Working through trauma and learning how to heal my inner self has been a much longer journey than expected. If you're on this same journey, I hope some of this advice can help. Remember, you're as unique as our fingerprints are – nobody else has your journey, nobody else has your experiences. Don't beat yourself up over advice that doesn't work for you, simply find advice that does. 🙂
6 Things to Do to Heal Your Inner Self
Life can take a real toll on our emotions. When you go through a crisis especially (hello, 2020!), emotional scars are often left behind. If left unhealed, these scars can affect your life in negative ways.
If you’re ready to start living your best life, free from stress and trauma, it’s time to start healing your inner self. Let's talk about what you can do to reclaim your life.
Listen to your body.
You know your body better than anybody else. That means if you want to start feeling better, it’s up to you. While that may sound discouraging at first glance, this is why it's important to pay attention to your body. By listening to how your body is feeling, you’ll then be able to identify what you need to do each day to make you feel better. Yes, this is an everyday thing – not a one time do it and forget it type thing. Making yourself feel better requires a constant conscious effort for many of us – myself included!
Start writing out your feelings. This is going to give you the best idea of how to make yourself feel better when you’re struggling emotionally. To heal from trauma, we need to recognize what our body wants and needs. What is your body telling you? What is your mind telling you? Listen.
I'm obsessed with journaling! Here are some of my favorite journal prompts:
- 30+ Journal Prompts for the New Year
- 30+ Journal Prompts for Anger Management
- 30 Journal Prompts for Self-Esteem and Positive Thinking
- 30 Journal Prompts for Anxiety and Depression
- Journaling Through Crisis
- How to Create a Gratitude Journal
- My Positive Parenting Bullet Journal
Acknowledge trauma you've experienced.
Whew. This was – and still is – the hardest part for me. I'm the type to compartmentalize and completely ignore past traumas – until they come up unexpectedly and leave me in the fetal position. Again.
The other day, we passed a motorcycle accident. While the motorcycle was beat up, nobody was hurt and I knew that. However, it still spun me into a complete panic attack – full on ugly crying in the car for 20 minutes while my husband consoled me. Why was I crying? Several traumas I've refused to address. Yet here we are again. Sigh.
While you may think that the best thing to do to overcome trauma is to bury it and move on, it’s so important to acknowledge it. All of it. Whether you have childhood trauma, recent trauma, or anything in between, it still has to be addressed.
I'm a huge hypocrite – do as I say not as I do and all – but addressing trauma, even in small ways, can really help you heal emotionally. We all know this! Doing it, well, that's the tough part, right? While I'm working through my trauma on my own, it's slow going – counseling is ideal if you're dealing with stuff you've been unable to work through on your own.
Acknowledge the trauma you’ve been through or are going through – but don’t dwell on it.
Try this: write down the negative experiences you've had (one at a time, or all at once, whatever feels best for you) and how these experiences have made you feel. Then, analyze them: why did these experiences make you feel that way?
How can you reprogram your thoughts about these experiences from negative and hurtful to positive and powerful?
Treat yourself with kindness.
It truly is soooo important to be kind to yourself, always, but especially when you’re working on healing your inner self. This means hydrating your body (with water, not coffee! ;)), eating healthy foods that fuel your body, and getting enough exercise. Guess what? It also means spending time doing the things you enjoy.
Mind, body, and spirit are all connected. I struggle a lot with emotional eating due to avoidance of past traumas. If you haven't yet, join my CONQUER EMOTIONAL EATING support group. I'd love to have some friends to chat with and work through all of this with! It's a 100% judgment-free zone.
Taking “you time” each day will help relax your mind and body. Speak – out loud – positive affirmations to yourself. Write them down on sticky notes and stick them all over the place! On the mirror, on the fridge, on your desk. Surround yourself with positive quotes, affirmations, and overall empowering words. Remove negativity from your life – even if it's difficult, even if you can only do it a little bit at a time.
