Self-Care for PTSD

self-care for PTSD
Self-care for PTSD is vital!


Sometimes things start to feel almost unbearable. There is so much going on in the world today and then to be a PTSD survivor on top of it all. Your brain is very different from those around you and if you're also empathic to any degree you may really be struggling. This is why I think it's important to take a moment this week to talk about a much lighter subject... Self-care. 

According to the online dictionary, self-care is defined as

The practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

You've probably heard of a lot of great ways in which you can practice self-care for PTSD, but I hope to introduce you to some new ones here.

Journaling

It seems that one of the most highly recommended tips when it comes to self-care for PTSD is journaling. Probably one of the reasons that it comes so highly recommended is that there are a multitude of different types of journaling you can do. This includes:
  • Writing a poetry journal
  • Bible journaling: This one needs a bit more understanding. It actually borders on art therapy (which we'll talk about later) because you're actually drawing or coloring in your Bible. They do make special Bibles for this so you don't cover up the words and you can still use your Bible.
  • Keeping a bullet journal: Here you create bullet points to keep track of things like scheduling, reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming, and other entries into your journal.
  • Creating a journal full of self affirmations: This is a way of speaking gently to yourself so you can transform your negative thinking and be both nicer and more positive with yourself.
Clearly there's something here for almost everyone. This is good news because journaling can truly benefit you in numerous ways, including:
  • It's important that you don't suppress any thoughts related to you trauma because doing so isn't helpful. In fact, research shows that such suppression can lead to compromised immune infunction such as what I have with adrenal fatigue. 
  • Journaling isn't only about venting. It's also about expressive writing. This will help you to better cope with your anxiety and anger since the act of journaling has been shown to reduce body tension and restore mental focus.
  • When you're journaling you're giving yourself time to try to interpret your experiences. Just make sure that you don't repeat the same negative narrative. Research has actually shown that when you write a lot about yourself (especially using “I” references) combined with the words “because," “realize,” or “understand," you'll reap more benefits from your journaling. This is because you're actively interpreting what has happened to you in the past and incorporating it into the overarching narrative of your life. This not only helps to reduce stress, but is also beneficial for your overall health.
  • You can also use your journaling to help you find positive meaning to the trauma you've experienced. This in no way means that what you've experienced is good, but you can become stronger and more resilient because of it. The key is to train yourself to watch for those positive things that emerge from your trauma - even if you're only noticing the positive impacts that journaling has on your mind and body. When you're working through anything particularly intense make sure you have qualified, therapeutic support available to you. 

Art Therapy

When you are looking for a great way to relieve stress and anxiety that also promotes healing and reactivates your positive emotions, self-worth, and self-esteem, you should consider art therapy. This is important for those who have PTSD because they need to be able to express their emotions as they work through processing their trauma. Art is beneficial here many ways, including:
  • People with PTSD are able to start expressing their emotions and processing the trauma they've been through. Sometimes this is easier than using words and it also feels safer too.
  • Over the years art therapy has been proven to help reduce the symptoms of stress. When this happens it will ultimately improve your quality of life.
  • When you have depression that's co-morbid with your PTSD life can seem quite bleak at times. With art therapy you may find your symptoms of depression are reduced and your cognitive functioning improved. In therapy this can help you to externalize, verbalize, and resolve memories of your trauma.

self-care for PTSD
When it comes to self-care for PTSD, try diamond art painting!


One of the best types of art therapy that I've discovered for myself is what's known as diamond art painting. Think of it sort of like paint by number but with beads. The reason I like it so much is it encourages you to stay present in the moment. There are many different designs and price ranges available for you to choose from so check it out for yourself today.


self-care for PTSD
A list of self-care tips for PTSD

Nature Scapes

Let's face it, who doesn't feel better when they spend some time in nature? Neurobiologists don't necessarily agree on what constitutes nature though — whether it's a city park, a national park, or somewhere in the untouched wilderness. This is why when doctors suggest spending time in nature, they can't tell you how much therapeutic benefit you’ll get in return. However, one thing is for sure, even practicing mindfulness while watching nature scapes on YouTube can help you to feel better. If you don't believe me, spend a few minutes watching this one.


