Practicing Self-Care After Trauma

Trauma can have devastating effects on the body and mind; physically, trauma can cause lethargy, exhaustion, fatigue, and racing heartbeats, among others; emotionally, trauma can cause anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and dissociation, among others. In the aftermath of a traumatic event, one of the most vital things one can do for oneself is practice effective self-care strategies. The traditional forms of care and support for survivors include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectic behavior therapy, EMDR therapy, and prolonged exposure therapy. In addition to these therapies, self-care strategies that survivors should practice outside of treatment are also essential to aid in the healing process.

Utilizing self-care strategies can help trauma survivors heal in a variety of ways: 

  1. Breathing exercises: Several breathing exercises can calm an individual when experiencing a stressful situation or flashbacks. The applications “Calm” and “Headspace” are excellent for beginners interested in using breath work to relieve symptoms.
  2. Journaling: Writing down thoughts and feelings is a great way to safely express one’s emotions and feelings. Trying to suppress feelings and emotions will ultimately result in an even more intense outburst; regardless of how hard you try, those emotions will eventually surface. Journaling can provide insight into why and how the individual is experiencing the feelings they are experiencing, as well as being a very introspective experience. It’s also helpful for assessing situations and coming up with solutions. 
  3. Physical self-care: Taking a hot or cold shower, applying a face mask, and exercising are excellent self-care strategies. By taking a hot shower, you can stimulate the release of oxytocin in the brain. In contrast, a cold shower and exercise will produce endorphins responsible for boosting happiness and reducing stress. Cold conditions also stimulate the vagus nerve, which regulates internal functions that promote calmness and clarity by slowing down the sympathetic nervous system and activating the parasympathetic nervous system. 
  4. Spirituality: Practicing gratitude, breath work, meditating, yoga, manifesting, and self-reflecting can be powerful tools to foster a new sense of being, leading to a better quality of life. Spirituality has been a vital part of my life for the past few years.
  5. Healthy eating habits: Eating unprocessed whole foods is the key to fostering a healthy body and mind. There is a direct link between our gut microbiome and our mental health. Instabilities in our gut flora can lead to various health issues, including brain fog, depression, and anxiety. It is possible to alleviate those symptoms by improving gut health. There should always be a balance; it’s essential not to restrict oneself, and occasionally indulging is fine. Maintaining a healthy relationship with food can be difficult, but it is necessary for our mental well-being. 
  6. Goal setting: Goal setting and creating a plan for the future is a great way to stay focused and excited about the future. During times of distress, focusing on the positive aspects of life can be difficult. It is helpful to remain present when one is working toward a goal.
  7. Music: Music is an essential source of comfort when facing mental challenges. It is an excellent form of self-care and helps to relieve trauma and negative emotions. It’s a great way to express feelings and improve your mood and mind. 

We all find it difficult to remember to take care of ourselves. Trauma can exacerbate these difficulties, making it easy to fall into a vicious cycle of self-destruction. In addition to more traditional forms of therapy, these self-care strategies are incredibly beneficial for healing trauma and promoting long-term recovery.


Self-care after trauma. RAINN. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2022, from

Self-care after trauma. RAINN. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2022, from

Self-care for PTSD. Mind. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2022, from

View all posts