“Simple Ways to Look and Feel Your Best During Times of Trauma” was submitted to us by a Guest Blogger. We welcome your submissions via email and will review them for appropriateness for the blog.
Experiencing a traumatic event may affect how we think and feel, as common reactions to trauma range from depression and anxiety to insomnia, fatigue, body shame, and backaches. However, caring for our minds and bodies can help to reduce some of the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms of trauma. Here are a few suggestions from the Tristate Trauma Network.
Get a Massage
Whether you book an appointment with a professional or treat yourself to a DIY hand or foot massage at home, massage therapy can help those experiencing trauma in a number of ways. For one, massage reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and anger — and it helps to alleviate pain, headache symptoms, and muscle tension. Massage therapy can also help to improve sleep, circulation, and digestion.
Move Your Body
Whether you sign up for a Zumba class or play tennis with a friend, there are physical, mental, and emotional benefits of engaging in regular physical activity. According to Healthline, these benefits include a healthier weight; stronger muscles and bones; improved mood, skin health, and sleep; and better brain function. Plus you don’t have to love exercise to reap these benefits: Physical activity can mean anything from roller skating or dancing to taking a walk or riding a bike.
Keep Stress Under Control
Chronic stress is harmful to your health, and it can also wreak havoc on your skin — causing dryness, acne, premature aging, and brittle nails. And while appearances aren’t everything, how you look often affects how you feel. Here are a few things you can do to keep stress under control when coping with a traumatic event:
- Practice deep breathing exercises.
- Engage in mindfulness activities such as body scanning, art therapy, or crafting.
- Write in a journal.
- Accept support from loved ones.
- Eat stress-relieving foods such as whole grains, tuna, walnuts, dark chocolate, and kimchi.
- Soak in an Epsom salt bath.
If stress is keeping you up at night, there are some additional steps you can take to reduce stress and unwind before bed. As a few examples, try reading a book, listening to a sleep meditation, and turning off all electronics an hour or more before bedtime.
Update Your Look
Change is sometimes necessary after you’ve experienced a traumatic event, and one easy way to go about doing this is to update your appearance. Purchase a dress, sweater, or another new piece of clothing; experiment with a new hairstyle or hair color; or wear a bold shade of lipstick, eyeshadow, or nail polish.
If you’re overweight or underweight, this could also be a good time to prioritize healthy eating, physical activity, and stress management. Doing so will help you to achieve your fitness goals, whether you’re looking to lose or gain weight, build muscle, or adopt healthier eating habits.
Speak With a Therapist
Trauma therapy is another self-care strategy for those coping with traumatic events, as the goal of therapy is to reduce fear and negative thinking, improve confidence and coping skills, and overcome trust issues. To find a therapist near you, visit the Tristate Trauma Network’s Trauma Therapist Listing.
Learn a New Hobby
To build self-esteem post-trauma, try taking up a new hobby such as dancing, skydiving, traveling, martial arts, performing arts, or public speaking. Some other options could include gardening, cooking, reading, or knitting.
Feel Good About Yourself Post-Trauma
Experiencing certain types of traumatic events can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and self-confidence, but the above-mentioned self-care practices will help to boost your mood, reduce negative thoughts and emotions, and improve how you feel about yourself. It’s normal to experience negative thoughts and emotions following a traumatic event, but recovery is possible.
The Tristate Trauma Network (TTN) provides training to service-industry professionals, helping to build community awareness on the role trauma plays in our lives. Visit tristatetraumanetwork.org to learn more, or contact TTN by email.
Wishing you a day filled with HOPE,
Melissa Adamchik, MA, LPP, Executive Director, Tristate Trauma Network