Reclaiming Your Power After Trauma
You can reclaim your power after trauma, although it can be challenging. A common issue I battle from my posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the feeling of powerlessness. I've found it's hard to foster empowerment after enduring a difficult or complex trauma — even when it gets set off years later. While PTSD might be an ongoing battle for many, with the effects of trauma often lingering, there are ways you can lessen its weight. Here are six habits I've been practicing to help reclaim my power.
How to Reclaim Your Power
1. Connecting with Your Community
In my experience, feeling like I'm part of a community has helped me avoid isolation and find a greater purpose. Especially as a woman, I've found it crucial to have a group of other females who share similar experiences or interests. During dark times, I know I can turn to these individuals for support, reassurance, and healthy validation rather than looking for love in the wrong places. This is helping me reclaim my power.
2. Taking Care of Your Health
When my mental health is suffering, my physical health usually ends up suffering, too. I find it difficult to take care of myself, often skipping meals or eating junk food and refusing to go outside or move my body. While it might not be intentional (sometimes I lack the energy to go out or simply forget to eat), failing to care for myself has only ever worsened my emotional state.
In trying to reclaim my power, I've found it beneficial to meal prep my food ahead of time (usually on Sundays while listening to an uplifting podcast or music) so I have healthy meals ready throughout the week. Additionally, I carve out time in my schedule each day to do some sort of exercise, whether it's walking outside, doing yoga, or even just dancing to my favorite songs. I also meditate each morning and night to help calm my mind and get back in touch with my body and breath.
3. Creating a Routine
Routines have been my saving grace for helping me reclaim my power. Every morning, I make sure to practice good habits like journaling, reading, and mindfully getting ready for the day. Rather than rushing straight to work, I wake a little earlier so I have time to prioritize my peace and set the tone for the day. Each night, I unwind by doing similar practices, ending the day on a positive note rather than mindlessly scrolling on my phone or staying up binging TV shows.
I've found that following a non-strict routine helps me practice self-discipline while still allowing me to do things that bring me joy. Developing these healthy habits has helped me feel more accomplished and built a sense of self-respect. I know certain rituals make me feel my best, and continuing to do them is a form of self-love and care for me.
4. Journaling Without Judgement
Writing down all your thoughts — without filtering or judging them — can bring a sense of relief and help you reclaim your power. This practice helps me understand what's weighing on me and why. There are many different journal prompts you can follow online, or you can simply free-write to vent out your frustrations, worries, or grief. Once I've finished journaling, I find myself feeling lighter, less confused, and more grounded. You can make this a daily practice or simply something you do whenever you feel compelled.
5. Cultivating a Comforting Space
Whether it's in your bedroom, car, apartment, or office, try to create an inviting environment where you can escape whenever you need alone time. For example, I make sure to decorate my apartment using warm colors, candles with endearing scents, and ambient lighting to elicit comfort. Additionally, I declutter and clean my space so I can feel safe, peaceful, and at home.
6. Setting Boundaries and Saying No
Saying no isn't as easy for some people as it is for others — and I am "some people." I'm not the best at rejecting people or putting my needs ahead of someone else's feelings, but that doesn't do me or anyone any good. I've learned there's a lot more power in setting boundaries and saying no to things you don't want to do than there is in simply trying to keep the peace. This will help you reclaim your power and hold strong in who you are.
Caramela, S. (2023, September 3). Reclaiming Your Power After Trauma, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2023/9/reclaiming-your-power-after-trauma