Self-Care in an Abusive Relationship

by Jessica Yaffa, BA, CPC

What is Self-Care?

woman in unhealthy relationship practicing self-care Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.

What isn’t self-care?

Knowing what self-care is not might be even more important. It is not something that we force ourselves to do, or something we don’t enjoy doing. As Agnes Wainman explained, self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.”

Most of us that are in, or have experienced an abusive relationship haven’t had the time, energy, or space to engage in self-care. Often our partner makes us feel as if caring for ourselves is selfish and therefore it’s either discouraged or forbidden. It is important that we recognize in order to begin identifying a stronger sense of who we are, where we find joy, what we deserve, and how we want to spend our time, that we create the time, space, and opportunity for reflection.

I’d like to encourage you to start by identifying one self-care activity that you’re going to commit to incorporating every day. Some examples of self-care that I’ve found to be helpful in my healing journey are listed below:

• Exercise
• Taking a bath
• Rehearsing daily affirmations
• Spending 1 hour outdoors
• Daily prayer/meditation
• Coffee with a friend
• Taking a nap
• Reading a good book

Now that you’ve identified the self-care activity(s) that you’re going to begin with, I’d like to suggest that you ask for accountability in following through with this plan. Who do you have in your life that is able to check in with you weekly surrounding how well you’re doing with carving out some time for your own care?

If you are lacking the support and accountability to establish healthy self-care patterns, you might benefit from the help of a relationship coach. You deserve peace, happiness, and a sense of personal well-being.