Now that you've accepted and completed my challenge, don't you feel calmer? This is because nature has a way of restoring us. Regardless of how traumatized you may be, nature is a critical component in the healing process. 

Candles and Aromatherapy

Whether you enjoy burning scented candles or you prefer to use aromatherapy, certain scents have been proven to be beneficial when it comes to self-care for PTSD. This is because certain smells are known to help:
  • Relieve depressive symptoms
  • Relieve stress 
  • Boost your mood
Two of the best scents to try here include:
  • Lavender: This is well-known for helping with relaxation and sleep (both falling asleep faster and having more restful sleep) but it also reduces your heart rate. 
  • Vanilla: This is a soothing scent, which is why so many perfume-makers really like using it in their products. However, what most people don't realize is that vanilla has sedative effects that help promote stress relief and relaxation by reducing hyperactivity and restlessness.
  • Day At The Spa, Island Coconut, and The Garden will all pair nicely with Nature Scapes to give you a relaxing, 3D experience.

I personally enjoy the candles and wax melts that Ritza Life sells because not only are they high quality, but they're also quite inexpensive. Oftentimes I'll burn one during therapy or while watching a nature scape. They help to ground me so that I feel better. If you haven't already tried this, I encourage you to do so.


self-care for PTSD
Start feeling better today with self-care for PTSD

Hopefully you've found something new here that you can try... Something that will help you in some small way. I know not everything works for everyone but I encourage you to try to find something that helps you relax and take care of yourself.

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Comments


  1. In recent years I have been taking care of myself and I have started to pay more attention to my health to make my life healthier and more complete.
    I sleep more and better, I have breakfast (years ago I skipped it), I drink at least 2 liters a day and I try to do some exercise.
    Among other things I always look for interesting information such as the tips you give because they stimulate me to take better and better care of me.
    Among other things, supporting a friend who suffers from PTSD I started to accompany her to an art laboratory that follows and I admit that she also helps me, although mentally I do not suffer from her own disorder.

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    1. Honestly I believe that these tips could help anyone. I just wanted to share how they'd help with PTSD in specific. I'm glad you see how art is beneficial, as is taking care of the rest of your life too. I've been slowly but surely working on all of this as well.

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  2. I believe self-care is essential for us all, I for one hugely depend on Art & craft , and reading when I am low.

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    1. I love arts and crafts too. They help me so much. I could spend my whole day doing them lol

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  3. These are all really great ideas. Its hard to choose which one I like best. But I think I'd have to choose the art therapy, I've always found drawing to be very relaxing and soothing.

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    1. There are so many different self-care tips even within each of these categories and different things work for different people. Like drawing, while I can do it, isn't relaxing for me like it is for you.

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  4. Great informational post! These are great tips for self care and of course as you pointed for PTSD survivors. We do couple of them as family on a regular basis including journaling, will def add more to our self care routine; love the nature scapes idea. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Nature scapes are a great, yet simple, addition to journaling. Just put some nature on TV while you journal and you'll reap twice the benefit ;)

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  5. I love these suggestions. They're also good for those who suffer with anxiety. I've never heard of diamond art painting but it looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing what helps!

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    1. Yes, I don't think they're solely good for PTSD. I think they're good for others as well. Thanks for mentioning that about anxiety.

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  6. I love journaling and art therapy. It's so helpful.

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    1. I was never big into journaling until recently but can now definitely see why it's so important. It's truly benefited me so I'm glad I gave it another try.

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  7. I've never experienced PTSD personally but I have some military friends who have. This will definitely help them. I naturally do most of these as a hobby so maybe my friends should just hang out with me more often and zen out. 😄 Thanks for sharing this post. I will be passing it along!

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    1. Yes, please share this with them. Until I understood this I was kind of downhearted thinking that there was something wrong with me. Now I realize it's an injury and that's really freed me up. It's hard to explain but the difference really is there in the transformation I've experienced since having this information.

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  8. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and journaling helps me loads, just to get all of my thoughts down on paper. This is a great list of ideas to do, I will have to give art therapy a go!

