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Self Care/Self Soothing Techniques

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by Pixie, Dec 16, 2009.

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  1. Pixie

    Pixie Well-Known Member

    I have been thinking a lot about posting this thread the past few days. Just had to get my head together enough to do it.

    I think with such a stressful time of year upon us, this is the time that we sufferers really need to take some extra time and put in a little extra effort to do those things that help us to feel more grounded. Self care is one of those things that gets shoved to the back when we feel so terrible that it is hard to even drag ourselves out of bed... things such as making sure that we eat (even if it is something little), having a shower etc... but there are other little things that I've discovered that really help me along my way...

    This thread is basically so that people can share their ideas and techniques and encourage each other to do these things that sometimes we find so difficult.

    Okay... so I'll start:

    Self care:
    - try something little to begin with, such as using a nice moisturizer on your hands and face after you wash them. I've been trying to do this for the past few weeks and not only does it help me to feel as if I am WORTH looking after, it has also dramatically improved my skin tone etc...

    - for the ladies... I've never been one to really take care of my nails, but lately I bought a little thing which removes ridges and smooths my nails (cost less than $6 from the chemist). It was actually quite soothing to do and has helped me when I'm feeling triggered as it requires some concentration but not much "mind power".

    Self soothing:
    - curling up with a blanket wrapped around me and a teddy bear. Great for when I'm feeling little and afraid.

    - making myself comfy in my bean bag and watching a favorite movie (that way you can zone out and don't have to concentrate)

    Would love to hear more suggestions as this is basically all I have! :doh:

    shiraz, Nicky31 and lyrical like this.
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  3. Waga

    Waga Member

    I also think that looking after yourself strategy works. I've been doing it for past few days and it works shockingly good for me. I feel more together and even kind of ... happy? Yesterday and today this feeling lasted for few hours straight.

    My looking after myslef strategy includes:
    - running on a treadmill and a little bit of other exercises
    - healthier diet
    - a lot of sleep (I don't work now so it comes easier)
    - pampering - this is something very new to me, for past few years my body care set consisted of a soap, a $4 shampoo and a $3 facial cream. I expanded my range recently and I also think that it works, it makes me to look in the mirror more and more often and accept myself better.

    I would like to warn you to not Guilt yourself too much over not looking after yourself, because it may lead you to the mistake that I made. Yesterday I went to the shopping centre, that didn't look so scary too me as usually, so I was even open to some contacts with people. The predator attacked me and exploited my vulnerability. She guilted me into not looking after myself offering perfect solution to my problems, demonstrated tones of cosmetics on me that felt really good. I am not going to tell you how much I spent, but I don't think that I spent this much for past 10 years.
    Girls, don’t let the guilt to get into you and be sensible!
  4. This Ends Now

    This Ends Now Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Super Thread!

    Great idea for a thread! I would like to add a few things that I have been trying since I am in a relatively good mood today.

    1. Curling under blankets and running the hairdryer on "low" on my hands and feet. I make like a little tent of warm with this and the sound of the hairdryer relaxes me.

    2. Learning how to make stuff. Nothing difficult but there are lots of cheap easy recipes for bread and cookies and simple stuff. It makes me feel less dependent and like I am useful.

    3. Simple art projects. My favorite is cutting out snowflakes. I can also make little seam bound books with typing paper as a filling and construction paper as an outside. Oragami is also good and instructions can be found online.

    4. Sewing and recycling old fabric. I never get rid of old clothes so I have tons of stuff I cannot wear anymore in my closet. Just a hand sewing needle, spool of thread, old shirt and scizzors and I can make a draw string purse, new apron, mini skirt, etc.

    5. Mixing liquid bath soaps. I love nice exotic soaps but they are too expensive. Fortunately it is easy to mix a nice hand soap or bubble bath. A big thing of generic clear unscented shampoo or antibacterial hand soap refill makes a good base. Save clear bottles from old soap pumps and wash them out once they are empty for containers. At the craft store you can get soap friendly colors and fragrance oils to add in. Just mix, pour, shake, and done.

