How do you self-soothe?

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Wonder Woman

MyPTSD Pro
Hi, everybody!

I thought it might be helpful for us to list ways that we self-soothe. That way others might get ideas they haven’t thought of/tried before, and might be further helped. I know right now, I need some fresh ideas, because things that have worked for me in the past are not helping as they once did. I figure I can't be the only one here who needs a little extra help in this area.

Here are some of mine:

Hot beverages (tea, coffee, hot chocolate)

Wrapping a blanket around myself (even better if it is silky or velvety)

Sitting outside or walking outside (really experiencing nature: feel the fresh air as you breath it in, smell the flowers/dry leaves, listen to the birds, feel the sun's warmth or the coolness of a breeze, you get the idea)

Do some gentle stretching, yoga, or tail chi (youtube is a good source for beginner videos; as always skip any exercises or poses that you think might be problematic or triggering for you)

Listening to soft instrumental music or sounds from nature (I like Ambient Worlds, a youtube poster)

Losing myself in a good book or audiobook (I like to read classic children's literature sometimes, because it tends to be less triggering)

Doing craft kits (Get ones that have all the materials included. I buy ones made for children, because they are easy and it helps me to take care if my younger-abused self)

I'll add other ideas, if I find no one has suggested them.
 

grit

Not Active
I take naps and acknowledge I am feeling down and need this nap not because I am tired...no reason to make excuse for myself - I cut out the psychic audience always looking, judging, and telling me things (is that you my mother?).

I name my feelings even if the feelings are so negative and may show my true character - for example, I have been harboring some envy and jealousy against one of my sister who is a nurse - it is obvious these are not good feelings to own so in order to avoid them, I would make comments about plastic surgery she has done in the past - you can see the spiral!

So when I see myself going down the rabbit hole, I would acknowledge I am jealous she has a real job with a real skill and a job that is really important and I am envious I do nt have that. So I state my feelings to my body so I do not dissociate my mind from the body. I find when I do name the right feeling, my body relaxes and that relaxing is antidote to complete numbness/dissociation/disown.

I note when I eat and I am not hungry that I am eating because I am feeling down and again work its way through. So I give myself permission to be a young child and eat cause I can! but by telling myself, I am not in denial or delusional about it by convincing my own entitlement as a real good reason.

I am not sitting around just navel gazing here...these are obviously quick and in my head but I do that to soothe myself. Whenever, I just stay I am anxious, depressed or feeling down without ownership of why (real denial) then that is when I dissociate or numb so far that time just truly goes away.

Note sure this helps but I stay true to myself inside loud and clear. Where my trauma impacted mostly over the years is that lack of acknowledgement of my feelings (affects or emotions) and throwing my anxiety to others to feel good about myself (which now I use as an alert system to know oooh I am projecting that feeling to that person - like my sister). I keep the feelings inside with respect and ownership rather than outside in projection and denial.

This can go on....it is called life but that is how I soothe myself.
 

Wonder Woman

MyPTSD Pro
I take naps and acknowledge I am feeling down and need this nap not because I am tired...no reason to make excuse for myself - I cut out the psychic audience always looking, judging, and telling me things (is that you my mother?).

I name my feelings even if the feelings are so negative and may show my true character - for example, I have been harboring some envy and jealousy against one of my sister who is a nurse - it is obvious these are not good feelings to own so in order to avoid them, I would make comments about plastic surgery she has done in the past - you can see the spiral!

So when I see myself going down the rabbit hole, I would acknowledge I am jealous she has a real job with a real skill and a job that is really important and I am envious I do nt have that. So I state my feelings to my body so I do not dissociate my mind from the body. I find when I do name the right feeling, my body relaxes and that relaxing is antidote to complete numbness/dissociation/disown.

I note when I eat and I am not hungry that I am eating because I am feeling down and again work its way through. So I give myself permission to be a young child and eat cause I can! but by telling myself, I am not in denial or delusional about it by convincing my own entitlement as a real good reason.

I am not sitting around just navel gazing here...these are obviously quick and in my head but I do that to soothe myself. Whenever, I just stay I am anxious, depressed or feeling down without ownership of why (real denial) then that is when I dissociate or numb so far that time just truly goes away.