As women especially, we are our biggest critics! You already know this, I bet. Let's get started and switch any negative thinking about yourself into a positive. Tell yourself that you are loved, you are unique and worthy of love. The more positive things you tell yourself, the stronger you will become. I know this seems silly at first, sometimes I still feel silly and I've done it for ages! But it truly does work. My confidence has gone up, my stress levels have gone down, and honestly I'm a better mom and wife because I started loving myself.
I struggle with chronic health issues, including chronic pain. If you do, too, you know exactly how difficult that is. You also know how easy it is to hate yourself because of it. I mean, it could just be me hating myself because of what my body has done, but I'm guessing I'm not alone.
I've had to completely reframe the way I think about myself, out of self-preservation, really. If I didn't, I wouldn't be alive. If I didn't, my kids would not have a positive female role model to look up to. We fuck our kids up enough, right? I don't need to do it even more by hating myself and teaching them to hate themselves.
Learn to set healthy boundaries – with everyone.
Ah, setting boundaries. This is the last thing most women want to hear about. Why? Because we are awful at setting boundaries!! Well, that's what we believe – and are taught. So, until we put the work in to set boundaries, we suck at that. If you’re healing from past trauma, you may have developed the habit of people pleasing. So you may be pleasing them (always temporarily), but failing to have boundaries can lead to a lot of unhappiness. You can't make them happy at the expense of your own happiness! If the person was worth making happy in the first place, they wouldn't WANT you to risk your own happiness to please them. Period.
Take a look at your life and where boundaries could be set. Do you often say yes to things you want to say no to? If so, now’s the time to knock that shit off. It's okay to say no. It's healthy to say no. It's critical to say no. Nobody can treat you a certain way unless you let them. If you have someone in your life who never respects your boundaries, now is the time to start making a plan to get them out of your life.
Believe in yourself.
I work with women, almost daily, who have limiting beliefs and self-sabotage their success. I'm also one of those women. When I get to a certain point, I end up in this toxic downward spiral. While I've worked on it and am much better than I used to be, it's still something I have to put work in to keep in check.
Why does it matter if you believe in yourself? Well, there are many reasons. First, when you truly believe you're amazing, you don't let the opinions of other people bother you. One of our biggest issues as women is that people have felt – our ENTIRE DAMN LIVES – that it's okay to comment on EVERYTHING we do. From our appearance, to our career choices, to whether we have kids or not, it seems everyone has an opinion on our personal lives when they have zero business opening their mouths about it.
As you work through your traumas, you'll find your confidence improving and your limiting beliefs dissipating.
Make sleep a number one priority.
Healing begins inside. Making sleep a priority will help you feel energized, in control, and relaxed. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can lead to loads of emotional and physical issues.
How to get started with changing your sleep routine… start a bedtime routine and go to bed at the same time every night. Make sure your bedroom promotes healthy sleep. Anything you can do to improve your sleep, is going to make it easier for you to heal. For example, I was working on my laptop in my bedroom quite often, and found I could never relax at night because my desk (and all of my work) was staring at me while I was trying to snooze. I moved my office OUT of my bedroom, and have slept more peacefully since.
My nighttime routine changes based on how I'm feeling, what I did throughout the day, and that type of thing, but the base of my routine is always the same:
- Self-care: shower, brush teeth, etc
- Situate bed and pillows: kick dogs off the bed so I can fit LOL
- Relaxing music and scents: sometimes I have migraines so I don't always use scents but I say “Alexa, play my sleep playlist” and my relaxing music starts playing. (Alexa also helps with my meditation)
- More self-care: my husband brushes my hair or rubs my head while I drift off to sleep
Whatever your nighttime routine looks like, set yourself up for success by making a plan. Design your routine so you look forward to laying your head on your pillow each night, and waking rested the next morning.
As you can see, there are many ways to start healing your inner self. You don’t have to let past or current trauma rule your life.