    Best wishes to everybody! I hope you all have some nice times during the winter months. :Hug_emoticon:
    Nicky31 likes this.
  5. Dylan

    Dylan Well-Known Member

    One of the single most comforting/reassuring things I do is an hourly check in -- I lose myself much less that way. At each check in, I try to take a deep breath, recognize what I'm feeling, access that loving observer and tell myself the words I most need to hear, right at the moment. This practice helps immensely with combating overwhelm, panic, and the sense that "nothing's ok, never has been ok, never will be ok...and there's nothing I can do about it!" :rolleyes:

  6. SunnyBrookFarm

    SunnyBrookFarm I'm a VIP

    1. Curling up in a blanket in front of the fire, with all the lights off, and stupid TV on.
    2. If I am out in public, I will find a quiet place to go and do deep breathing exercises (dressing rooms are great for this - or a bookstore is wonderful you can find a quiet corner easily).
    3. Comfort foods (when all else fails I can normally eat scrambled eggs and waffles or homemade mac and cheese).
    4. Finding a quiet place in the house and listening to classical music as loud as you would dance music.
    5. (No skin cancer speeches please - I know the risks....) in the winter, I will pop into a tanning bed place for a quick "dose" of UV lights - it's quiet and warm.

    Great idea for a thread - I'll be checking back to see more suggestions.
  7. lyrical

    lyrical Active Member

    Great idea for a thread, there are some things on here that I will definately try.

    I find playing music (different music depending on my mood) via headphones helps. If I can stop myself before I really start panicking then making music (if you play an instrument) really helps to sooth as you can start it off as edgy as you feel then gradually work onto relaxing soothing pieces, or even happy pieces.

    The other thing I do is going for a walk to get away from everybody. Just me and my dog and a tennis ball.

    Lyrical x
  8. cat

    cat Well-Known Member

    It'a always good to share ideas, here are mine.

    Wrapping myself in a fleece blanket on the sofa with my cat
    A Down duvet & pillows, combined with an electric blanket, it's heaven!
    Walking in the woods
    Sitting by the river, listening to water going over the weir
    Sitting in my hot tub regardless of the weather, its like being hugged without having contact

  9. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    My all time favorite....A hot bubble bath, with a cup of tea, some candles burning and the lights off. I also use Epsom salt in the water for muscle aches and pains.....
    Lionheart777 likes this.
  10. Nicky31

    Nicky31 Active Member

    Yey Pixie I love this thread, some great ideas are coming up from everyone. Having been in bed for the past 3 days you'd think it was all about self soothing lol. Here are my ideas though.

    self care
    I have just invested in some expensive but good quality stuff for looking after my skin. Face wash, exfoliator and cream. I get nasty lumps along my jaw line when I'm stressed] and currently have a scaly dry patch on my eyelid. They have calmed, soothed healed and I look and feel better for it.

    I bought these from a place I go for the occasional pamper- for facials, brows, massage. It just helps me look after me.

    I love to walk and try to walk at least an hour each day. I take my dog round the local cemetary where it's clean, safe, peaceful. My favourite walks are in woodlands, but I'm happy anywhere outdoors.

    I have nice goodies for the bath from a place called Lush it's all animal friendly and they are soothing to aid sleep, calm, relax and treat.

    ]self soothing
    I too like to wrap up on the sofa and I watch Disney classics and anything that is non threatening, quite childlike and escapist.

    I love my 1920's radio station I found o line through my iPhone. It's based in Chesapeake Virginia and plays 1920's and 30's jazz. It's so gentle and soothing. Also the station birdsong that plays wild birdsong 24 hours a day.

    I like to pull my hair, tug at the roots, not to pull it out but it feels nice. I do that when I'm tired too. Mark even did it to me yesterday:smile:

    I like to eat nice things. Trifle is always a winner with me, I'm not a massive chocolate fan. Sunny! I'm with you on the scrambled eggs :thumbs-up
  11. Waga

    Waga Member


    You've scared me a little bit with your replies to this thread. I see that all of you do a lot of fun things that you enjoy. I kind of forgot what fun means because I was in a pretty dark place for quite long.

