When you have experienced trauma, you may be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Seeking professional help for your PTSD is the best first step. Self-care for PTSD should be practiced as part of your treatment program. Call 888.559.2036 to speak with someone from the caring and compassionate team at BRC Healthcare about our PTSD treatment program and how you can work on self-therapy for PTSD and overall self-care for trauma healing.
What Counts as Self-Care for PTSD?
Self-therapy for PTSD involves activities that can help to manage your symptoms and regulate your emotions. Additionally, connecting with friends and family can be essential for emotional support.
1. Understand That Recovery Is a Process
It is normal to experience stress reactions and an ongoing response to the trauma. Recovery happens as you take steps to manage traumatic stress, which will probably include therapy or counseling and self-care for PTSD. There is no magic or quick cure. When you are in the healing process, it doesn’t mean that you forget the traumatic event. You will undoubtedly still feel pain when thinking about the incident. However, healing means that you will have fewer symptoms, and they will bother you less as time goes on.
2. Seek Peer Support
Peer support groups allow you to discuss your daily issues with other people who have also experienced trauma. Giving you a sense of connection to other people, peer support is a positive addition to your PTSD treatment program.
3. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Another valuable tool for self-care for PTSD is mindfulness. Simply put, mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you are doing, and not overreacting or being overwhelmed by what’s happening around you. When you practice mindfulness, you do not think about regrets from the past or worries over the future. Practicing mindfulness allows you to suspend judgment and unleash your natural curiosity about the workings of your mind, approaching your experience with warmth and kindness for yourself and others.
4. Get Exercise
Getting outside, getting some fresh air, and engaging in healthy physical activity are positive ways of practicing self-care for PTSD. Exercising has been found to reduce stress levels, particularly in people with PTSD. You can follow an exercise program with the following elements:
- Cardiovascular exercises, such as running or biking
- Resistance training, using weights or resistance bands
- Flexibility exercises, such as yoga and stretching
The art of tai chi has also been cited as a helpful way to traumatic stress symptoms stress.
5. Focus on the Five Senses
One effective self-care tool for PTSD involves an activity that makes you more aware of your five senses. You start by observing five things you see, hear, and sense with your skin, taste, and smell. The next step is to notice four such things, three, and so on. This technique enables you to get out of your head and pay attention to things like shape, scent, texture, and color.
6. Think Positively, Briefly
In this technique, you are not being asked to look at the world through rose-colored glasses but only to bring something to mind that is positive and focus on that thing for 12 seconds. Focus on breathing and notice the impact of the positive thing on your body and emotions. Through these positive experiences, you can slowly replace your stress and fear-based thinking and move toward more effectively managing traumatic stress.
7. Sleep Under a Weighted Blanket
One of the more frustrating symptoms of PTSD is sleep disturbances. You may find that you cannot get a restful night’s sleep because you have nightmares, flashbacks, or an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Sleep problems can lead to other symptoms, including irritability and relationship issues. Research shows that using a weighted blanket at night can simulate the feeling of being hugged safely and firmly, reducing anxiety and insomnia.