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    1. There are so many ways of healing available to those of us who have PTSD. Definitely give art therapy a go. It can be something as simple as doodling or coloring but I think you'll still find that it helps.

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  9. Brenda this is an incredibly informative post, I really love it all of your tips. I hadn't even thought of most of these. Definitely sharing! Oh and I think I'll be starting an affirmations journal - I think I could combine that with art therapy <3

    Maria Black https://mysoulbalm.blog

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    1. Yes, an affirmation journal is to what I attribute the fact that I'm over so much of my negativity. It really helps you look at things differently and speak positively into your life.

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  10. I've never experienced this, but I'm so thankful that people who do have this article as a resouce!

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    1. Thank you for your complement. I hope that you were able to see the importance of self- care regardless of what you're going through in life.

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  11. Great read. Self care is so important!

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  12. These are great tips to heal. So true so much is going on in the world and we really need this. I love the idea of aroma therapy. Had forgotten the benefits of it. Thanks for the reminder

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    1. It doesn't even have to be with essential oils. I have some candles and wax warmers that really help me out here.

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  13. Thanks for sharing! I have never experienced PTSD but I think that these are all great ideas for self care. Personally for me reading, art, and nature scapes are my favorite methods of self care!

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    1. I don't think you have to have PTSD to engage in self-care. It's something everyone should be doing and I'm glad these tips are able to reach beyond the PTSD community too.

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  14. Self care is so vital for emotional, physical and spiritual health. I'm so glad you specifically mentioned art therapy! I have a friend who is an art therapist and have heard about and seen the benefits that it yields.

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    1. I don't feel like enough people realize the benefits behind art therapy. I'm glad your friend is helping promote them.

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  15. I love using journaling for self care some times I just need to get off my chest and writing them down in a space place is great to do that.

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    1. I spend at least 30 minutes every morning journaling and so glad I do - time well spent in my opinion.

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  16. It is really good to connect to you via Heather Reese! I subscribed to your blog. I like your website!
    Heather Hammett

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  17. Thank you for sharing. Nature can have so many positive benefits!

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    1. The nice thing about nature is even if you can't be out in it, you can still enjoy it.

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  18. I love it here! As a counselor, as an anxiety-surviver, as me. Yes, please, to journaling to God, simple artwork {sticker by number puzzles}, being outside, being 1-1 with people who bring their authentic selves.

    I hope to connect with you again ...

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by and are able to speak to all the great benefits of self-care. I hope to see you around.

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  19. Great suggestions! I love journaling personally for self care and mental health. I don't have PTSD but I have a few family members that do.

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    1. Even without PTSD journaling is so great. I'm glad you're engaging in it.

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  20. All these techniques are definitely useful for everyone for stress relief.. and i know they have helped me

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    1. Yes, that's really the bottom line: taking care of yourself so you can remove some of the stress from your life so it doesn't harm you. I'm glad that you've found something that works in this way for you.

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  21. Brenda, I've been journaling my prayers for years, so your section on journaling caught my eye. What I do is a bit different from what you describe, but I can definitely see how it would be therapeutic. Thanks for this helpful post!

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    1. I think we all have to find and grow in our prayer life and it will then look different from person to person. The important thing is that you're growing and I'm celebrating that for you.

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  22. So many wonderful self care ideas, Brenda. I often have to remind myself that self care is never selfish. I think we get caught in that trap thinking we don't deserve to pamper and care for ourselves the same way we do for others. But it is so important to make time for self care. Thanks for sharing this and linking up with me.

    Shelbee
    www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by with a great reminder: "self care is never selfish."

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  23. Great tips. When I had PTSD gardening really helped me. And while I was working with the plants my mind was internally Journaling. Thinking about things and making sense of things.

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    1. This sounds like it was really helpful. I hope you continue to heal and have lots of beneficial self-care built in.

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  24. Thanks for sharing these tasks that have potential to fit into any day. Very helpful.

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    1. Yes, I think that's key: Self-care should be something you can fit into your day, no matter how busy you may be.

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