    Why is it scary to me? Because I thought that once I find my way to enjoy little things in life and start to appreciate them again I will be healty. You all "entertain" yourself quite regularly, and you are still here.

    Probably I simplified things too much. :think:
  12. Nicky31

    Nicky31 Active Member

    Hi Waga

    I see what you are saying. If I was healthy and well I'd probably be doing these things more often and then some. As things stand for me I have to really think and prepare for these things and I don't do them as often as I should. I'm getting more of a balance between good and bad days and these things help, but I know I'm still some way off being more good than bad- if that makes sense.

    Tap into one thing Waga that soothes you and write it on your calendar if you have to. Just because you have PTSD you can still do something good for you.::Hug_emoticon:
    Pixie and Waga like this.
  13. anni

    anni Bucephalus ( an old war horse )
    Premium Member

    I think I see what Pixie means? It's hard to get it together to 'plan' to do anything at all, much less go out of your way to treat yourself? I'm a little foggy today and am not comprehending things well at ALL, which is why I'm tooling around the forum for awhile. Trying to click IN for the day!

    All the self-soothing lists are simple, though, and made me smile and relax just reading them. Baths, movies, TEDDIES, sofas.... thank you! I'm seriously all kinds of happy just reading this thread!!! It will be a good time to log off and go plunge into the day. Mine is going down to the creek with the dog and watching the water.

    BTW-TRIFLE! You Brits are killing me! I'd forgotten all about trifle! I lived over there for 5 years and I think that the invention of trifle is the real reason you guys ran the Emprire for so long in the first place. We don't have your custard over here, but am now going to go Google some acceptable replacement because I want some trifle NOW!!

    Yum, :)

    lyrical likes this.
  14. Nicky31

    Nicky31 Active Member

    Anni. It was omitted from the history books, but yeah you're right it is why we had an empire, but ultimately why we list it too... It needs refrigeration and doesn't do well in hot countries. Get ye some trifle now!!! :rofl:
    anni likes this.
  15. lyrical

    lyrical Active Member

    You guys don't have trifle? *gobsmacked*

  16. tryintobreathe

    tryintobreathe Well-Known Member

    What's a trifle???

  17. Sasha

    Sasha Active Member

    Thanks Pixie, great idea.

    I've found music/ipod has been really helpful. I can drowned out things that are bothering me and mellow myself out to my favorite songs.

    Sometimes, when my concentration is good, a good movie is a nice 'get away' too.

    Snuggling with my pups is always nice - I have the sweetest dogs : )

    Waga - I had the same experience about 6 months ago when I went to buy something. The lady there went on and on and made me feel horrible. I think you are right - they work on our vulnerabilities and it's not right. But, I do hope that you have a little fun when you use your new stuff and it makes you feel good.
    Pixie likes this.
  18. anni

    anni Bucephalus ( an old war horse )
    Premium Member

    You can't explain trifle, you just have to experience it. :) It has more calories per square inch than pure bacon lard but as a comfort food, hence a PTSD trigger-stopper, it would have to be up there with bio-feedback.

    'Gobsmacked'- hahaha! I haven't heard that in years, either! The descriptive terms across the pond are awesome!When I moved back over here it was like being bi-lingual for awhile because noone knew what I was talking about.

    I think one can list laughter and general silliness with the others in the self-soothing thread.

    Hope you're feeling better and stronger, Waga. You've had some lovely feedback here!

    Take care,

  19. Pixie

    Pixie Well-Known Member

    Thank you to everyone who responded! It is great to hear some ideas coming through that we can all try at some stage. :thumbs-up

    What I'm particularly hearing is the food thing (esp. the trifle... lol). So let me ask this question...

    What is your "comfort food" and why?

