Self-Care during Isolation
The world is facing an unprecedented crisis which, to enable survival, means disconnecting ourselves from our communities, families and friends. This could lead to many feelings of trauma, grief and fear.
For survivors of sexual violence who are already living with trauma and repercussions of the crime committed against them, this can be an added blow to deal with, and you may find that you are feeling even more triggered than normal.
Here are some reminders of self-care to help when things become really difficult:
- Limit the amount of time you spend listening to the news. It is easy to get carried away with fear and catastrophe. Check that the information you are looking at comes from a valid source and is not panic mongering.
- Spend time doing things that you may not usually have time to do: watch a movie, read a book, do a dance exercise class on YouTube, yoga, join an online book club, make sure you have fresh air every day
- Stay connected with trusted and safe family and friends via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or telephone
- Have compassion for yourself and any feelings you have. Feelings are neither negative nor positive – they are information. If your feelings make you feel uncomfortable then your body is telling you to listen to it and requires attention. Imagine your body is a child who needs attention. What attention does it need? Listen and respond.
- Create a sensory box which can support you in desperate times. This could include:
Touch: Silk, chiffon, cotton wool, fur, pebble
Taste: Mints, Chocolate, wine gums
Sound: Music, children laughing, water rippling
Smell: Perfume, grass cuttings, coffee, smelling salts
Sight: Favourite photo, beach scene, picture of a puppy/kitten
When you feel like you might lose yourself in your thinking or you feel you may go into flashback, go through your sensory box and take time to really engage with your senses and what these all mean for you.
Breathe through your feelings. Really focus on breathing into your stomach and out again.
Remember, all feelings pass.
If you would like further support, Rape Crisis England and Wales have a page on their website dedicated to tools for helping you cope, including managing flashbacks.
The National Rape Crisis Helpline is also open every day of the year from 12.00 to 2.30 and 7.00 to 9.30pm on 0808 802 9999. Confidential and specialist support is available to women and girls aged 13+ completely free of charge.