Self-Care & Support Resources
Self-Care While Healing From Violence or Trauma
- Take good care of yourself: eat well and stay hydrated, move your body in ways you enjoy, engage in your favorite self-care activities (baths, meditation, journaling), listen to your body
- Change your surroundings: rearrange your furniture, sleep in a different room, get away for the weekend
- Structure days to avoid isolation: make a to-do list and check it off one by one, celebrate small successes, surround yourself with supportive friends and family, take on only what you can comfortably handle
- Be kind to yourself: give yourself a present, make or go out for your favorite meal, be patient and compassionate with yourself (how would you treat a friend experiencing something similar?)
- Remember the abuse was not your fault: abuse is never justified, however you coped helped you survive the experience, you are safe now but it’s okay to be scared (reading or watching TV could help)
- Be expressive: cry or laugh or relieve stress — it’s okay to cry, to be scared, to be angry, to feel all and any of your feelings.
- Maintain a strong support network: nurture relationships with those who support you without judgment or blame, talk about the abuse when you want to
- Manage intrusive thoughts: try to ground yourself in the present, say a safety statement (eg. “My name is (NAME). I am safe. I am here. Today is (DATE)”), identify 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 3 you can small, and 1 you can taste, run cold water over your hands, eat something mindfully
- Reach out for help: contact a trained counselor (this is not a sign of weakness, but one of strength!) who can provide a non-judgmental space to process your experiences, relevant resources and referrals
- Give yourself time to heal: recovery will take exactly how much time it takes, there are no guidelines on recovery, your reactions are completely rational to a completely irrational experience, you are in control of your decisions (reporting, testifying, talking to a counselor, returning to school, moving, etc.), trust yourself and your ability to hope and heal
Helping a Friend or Loved One
Even if you haven’t experienced interpersonal violence yourself, you may know someone who has, and you may wonder about the best way to help them through this difficult time. You can always contact a confidential resource by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to support you in navigating helping or supporting a friend (and to give you the support you need during this time!).
- Listen to what they have to say. Pay attention, try not to interrupt, and show you care.
- Believe them when they tell their story. It’s not your job to investigate, but to be there to support them.
- Offer support to the survivor. Ask what you can do for them at this time, and tell them what you’re willing to provide. Communicate that what happened is not the survivor’s fault.
- Address immediate safety concerns by finding out if the survivor is safe and has a safe place to stay.
- Be prepared to help and provide information to the survivor. Have contact numbers, websites, email addresses, referral options, and other resources readily available.
- Be flexible with the survivor’s needs and wishes. Don’t force them to do what you think they should do. Help them do what they want to do.
- Be realistic about healing and recovery time. It’s not a linear process. Everyone’s recovery journey looks a little bit different, and it may take longer than you think.
- Understand that different people react to trauma in different ways. Familiarize yourself with common reactions to violence and how the survivor might be feeling.
- Obtain resources from counselors in CAPS or HES. Keep these on hand for the survivor.
- Respect confidentiality, and be honest with the survivor if you’re required to report the incident to someone else.