Note sure this helps but I stay true to myself inside loud and clear. Where my trauma impacted mostly over the years is that lack of acknowledgement of my feelings (affects or emotions) and throwing my anxiety to others to feel good about myself (which now I use as an alert system to know oooh I am projecting that feeling to that person - like my sister). I keep the feelings inside with respect and ownership rather than outside in projection and denial.

This can go on....it is called life but that is how I soothe myself.

Hi, grit!

You are spot on, judging ourselves is the opposite of self-soothing. So, it's a great place to begin, if we find we are repeating the adult-abusers messages to ourselves. Internalizing the messages our abusers used to control and condemn us is something I think everyone who has experienced abuse as a child struggles to overcome.

I think it's interesting that you mentioned acknowledging our feeling. It is important to acknowledge, accept, own, and validate our feelings, whatever they may be.

You mentioned feelings of envy. I sometimes struggle with this, too. As I'm sure we all do. It might be helpful to remember that just because you envy a certain aspect of someone else's life, there is probably someone out their that envies something about your life. For, example when I was growing up I use to envy my friends, because their moms were so caring, loving, and supportive. Many of my friends used to tell me I was lucky because I was so good-looking, slim, good at certain school subjects. The very thing I didn’t like, being perceived as pretty, was the thing my friends most envied about me. Sort of makes me wonder... maybe the things I emvy others for are really not that great after all. The grass is always greener kind of thing.

Eating and knowing when I'm actually hungry or need to eat is problematic for me, too. I was forced to eat as a young child, and given candy to suck on during some of my abuse. Then as a teen, food was not always provided/available. So, yeah... I can relate.

I'm off-topic I suppose. Just wanted to acknowledge you and connect, I guess.

Wishing you peace and calm.?
 

grit

Not Active
@Wonder Woman

Thank you for your kind words. Envy is a strange feeling and hard to talk about it really. Thank you for acknowledging and validating my feelings. I am learning and there are tons of research about this but children of narcissistic parents usually have envy as one of their core struggles and even the lack of awareness in such is deadly in maintaining relationships. Side note, I am not close to that sister at all cause we both eroded each other in so many areas for so many years in our adult lives. But now the more I become conscious of my own contribution to the situation, the more I am retaking my garbage out of the pile even if the relationship is not reconcile-able at the moment.

How often do you hear others saying...I think my mother is/was envy of me? It is such a sick feeling to have. I did not want to go too deep where all these feelings I am coping with came from in the first place but the envy, the throwing/projecting of my anxiety to others, the sibling rivalry, the great orator in my head - all these all my carry on from my childhood but now they are mine and I do not want to put them down, or disparage them or blamed on mom/dad etc. They were given to me and I carry them on and they have become sort of organically attached to me and made my character. So I nurture them and soothe them and let them sleep so I can go on with other things in life but being isolated, cocooned at home, others losing livelihood, health scarce and all the stuff out there does bring them up as a reminder that I too grow up in chaos, fear, and hostile environment and hold others in times of need.

I did not have time to learn how to soothe as a child, but thank goodness, my adult parts are really good to soothe my most traumatized parts of my personality.

I wish you well, health and safety as well. It is a great topic that never gets old no matter where we are at our journey of human path.
 

Wonder Woman

MyPTSD Pro
More self-soothing ideas:

Coloring
(coloring books are great for this either children's coloring books or the adult ones)

Taking a hot shower or warm bath
(not soothing for me at the moment, but it used to really relax me)

Organizing something
(start with something small, such as your purse, one drawer, the top of an end table; it feels good to get rid of old papers, magazines, catalogs, and other junk)

Massaging my feet
(use lotion, scented if you prefer)

Putting on your comfiest clothes or pajamas

Lighting a candle and watching the flame as it flickers about

Putting together a puzzle or Lego set
(You can do simple ones designed for children or more complex ones designed for adults; pick something that won't frustrate you; start small)
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Wrapping a blanket around myself (even better if it is silky or velvety)

I really love this. Fluffy. I have a very fluffy pink robe that I use when I am sitting on the couch and a big fluffy (oddly enough, also pink) blanket on my bed.

