebrating what makes you unique. Instead of beating yourself up for making a mistake, try accepting and loving yourself for who you are without conditions. Instead of striving for perfection, try to be the best you that you can be. Instead of making comparisons, try to remind yourself of all the things that make you special.”

Self Love

I told myself today:

“I love you today. No matter what happens, no matter what you do or can’t do, I will love you.”

I cried because, I knew, this is true, after so long, I have really overcome the hateful programming of abusers and healed from so much. I cried because it is so sweet to know that I have me to count on.

I’m not going to make a list in my mind of how far I still have to go or evaluating myself in a new more judgmental way, like I have always done; diminishing how far I have gone and how much healing I have done. Right now I’ll just sit in my sweet spot.

A Trigger and a Flashback

I know that I’ve written often in the past on the blog about how hard it is to be kind and gentle to my body while doing self-care. I figured out a while ago why specifically that was an issue for me, but I needed a lot of time to process about it alone, so I haven’t written about it here until now.

I had noticed some time ago that I have difficulty handling my body gently and kindly. I tend to have a very utilitarian approach to it. I realized that what I was communicating and feeling was that I had little compassion or love to myself. I often try to do things very quickly and feel very frustrated at my body and at how much pain it is in and at how tight my whole body is.

I decided to try to be very gentle in the shower. I love very warm showers and water is my special element, so I thought this might be a good area of self-care for me to work at this gentleness issue.

I did it once and got a flashback immediately. This was very disturbing. I did it again and got another flashback. I’m sure that you can understand how upsetting this was for me. I stopped doing it and thought about this over some period of time.

What I figured out was that my mother, at times, would touch me gently,  and that was a trigger and when I did it to myself I was triggering flashbacks of her abusing me. I decided to slowly start treating myself and my body more gently when in the shower and see how that went. What I have discovered is that, a little less brisk and a little less disconnected from what I am doing and how it is feeling and how I am treating my body and what that is communicating to my body and my system is not triggering me. That is great news. I am treating myself better and avoiding a trigger and avoiding the accompanying flashbacks.

I wanted to share about this issue here because I want everyone to realize that we all have these issues where we are rushed and brisk with our bodies and where we blame our bodies or ourselves rather than understanding that even those of us with the best of childhoods can be programmed into being dismissive, insulting, devaluing, and disconnected from their bodies and that bringing that programming to conscious awareness is important and healing. What we do with that awareness can be life-changing. Even the little things. Even the little moments. Good and healing thoughts to you all.

Support Group Advice

This week I went to a support group. It is a wonderful group and I attended before I moved to my little apartment.

One piece of advice, when it came to the topic of self-care, was when you have an infection cut the ends off of an onion and peel the outer layers off, put it on a plate or something protective and put it in the room you will be sleeping in. The onion will supposedly absorb the infection. Well, I was pretty skeptical, but I had heard that you should never eat an onion that has been sitting in the fridge, but throw out any leftover pieces after you cook each time, because of the same reason.

Thursday I was so sick I didn’t even bother to get out of bed. I had a terrible throbbing headache and what I believed was a true sinus infection once again. I had to get out of bed to get medication and aspirins, and remembered to buy a couple of large onions. Let me just say that I did it and I really think it works. I woke up today feeling so much better than yesterday and haven’t even had to take any aspirins so far. If only I had tried this all day Thursday. I am going to do it again tonight.

Good and healing thoughts to you all.

A Sea Change in Attachments

I think that having someone in your life is such a huge part of the impetus for healing in my life, well to me it is “the” thing. I think when you’ve never been filled by the love of someone else or ever been confident of any attachments it is amazingly hard to cope. I remember from a child knowing that there was a giant black hole inside of me and how long that was a part of my life. I remember in the mid-twenties when I started healing and how several years into healing when the black hole just disappeared. I never thought that would happen. I never knew that would happen. For once in my life I thought that I could finally be filled up.

It took many years of trial and error to find a space of feeling filled up inside.

When I would be triggered and upset it took time for me, talking to someone, sometimes a friend, sometimes someone online, sometimes someone on a hotline, to get that filled up feeling, to be heard and validated, to feel calm again. When it started happening and I found that I could indeed calm down again I was shocked too. I never thought that would happen. No one ever told me that would happen and I never read about it in books either. Other survivors did not tell me about it.

Clarity has always been something that I have had problems keeping when interacting with others, especially those who are being hurtful or abusive to me. But what was new and what was important to me to see was that I kept clarity about who I was. Others have always made me lose who I was while I was being abused, especially when being emotionally and verbally abused. My mother did that a lot and I find that when others have done it I often lose myself in the middle of the disagreement.

Learning new coping skills, new self-care skills, and new self-esteem helped get me further along that healing road as well. Working on connectedness and calm and assertive energy were other components in attachment. All of this stuff seems like huge steps in healing for me. But they are nothing to the healing work that I seem to be working on right now.

The huge thing for me has been to finally work on my hardest lessons; to attach to me, to ourselves, to our spiritual guides, to nature, to the universe, to other areas of connectedness, and for these attachments to be my primary attachments. Other people have always been my focus, even when I was able to work on that, other parts in our system have still put other people first in importance. I have tried a lot to get them to understand, but under the surface I was still putting other people, in a body, in a position of more importance than our system and that was the example that they had. Even when I did a pretty good job of healing in this area, I was not having much of a positive effect for change for the system.

What has been surprising recently is that I have been working on this issue for some time, without my even realizing it.

I’ve always been able to value myself some of the time and eventually with lots of healing work and time I’ve expanded the amount of time I can do so more and more. Now I am finally learning how to value myself all the time, not just when someone else is being loving and good and kind to me. And when they can’t be I know who to blame, I blame them for being wrong. I’m totally willing to have the normal give and take of a relationship, but I am not willing to tolerate extended abusive interactions.

The most obvious proof came when I was willing to let go of my friend of eight years when she was being abusive to me. I remember the feelings and thoughts I was having the whole time when we were having interactions. I remember I was willing to discuss, negotiate, apologize, reconcile. I remember that I had clarity on what was happening, on who I am, and how much I value myself. I recall it’s been a very long time since someone treated me so badly. I remember she kept crossing a line and how I had a definite boundary on how much I was willing to tolerate when it came to abusiveness. I remember how willing and able I was at taking care of myself.

Being connected to myself, ourselves, and other areas of connectedness has helped shift the universe for me. It is taking time, but it is obvious a sea change has started. Loving and valuing myself is becoming my meals, my nourishment, my nurturing, the way that I feed myself/ourselves. Being involved with others is becoming my dessert, and we all know how much I love chocolate. 🙂