Trauma is not an unknown word to human beings. Healing from the trauma of the past is certainly not a cakewalk. On contrary, recovering from the loss of a relationship, job or someone’s death is an extremely painful and difficult process. Once a person starts healing, the loss becomes less painful. But then one day, it all comes back like a ton of bricks hitting right in the face. We often fail to understand that healing is not a smooth sail and is non-linear.
Healing from trauma is unrelated to the time. We are naive to believe that our trauma will not hit us hard after a long time. The saying that “Time heals all wounds” is misleading and toxic to us. We keep believing that our pain is now tolerable and will not make a reappearance in the future. And when it does come back, we feel crushed and stranded.
I am not saying that a person can never be truly healed. Healing happens and a person can overcome the loss. But we need to be aware that things can often get worse before improving. We need to be prepared for the relapse so that unnecessary guilt could be avoided.
This also applies to the people who are around the person who is going through the recovery phase. When you see your loved one struggling with several years old loss, be there for them. Try to empathize with them instead of telling them to “GET OVER IT” or telling them to stop crying about several years’ old loss.
If you are hit by a past loss, be gentle to yourself. Don’t let guilt and self-hate to engulf you. If everything seems too much for you to handle, seek help. Take time out, mourn that loss. Talk to your loved ones or consult a psychologist if needed. Don’t stress yourself out over things that needed to be done while you are feeling stuck in the events of the past. Take a break and prioritize your mental health over everything else.
Some self-care tips that can help you heal from trauma are:
1: Don’t Isolate Yourself:
When you are going through a tough situation, your first instinct is to isolate and cut yourself off from others. Try to fight it. Isolation will make it much difficult for you to recover and heal. But talking to your loved ones about what you are going through will make you feel better.
2: Seek Professional Help:
Like I said before, grief may feel all-engulfing and overwhelming. When you feel that the grief is in the way of your routine activities then consider seeking professional help. A professional can help you in ways even your loved ones cannot.
3: Acknowledging Your Grief:
Avoidance and guilt will cause you more harm. Acknowledging what you are feeling will give you more strength to face the circumstances. Don’t repress and let it all out so that the burden of grief is reduced.
The urge to never leave the bed is powerful but combating it with exercise is a sure way to conquer trauma. Simply getting out of bed and going outside will elevate your mood. Exercising in nature will release serotonin which will make you happier. But if you feel too exhausted then don’t push yourself too hard and take some rest.
Self-care is another factor that can help you on your road to healing. Pamper yourself by doing what you love. If you love to read, do it. If food is a treat for you, go for it. Get a massage. Dance till your feet hurt. Visit your favorite place or simply engage your artistic side. Do whatever you can to make yourself more relaxed and happy.
6: Back to Work:
It is totally ok to take a break from work and take some time off to recuperate but don’t allow yourself to take more time than needed. A routine can help you to direct your attention towards other matters. Going back to normalcy will help you to recover more quickly and will help your healing from trauma.
Another effective way to manage your life is by making to-do-lists according to your priorities. Making such lists can help your mind to be more focused on the day. If any task seems like a monster then try breaking it into multiple tiny tasks. Believe me, it will help you in getting things done easily.
A messy room and overloaded cupboards increase restlessness. Try to clean and organize your room. Cleaning the room will give you a sense of achievement. Throw things away which you don’t need will reduce the stress. After all, throwing them away will make more room for your favorite things.
Now you may argue that you are already breathing. But I would like you to rethink. Are you actually breathing? The shallow breathing you are doing is a necessity and you are unable to appreciate its beauty. Try to take deep breathes and let the calm inside. There are multiple applications and videos available which can assist you in breathing exercise.
10: Joy of Achievement:
I believe that no achievement is a small one. Every achievement, no matter how small it may seem, is important. Enjoy your achievements. When you get a task done, give yourself a treat and self-appreciation for the job well-done instead of brushing it away as a no big deal.
Lastly, don’t forget to be self-forgiving. The process of healing from trauma is messy and chaotic. It may lead you to behave unreasonably at times and do things that you might regret. Don’t let it engulf you in self-hatred. We are often good at forgiving others but fail to give ourselves the margin of mistakes. Forgive yourself as you are a human being and human beings make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes but don’t let them push you into the dark pit of hopelessness.