Self-Care for Recovery from Childhood Trauma
As a human being, you have a remarkable capacity to heal and rebalance after trauma. This is your biological heritage, and it's also your psychological heritage.
You can intentionally 'cultivate' this healing -- you can decide to grow and recover from past injury.
In this message, we look at a lifestyle attitude that psychologists call 'self-care'. [Definition below.]
Self-care is part of psychological health -- when people are psychologically healthy, they just naturally practice self-care. They may not even realize it.
But people can also decide to live with more self-care. They can want to take better care of themselves, day by day.
In this way, they strengthen their psychological health by consciously caring for themselves.
What is ‘self-care’?
> Definition from Oxford Languages (Oxford English Dictionary):
'Self-care' is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.
> Definition from The Canadian Medical Association:
'Self-care' means taking action to preserve or improve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellness.
> Definition from The National Institute of Mental Health:
'Self-care' means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health.
Self-Care tips from The National Institute of Mental Health
Self-Care & Childhood Maltreatment
Self-care may sound simple and straightforward — you're guided by a natural concern for your own health and well-being.
But people who have suffered childhood maltreatment often act in ways that sabotage self-care.
For example, they might habitually undermine their physical health with self-destructive habits of diet, alcohol, drugs, smoking, physical inactivity, sleep deprivation, etc.
Self-Compassion & Childhood Maltreatment
Psychologists now recognize that 'self-compassion' is part of self-care too.
Women who experienced childhood maltreatment are often unfamiliar with self-compassion. Instead, they tend to consider themselves with self-judgment, shame, harsh self-criticism. Sometimes this even leads them to self-harm.
See how the Canadian Medical Association describes self-compassion for its physician members:
If you're curious about the attitude of self-compassion, you might investigate the work of Dr. Kristin Neff.