Does the thought of the approaching holidays and winter weather fill you with anxiety? You aren’t alone. If you look closer, you can see December also teaches us the value of self-care. Winter weather gives us a firm nudge to slow down and reconnect with simple gifts in life.
Survivors of sexual abuse often struggle with balancing the needs of others without neglecting our own. When we were Victims, we might not have felt worthy to care for ourselves or to speak our truths. As Survivors, we reclaimed our voice, but still may have used serving others as a way to distract ourselves from the heaviness of emotions produced by our healing. Now, as Thrivers, we must better advocate for ourselves so we can maintain optimal health (physically, mentally and even spiritually). Self-care is not selfish it’s about self-respect and nonjudgmentally accepting our needs. It allows us to pause, recharge and reset, so we have the energy to be present and loving for both ourselves and others.
The power of self-care is in the endless ways we reconnect with ourselves and promote overall internal wellness. It may be as quick as a mindful breath or stretch into a time allocated to an activity. It can be done solo or more structured with friends, like a walk. Have fun and experiment with what works best for you.
If you are seeking ways to escape the hustle of your day, try an activity in our Tune Out section. As you shop you will see countless material goods to help promote comfort or indulgence, and take a break from the hustle and bustle. If you are more in need of introspection or lifestyle changes, consider partaking in our Tune In section, which promotes deeper engagement with your mind, body, and spirit.
Tune Out the External World
(Comfort / Escapist Behaviors)
Tuning Out is like a tasty snack or a comfort meal for your soul. As you do any holiday shopping you can expect to see an array of consumer items like food, clothes, beauty products, and entertainment options. This is a time for you to get away from your hectic day and escape into a cocoon of comfort and bliss.
Love getting new items or wondering if your gift wish list is too short? Use this month to create your personal sanctuary. Begin by focusing on a room or rooms in your house that you retreat to when pressure builds in your life. Give this space a long overdue, but cost-friendly, redesign. In a bedroom, look at replacing your sheets and pillows. You’ll be surprised what a supporting pillow and soft sheets can do to improve your quality of rest! Perhaps switch out your bulbs to a more calming light or visit a thrift store to discover either a new favorite lamp or a fan to produce REM inducing white noise.
In the bathroom, create your own personal spa! Start by throwing out expired beauty products. Replace them with natural items you can buy through a local small business, or if you have the time you can look online on how to make your own. Visit a store to add luxury to your next bath like a pillow, hairband, eye mask, scrubber, or tub tray. You can also visit a local Goodwill to find fun decorations. When you are ready to enjoy a bath or shower, experiment with different essential oils to help balance your mood and energy. Make sure you have a fun cozy robe to wrap up in after your time in your spa!
Tune In to Your Inner Wisdom
(Engage More with your Emotions and Inner Voice)
Tuning In when you want to go deeper than creature comforts. This is like your healthy and filling meal. Tuning In inspires you to have an honest and vulnerable dialogue with yourself, and produce benefits long after your individual practice. If you are looking for expanding your spirit, inner wisdom and abilities, consider incorporating self-care practices like regular exercise, meditation, diet, and even therapy.
Seasonal meditation for release:
Inspired by Barbara Ann Kipfer’s Natural Meditations
Build a snowman either in your mind or outside. Mindfully form the figure while visualizing your stress, frustrations or resentment. Let those bitter feelings embed into the snow. The flakes, like your negativity, have piled up gradually over time. The act of reshaping facilitates energy movement within you, creating space for peace in your life. As you give your toxins to the snowman envision how the sun will melt it along with your limiting feelings, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This release allows the rancor to be purified by the Earth and Spirit. Ultimately, the act bolsters new life to grow and flourish. End your practice by giving thanks to yourself, Spirit and the Earth for inspiring you to find the time and joy in your healing process.
During this holiday season and the stresses of winter, we at Survivors to Thrivers encourage you to reassess your self-care strategies. You will not let anyone down or delay any tasks by finding time to focus on your personal needs. Instead, you will remind yourself of your inherent value and become more equipped to maintain thriver-mindset. If you are still concerned about time constraints, focus on a simple step. Remember to breath. Breathing helps settle your nervous system, reduce hyperarousal and provides you energy to better engage with your tasks and loved ones. If you need more guidance on self-care activities, check out “What is Self-Care and Why is Self-Care Important” by Katherine Hurst who organizes ideas into sensory, emotional, spiritual, physical and social categories. Thank you for being a part of this uplifting community. Share your experiences with self-care via email, blog comments or through our social media channels. May the gift of self-care help you be the lightkeeper of love and hope for yourself and all those in your life.