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Saturday, February 22 2020

Happy self-care Saturday!

Often when we think of self-care, we think of things that we can do to treat ourselves, whether that's a massage, yoga, or practicing gratitude. While those things are nice, an aspect of self-care that we don't often think about is social action. Maybe we've never even thought about social action as self-care. So why social action?

When we go through trauma, whether that be experiencing violence or oppression ourselves or someone close to us experiencing violence or oppression, we experience a lot of different things. Some of the things we may experience are feeling a lack of control in our lives, disempowerment, like we don't have a voice, and that the world and/or the system is broken or hopeless. These are all normal feelings and reactions to violence and oppression. 

However, we do have power and a voice. We are valuable, important, and our stories and experiences matter. When we feel ready and if it feels good to us, social action can provide a tool to counteract those traumatic feelings. It can give us a sense of control, empowerment, and voice. It can make us feel like we are contributing to making the world and the system a less broken place. 

So what does social action look like? There are as many ways to engage in social action as there are people, and what feels rights and healing to someone else might feel different from what feels right or healing to you. Feel out what feels best. Check out some suggestions below and feel free to comment with your own!

  • Find and sign petitions related with your cause.
  • Write letters or call those who have the power to change the system, whether that's a coalition, attorney, or legislator.
  • Promote awareness for your cause, whether that's sharing your story, sharing posts on social media, or engaging in awareness activities or awareness months.
  • Learn more about your cause. Do some research, find some resources, and maybe even educate others.
  • Use your voice. Speak with local agencies and/or SARTs about your experience. Give feedback and ideas.
  • Talk with other survivors or loved ones. Express empathy and support to people in person, on social media, or at a support group. Write letters or notes to other survivors. 
  • Help out! Working or volunteering with your cause can help make a difference in others' lives and create fulfillment.
  • Engage in a different cause. Sometimes engaging in the causes that caused us trauma can put us too much in that trauma. If engaging in the cause that is the source of our trauma hurts more than helps, engage in a different cause. It can give your mind a break from trauma and promote connection and healing with others. 
Saturday, February 01 2020
Sleep Hygiene

Survivor after survivor contact us and express troubles with sleeping. It feels impossible to get to sleep, or we wake up multiple times during the night, we sleep all day, or we have frequent nightmares. Not only is this frustrating and inconvenient, but it also affects all aspects of our lives and healing. When we get good sleep, we are able to think more clearly, process emotions more easily, and in general function better.  

 

Let’s talk about ways to fix our sleep, otherwise known as sleep hygiene.  

 

  • Safety 

    • It can certainly be hard to sleep if we are feeling unsafe! Making sure you are in a safe place away from unsafe people, securing your home or sleep space, or installing a security system (or even just getting a security system sticker to deter people!) can help us rest easy.  

  • Sweet dreams 

    • Did you know that we have some control over what we dream? In order to stay away from nightmares, try to manipulate your dreams. Keep a journal by your bed and write down all unpleasant thoughts or memories before going to bed. Close the book on those thoughts and memories. Maybe even visualize those thoughts and memories floating away, being put into a container, or burning up. Let them go. Then bring in pleasant thoughts.  

    • If you wake up to a nightmare or flashback, process or contain it. Call our 24/7 helpline and talk about it, write it down in your journal, or once again visualize putting those thoughts in a container to come back to another time.  

  • Routine, routine, routine 

    • Our bodies get into routines and those routines cue things like sleepiness. If we establish regular routines, it will be so much easier to sleep! Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each night and day. Consider coming up with a relaxing sleep routine. Whether it’s a bath or shower, yoga in bed, a guided meditation, reading a book, or just relaxing, if we do it consistently, we will begin to associate it with sleep. 

  • Sleep space 

    • Since we get used to our routines, it is important to be mindful of our sleep space! Use the bed only for sleep so your body knows to sleep there rather than staying awake. If sleep doesn’t come within 20 minutes, get out of bed and try again later! We don’t want to associate bed with being awake at all. Keep electronics out of the bedroom; they teach us to stay awake and the blue light from them tricks our bodies into thinking it’s daytime!  

    • Create a comfortable and relaxing space to sleep. Move clocks if they keep you up, keep your space quiet and dark, and remember that cool temperatures are best for bringing on sleep.  

  • Day to night 

    • What we do during the day directly affects how we sleep at night! Getting exercise during the day and avoiding substance and nicotine use will help us sleep. What we eat and drink also directly affects our sleep. Try to avoid caffeine after 3pm and don’t eat a meal too late at night. Cherries, almonds, and herbal teas before bed will help us sleep. B vitamins and melatonin can also assist with sleeping, but always check with a doctor before adding new supplements, especially in conjunction with any medications. 

  • Sleep accessories 

    • Having the right accessories can help as well! Several survivors have told me that they’ve purchased weighted blankets which have worked wonders!  

 

Sleep tight! 

We DO Talk about that Here
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Contact us

Safe Place Sexual Assault Center
PO Box 235
Batesville, Indiana 47006
812-932-SAFE (7233)
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This project is supported in part (or in whole) by grant, 03215VAGX006403 from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. Views contained herein are those of the author and do not represent the position of USDOJ or ICJI.