by Cass Clemmer

Most of us have a pretty good knowledge about what goes into domestic abuse – or at least we think we do. We read the stories this past year on Ray Rice’s despicable physical assault on his now-wife and many of us are close to someone that has struggled with the same damaging experience. But domestic abuse isn’t just about physical attacks on the body – it can take many different forms from verbal to psychological to financial abuse, and each can be just as devastating as the next.

Emotional abuse is a form of violence that consists of perpetual insults and verbally aggressive behavior mean to humiliate or control the individual. This sort of abuse can be perpetrated against a spouse, a child, a student, an employee, etc… and has the potential to have severe consequences to the victim’s well-being and self-esteem. Anyone who is experiencing this type of violence should seek help from a trusted friend or professional and remember that they are not alone.

For those of you who have struggled with forms of emotional abuse in the past, and continue to dwell in the negativity, we’ve compiled a short list of self-care tips to help you out. Not everyone heals the same way, but we hope that this list will help you remember to take time to focus on your own needs, whatever they may be.

  1. Make sure your physical needs are being met
    Sometimes we forget that our bodies are our greatest allies in our fight against negativity, but in order for us to truly heal we need to treat our physical selves with the care we deserve. This includes getting sufficient sleep, eating regular and healthy meals, taking time to exercise, and seeking medical attention when necessary.
  2. Surround yourself with positive energy
    Whether this means spending time alone to take care of yourself or calling up friends that you can depend on, an atmosphere of love can help you remember your worth.  Some ideas include spending time with your faith, surrounding yourself with loved ones who truly care for you, listening to music, going on a walk, or even taking a short vacation just to rejuvenate your soul.
  1. Take a time out and remember to breathe
    Now this one might seem a little obvious, since oxygen is seen in most circles to be pretty essential to human existence – but let’s take it a little deeper. Following closely with number two on this list, taking the time to stop and breathe in this hectic life can do wonders for healing. Why don’t you just press pause on your schedule right now for just 20 seconds to take a couple deep breaths, breathing in and out fully… How do you feel? According to recent scientific studies, breathing functions as our bodies built-in stress reliever. And hey, it costs less than stress balls and water fountains!
  1. Make a list of why you’re awesome
    Whether you do it in your head, on a post-it note, or engraved in your wall so you can wake up to it every morning – do it! Everyone has the potential to benefit from reminding themselves why they matter and why the world truly needs their unique skills. Emotional abuse can severely impact our self-esteem and lead us to believe that we are worthless or useless. Use this tip to fight back against those voices, and think of all the ways your presence is truly a gift to the world. Even the smallest things can be listed – do you like your eyes? Do you like the way you can wriggle your toes to pick up pencils on the ground? Can you make an incredible, mouthwatering recipe from scratch or does your Kraft macaroni and cheese rock this world? Everyone has a million things that are amazing about themselves – just take the time to think and the list will start growing!
  1. Just be yourself!
    You may have gone through some times and been with some people who convinced you that the person you are is not good enough, but please know that they are 100% wrong. You are beyond good enough, and you deserve all the love in the world. You are perfect, you are amazing, and you are invaluable to this world. Nobody could be you better than you can be yourself – so go out and flaunt YOU!

*Please note that these tips do not serve as a replacement for professional help and/or therapy. If you or a loved one is in danger or needs immediate care please call 911 or your local care center for help.*