    For me, it is jelly (well lately it has been)... and it seems to quickly disappear from the fridge! As I am a Hopeless cook... for me it is so simple to make which heads off my usual kitchen cooking disasters! It takes less than 5 minutes to make (but a while to set). It is relatively low calorie, especially if you get the "light" versions, AND it tastes sweet! :clap:

  20. ams

    ams Active Member

    Self care:

    1- Bubble baths. I like to soak until I'm tired enough to sleep. I go all out with candles, bubbles, chocolate, and sometimes music.
    2- Starbucks. I treat myself to it often now because it makes me feel good. It makes me feel important to myself. If I'm gonna be spending $7/drink on someone, they better be important. lol
    3- Makeup. When I do my makeup I feel really really pretty, and it gives me some confidence.
    4- Playing the guitar. It's so therapeutic to me and when I've got a nice rhythm going, I just close my eyes and relax.

    Self soothing:

    1- Filing my nails. I'll get a buffer/filer with four sides on it. Like, it's 4 different steps. The last one being "shine nail", then I wash my hands and paint my nails.
    2- Peeling stuff. Usually tangerines. I buy 5lb bags of them and whenever I eat one (or 5, lol) I notice peeling them is a bit soothing.
    3- Guitar, again. I can zone out a bit when I play and it relaxes me a lot.
    4- Drawing. My drawings are all these eccentric patterns. When I can get myself started, sometimes I don't stop until hours later.

    I've noticed the repetition is what's soothing for me. When I'm thinking about something overwhelming, I tend to grind my feet into the floor, or tap something, or pick at my nails, anything repetitive like that. And when I notice I'm doing it, I usually try to stop and get back focused on NOW.
  21. Sasha

    Sasha Active Member

    MMMM Comfort food, let's see - Mexican food always, always hits the spot. The broccoli and cheese soup at Panera bread is so.. good, I love their grilled sandwiches too. Lentil soup, chocolate ice cream, Biscuits and gravy. Tonight I had a craving for cream cheese & bagels with smoked samon (odd I know, but I got it anyway). Oh, I love my coffee -but, I'll only drink it in the morning now since it inteferes with my sleep if I drink it in the afternoon or evening. Now I'm hungry, going to get my bagel : )
  22. anni

    anni Bucephalus ( an old war horse )
    Premium Member

    The repetitive thing is really familiar. I'd be interested to know if that seems to help, as in is it something that unconsciously is done to self-sooth, or is it a nervous sort of outlet? If you have the time or energy, I'd be interested in hearing what anyone feels ( or knows ) about these types of behaviours.

    The best comfort food I've known, and always turn to is oatmeal with butter, cream, raisins and brown sugar. It could be because that's what my mother made on those snowed-in days when we were children and the comfort and soothing comes from a Memory.

    Thanks much,

  23. Gloria

    Gloria I'm taking those lemons and making lemonaide!

    I am new to the Forum but I searched for and found your thread on soothing. Although I feel so incredibly lucky to have found this site, I have to admit that it has triggered me and overwhelmed me in the past few days. But by reading your solutions, it gives me coping skills. I use most of the things that were mentioned. I have been a very thin person all my life and only recently did I discover food comforts me! Oh no! Now my jeans are tight but food does really help!

    I use monotonous activities like playing Solotaire on the computer. I have a dislocated shoulder and I will play until my shoulder hurts so much that I can't go on. I play for hours and then instead of having nightmare, I see cards in my sleep. Well, it's better than nightmares!
  24. Tiger Kitten

    Tiger Kitten Well-Known Member

    Gloria, I play Solitaire on the computer as well. I have been known to play solitaire in my head when I am falling asleep. I thought it was just me.

    I have also found a few games on gamehouse that are really soothing as well. One is called Quilts or something like that and you put pieces of different colors in a pattern and it is really really calming. No time limits or anything and no frustration at all. There are actually a few games on there under puzzles that are really soothing and not too difficult on the arm. (my mouse arm/wrist is all messed up.)

    I like candles. I can sit and watch the flame for hours just letting the flicker of it soothe me.
    I enjoy reading a good book.
    I get lost in video games sometimes. I play a lot of World of Warcraft. It's really soothing for me, and I have a place by a waterfall that I can sit and just relax, and if anything bothers me I can just kill it. If anyone bothers me or annoys me I can hit the ignore button. Sometimes, I wish life was like that.
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