During my recovery from Narcissistic abuse, I found self-care to be the one activity that always allowed me to feel better. A large part of recovering from narcissistic abuse is learning that you are worth while and there is no shame in taking time to take care of yourself first. If you cannot take care of yourself, then how are you going to help others?
Here is a short list of things to do to take care of yourself, especially in those anxious moments when you feel lost and not like yourself. The more you take care of yourself, the quicker you will recover from narcissistic abuse.
- Detox baths are my favorite self-care ritual. Whenever I feel a bit lost or out of sorts, this is a great place to start no matter the time of day. Fill a bathtub with water and add some of the following: epsom salt, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, essential oils, bentonite clay, baking soda, etc. One of my favorites is coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and epsom salt. Take an hour and pamper yourself with a warm bath without interruptions. I do not think I have ever gotten out of the bathtub feeling worse, it is a guaranteed mood elevator.
- Remember to religiously take vitamins, probiotics, and minerals. Your body just works better when it has everything it needs. Invest in your health and your body will participate in your evolution and growth.
- Go for a walk, take your dogs for a walk, do some yoga, or go to the gym. This is an area I struggle in, so I found easy ways to get my body moving. I learned that when I made myself exercise in any way my panic attacks were lessened. Nothing is worse than a CPTSD flashback taking out a couple of days of your life, so remember to literally keep moving. This also helps prevent dissociation. The more you are present in your body and moving, the harder it is to disassociate.
- Have a relaxing morning routine. This is one that made a world of difference in my life. Mornings are a rough time so make it easier by treating yourself to peace in the mornings by design. Take an hour to do things you enjoy in the morning, even if it seems ridiculous. Having a pleasant morning routine sets the tone for your whole day. For example, I get up and make a cup of herbal tea, let the dogs out, and sometimes I take a detox bath, other days I watch an hour of Netflix in bed with my tea and just relax. Make mornings simple. Simplicity is bliss, but taking time for yourself first sets the tone.
- Focus on improving your diet and nutrition. There are so many different approaches to this aspect of health and self-care, but just make some small changes gradually that feel good. Start eating more alkaline and plant-based foods. If cancer cannot live in an alkaline body it cannot be a bad thing. Eat more raw vegetables, drink herbal tea, try alkaline water, drink a glass of water with a teaspoon of baking soda before bed, go vegetarian/vegan one meal a day, do a detox, test your ph balance in the mornings, try intermittent fasting, or anything you know will make you feel better. The best part of this step is there are so many options and the resources are unlimited.
- Get rid of the chaos and declutter your home, car, and work space. This is another one of my favorite things to do. While learning and processing all the realizations about the life I had lived while surviving narcissistic abuse and domestic violence, I no longer wanted to surround myself with things. Not that I was a hoarder, but hey there was room for improvement. I am not saying we all need to become strict minimalists, but do a spring cleaning and donate a few boxes of stuff you do not need/use. The bonus is you now have a tax write off to file away. Remember things are just things, they will never love you or keep you company, things are merely responsibilities. How much stuff do you want to maintain and spend your life taking care of?
- Read books that interest you and will enable you to improve your daily life. I had a stack of books on Narcissistic abuse and cluster b personality disorders during the beginning of my recovery. Learning how to logically process the abuse that these people dish out aids in realizing just how unacceptable it is. They may not think their behaviors are toxic, but over time they erode your self-worth and reality. Finding the ways in which you were eroded is the first step in building yourself back up.
- Journal daily. If you are not having an honest conversation with yourself, then you have no business talking to others. It does not matter what you write, what format you choose, or if you do it at the same time everyday. Just remember to talk to yourself by keeping a journal in a conscious honest manner about your life. There is a great power in learning to document your journey and having the ability to look back on it with 20/20 vision.
This is just a short list of some of my go to self-care routines. They are great to use as a reward or in the moment when you are having a difficult time. Self care has no rules other than if you care for yourself others will follow suit. Feeling good about being you is one of the most important things in life, make it a conscious habit and routine.
Remember the big picture, take action, don’t react!