Take care of yourself.
Sometimes the pressure to engage in self-care after a traumatic
experience can create even more stress. You may wonder if you
are doing it correctly or you may feel a need to demonstrate your
strength and resilience to others.
We hope that this list will inspire you to engage in self-care that is the right fit for what you need. Remember that whatever works for you is the “right” way.
Research shows that 70% of sexual assault survivors experience moderate to severe distress, which is a larger percentage than for any other violent crime. (NSVRC, 2015)
Talking about, or even thinking about, your traumatic experience can be emotionally draining. Because it is difficult to predict how you might feel on any given day, you might want to consider building a regular plan for self-care. Ideas include going for a run, visiting a museum, taking a relaxing bath, or spending time with a close friend. Below are some self-care tips to consider.
Engage in physical movement.
Run. Walk. Bike. Climb. Swim. Take a dance or martial arts class. Enjoy the sensation of your physical body in a positive way through movement.
Care for your mind.
Meditate. Download a mindfulness app or podcast. Attend a spiritual or guided meditation service. Play soothing music while you breathe deep and relax. Engage in active mindfulness through activities such as art, crafting, cooking, or organizing.
Find new positive experiences.
Research shows that people find greater happiness from positive activities and experiences, rather than physical things. Examples include massage, acupuncture, live music, theater, museums, volunteering for a cause you that you find meaningful, day trips with loved ones, and exploring intimacy with a partner.
Take care of the basics.
Establish a sleep routine. Eat to nourish your body. Take time to bathe and groom yourself. Visit healthcare providers.
AFROPUNK: 8 Mental Health and Self-Care Resources for Queer and Trans POC
Greatist: 67 Resources for Sexual Assault Survivors
Healthline: Best Meditation Apps of 2018
Just Jasmine: Self-Care for People of Color After Psychological Trauma
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: Information for Survivors
Option B: How to Support a Friend After Sexual Assault
Psychology Today: The Preference for Experiences Over Possessions
Rockwood Leadership Institute: 21 Self-Care Resources