Sitting outside or walking outside (really experiencing nature: feel the fresh air as you breath it in, smell the flowers/dry leaves, listen to the birds, feel the sun's warmth or the coolness of a breeze, you get the idea)

I also like being or walking outside.
Coloring
(coloring books are great for this either children's coloring books or the adult ones)

Ooohhh. This is a favorite of mine!

Taking a hot shower or warm bath
(not soothing for me at the moment, but it used to really relax me)

I probably take a couple showers a day. Water helps me, esp. when I'm feeling really bad.

Organizing something
(start with something small, such as your purse, one drawer, the top of an end table; it feels good to get rid of old papers, magazines, catalogs, and other junk)

Drawers and closets are my favorite.

Great thread! I am having an issue right now where I am so depressed that I can't get started doing any of this right now. No idea how to get past that,
 

Wonder Woman

MyPTSD Pro
I really love this. Fluffy. I have a very fluffy pink robe that I use when I am sitting on the couch and a big fluffy (oddly enough, also pink) blanket on my bed.



I also like being or walking outside.


Ooohhh. This is a favorite of mine!



I probably take a couple showers a day. Water helps me, esp. when I'm feeling really bad.



Drawers and closets are my favorite.

Great thread! I am having an issue right now where I am so depressed that I can't get started doing any of this right now. No idea how to get past that,

Hi, whiteraven. You are on here connecting with others, so please don't feel badly that it's not possible for you to exert the energy to do more. Depression is exhausting. Be kind to yourself.

What do you think you might need in order to do just one of these self-soothing things that you have helped you in the past?
 

Wonder Woman

MyPTSD Pro
I ask myself this all the time. It's a good question. But all I can ever come up with is "for the depression to be better" (or at least not as intense as it is).

I'm sorry that depression has you so stuck, whiteraven.

I wish I could lift that terrible weight off your shoulders. Unfortunately, the best I can do is be here, and remind you that you are not alone and this won't last forever.

Sending you hugs and warm thoughts.?

More self-soothing ideas:

Looking at the clouds
(Sometimes I just watch them drift; other times I look for images in them)

Baking a treat
(My favorites are chocolate chip cookies - easy & delicious, and cheesecake - way more work, but so worth it when I have the energy)

@Wonder Woman

Thank you for your kind words. Envy is a strange feeling and hard to talk about it really. Thank you for acknowledging and validating my feelings. I am learning and there are tons of research about this but children of narcissistic parents usually have envy as one of their core struggles and even the lack of awareness in such is deadly in maintaining relationships. Side note, I am not close to that sister at all cause we both eroded each other in so many areas for so many years in our adult lives. But now the more I become conscious of my own contribution to the situation, the more I am retaking my garbage out of the pile even if the relationship is not reconcile-able at the moment.

How often do you hear others saying...I think my mother is/was envy of me? It is such a sick feeling to have. I did not want to go too deep where all these feelings I am coping with came from in the first place but the envy, the throwing/projecting of my anxiety to others, the sibling rivalry, the great orator in my head - all these all my carry on from my childhood but now they are mine and I do not want to put them down, or disparage them or blamed on mom/dad etc. They were given to me and I carry them on and they have become sort of organically attached to me and made my character. So I nurture them and soothe them and let them sleep so I can go on with other things in life but being isolated, cocooned at home, others losing livelihood, health scarce and all the stuff out there does bring them up as a reminder that I too grow up in chaos, fear, and hostile environment and hold others in times of need.

I did not have time to learn how to soothe as a child, but thank goodness, my adult parts are really good to soothe my most traumatized parts of my personality.

I wish you well, health and safety as well. It is a great topic that never gets old no matter where we are at our journey of human path.

I think many of us struggle to self-soothe, and find an internal calm. That is why I started this thread. I wanted us to be able to help one another.

Like you, my parents offered neglect and abuse instead of nurturing. No wonder, as adults we have a tough time settling ourselves.

May love, joy, and peace fill you.

Hugs. ?
 
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