Coping & Self-Care
If you have experienced any type of gender-based, please know that you are not alone and that there is support available to you! Your experience is valid and your feelings related to it are important. No individual has the same experience(s) and each survivor uses different strategies for coping and self care.
Strategies for Coping
Healing from an experience with violence can be extremely difficult. However, there are strategies you can try using that will help cope with feelings of being overwhelmed, tired, anxious, disconnected, or un-trusting. Coping mechanisms can be based on your own strengths and interests. You may find it helpful to write down or keep track of your physical and emotional reactions to strategies to know which work best for you!
- Doing activities that focus on engaging the senses. These activities are particularly useful for managing triggers. For example, lighting a candle or using an essential oil diffuser, taking a bath, coloring
- Getting physical. Going for a walk (even indoors), going to the gym, yoga
- Making connections. Spending time with friends, connecting with nature or a pet, reading stories or social media posts written by people with similar experiences, group counseling
- Getting creative. Reading/ writing, listening to or making music, listening to podcasts, journaling, cooking or baking
- Using an wheel of emotions. After experiencing a trauma, many people struggle to identify exactly which emotions they feel. Using the wheel of emotions (found here) can be used to pinpoint what one is feeling. Remember, whatever you are feeling is VALID and important.
Some people find it helpful to write down their triggers and what works best for their mind and body. If this may be helpful to you, the worksheet below.
An experience with violence can effect an individuals’ overall wellness. Wellness includes an individuals’ social, emotional, environmental, spiritual, physical, sexual, occupational, financial, and intellectual health.
Examples actions toward self-care can include:
- A restful sleeping ritual. This can include having a specific nightly routine, turning off electronics 30 minutes before sleeping, diffusing relaxing scents like lavender to promote sleep.
- Food that provides pleasure and nourishment. Regularly eating meals that are comforting and give you energy.
- Physical activity. Choosing exercise that you take pleasure in, that give you energy, and/ or a sense of accomplishment.
- Connecting with Others. Spending time with friends, family, and members of the community who make you feel safe and supported.
- Reflection. Taking time throughout your day to reflect upon your emotions, feelings, and your own self-narrative.
Self-care is an on-going process and is most successful when planned around your interests, passions, and values. That being said, routines regarding self-care also have to be realistic based on financial resources, time, etc. If you think it may be helpful to you, try using the worksheet below to create a self-care plan.
For More Information About Coping and Self-Care: