Hanover Safe Place

Promoting Freedom from Sexual and Domestic Violence

Self-Care

Self-care.

It has become a buzzword in our culture. It’s everywhere in marketing and social media. Sure, social media can be fun and exciting, and when we are doing things we think are wonderful, we want to share! That’s great, and it can be a way for us to find new things to try. However, sometimes seeing self-care as a trend or buzzword can take us away from the real meaning. It can create an expectation that we all “need” to be living up these images of activities that just don’t fit with us.

Self-care is a continuous practice, it’s not a one stop shop. It’s something that we need to practice regularly. And, this may not be easy, as we often put our needs last on the list of things that we need to do. This can further lead to confusion or frustration even about how we “should” take care of ourselves.

Real and true self-care centers on finding out, knowing, and engaging in activities and practices that give us peace, rest, fills up our cups, and recharges our batteries. And, that is our hope with our monthly check-ins. We want to help self-care become more real and obtainable, to provide education and examples of self-care so that everyone can find what works for them. If what works for you doesn’t look “cool” or trendy or fit with anyone else, that’s okay!

When we practice self-care, if we find that it’s stressful, boring, too complicated, or the emotional outcome isn’t what we hoped, that is part of the process of finding what works. Those are clues that we need to try something else. For instance, if you try to journal and find that you’re judging what your writing, if your inner perfectionist comes out when you try to be creative – switch it up. Sure, the process of finding those things out can be helpful for our own self-awareness – but for the purpose of self-care – if what you try is not giving you the sense of peace and recharge that other activities, such as

a dinner with friends or alone time in nature could provide you – then it’s okay to try a different path for self-care.

Why do we need to recharge our batteries? Why should self-care be practiced regularly? Our lives are demanding, we’re often over-committed, we may have stressful jobs or homelives, and, not to sound like a broken record, we are all still navigating life in pandemic. We can get out of touch with ourselves (out of attunement), cranky, short-fused, and even numb. Practicing what helps us find peace, solace, and recharge keeps overwhelm, fatigue, and burnout at bay.

Self-care helps us in so many ways, and one of those is that it brings joy. It is often a holistic practice (taking care of our whole selves) that helps us to be present and well. It is an act of self-love. And, what brings you joy doesn’t have to be what self-care “should be”. While there are similarities and in self-care activities and practices, it is all subjective. It doesn’t have to be trendy. It’s perfectly okay if it isn’t a bubble bath or three yoga classes a week. It’s okay if is your nightly walk with your kids, tyding up before bed, or taking time to read that book that’s been laying on your table.

July Blog

Hello! Welcome July! And, welcome to this month’s self-care check-in! Summer is definitely here as we experience longer days, HOT weather, and some evening lightening bugs. This month we’d like to give you a moment to reflect and check-in with yourselves about how you’ve been feeling and how you’ve been taking care of yourselves this summer so far?

We’ve talked about creating plans, the practice of self-care, and ways we can take care of ourselves. Self-care like many things is a learned practice, as we often give to everyone and everything in our lives besides ourselves. It’s so important to create time and space to care take to ourselves too. Our bodies and minds need the love and the break.

These breaks can be in the small moments of our days, like when we pause to take a deep breath. When are triggered, stressed, overwhelmed, disconnected, or anxious, taking these small moments to ground ourselves in the present can help us change our perspective, calm our nervous systems, and help us feel better.

Grounding is something that we can do that signals to our nervous system (fight or flight or stress response) to calm down and re-regulate. It causes a reaction in our parasympathetic nervous system. That is the science side of grounding. Grounding helps us orient back to the here and now, the present moment.

This serves to pull ourselves out of our thoughts and minds back into our bodies and what we’re actually doing. By pulling ourselves back into our bodies, we can reconnect with our senses and our sense of our physical body.

“Grounding invites you to sense your body, notice your tension patterns, and surrender the weight of your physical body into gravity to feel the support of the earth. As a resource for trauma recovery, grounding can help you reclaim a sense of safety, feel rooted in the present moment, and strengthen your resilience.” -Dr. Arielle Schwartz

Below we’ve included a list of grounding techniques for you to try. It can be helpful to practice the techniques when we are feeling good – when we aren’t feeling stressed or overwhelmed. That way we can strengthen the skill and have a broader sense of what works for us. We can then add them to our toolbox!

And, as a friendly reminder – with any self-care practice, activities, or techniques we’ve mentioned, it isn’t one size fits all. Feel free to try a few or try them all! Find which one(s) work for you.

1. Literally feel the ground – take your shoes off outside or inside – observe what the floor or ground feels like beneath your feet

2. Use your senses – observe what you hear, see, feel, smell, and taste – really think about it. Is the air cool or hot, how blue is the sky, is there traffic outside or is the whir of a fan what you hear most

3. Get into a seated position comfortably – place each hand on our leg, and slowly alternately pat each leg, about the pace of a clock

4. Deep breathing – slowing down the pace of our breathing. Breathing in through our nose and out through our mouths for a few breaths can help regulate ourselves. When we are stressed or triggered we naturally breath shallowly, deep breathing is a signal to slow down and regulate

5. Drink something cold or warm and observe what that feels like

6. Try a mint or a piece of gum – this will wake your senses

7. Wash your hands, observe the pressure of the water, the feeling of the water as it flows over your hands

8. Touch something near you – notice how it feels on your fingers – what is the texture like, is it soft or rough

9. Look around the space where you are and describe the room to yourself – what do you see

10. Stretch, walk around for a few moments, do a few jumping jacks, do some yoga – often when we get dis-regulated, our bodies need to simply move

Jumping into Summer

Hello to a new season! This month we welcome in summer! As we move into this season, the world we live in continues to face unprecedented times. Warmer weather may finally be here and restrictions may be starting starting to lift, but many of us may still be experiencing the stress and anxiety as we continue to navigate our world. 

Anxiety is something that many of us contend with. It is common and affects nearly 20% of the adult population every year. Symptoms of anxiety can be fatigue, restlessness, trouble focusing, worry, difficulty sleeping, racing thoughts, and irritability. 

Anxiety can make it hard for us to make decisions, cope with our emotions, keep track of our budget and bills, keep up with work at home or at the office, ask for help, or keep in contact with our support system. 

To combat these feelings, we can turn to our coping skills and self-care. This is where we can take advantage of this new season and the sunny weather that we need to help us feel better, more grounded, and less anxious. 

As always, a friendly reminder that self-care is a process. Small steps overtime create habits to our wellness. Also, not everyone is the same, and what works for some may not work for all – that is absolutely okay! Create a judgement free zone and experiment with different things to see what works. 

This month we’ve provided a few ideas that can help you cope with the stress of our world and create a space within to give calm to our minds and bodies.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

As an adult survivor of a childhood sexual assault (SA), it can feel as though you’re the only one, and yet 20 percent of girls and 5 percent of boys are victims of child sexual assault. One reason it can feel so isolating is that it is seldom discussed openly, often because the perpetrator is a family member or friend. Another is that the police are called in only 30 percent of childhood SA cases, adding to the stigma and secrecy associated with this crime.

            Sexual abuse of children and youth affects its victims in different ways and to different degrees. Children who have endured childhood sexual abuse often develop low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, distorted views of sex, and may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults. It is common for children to feel ashamed and guilty about the abuse they’ve suffered. As they mature, these individuals may experience difficulty setting boundaries in their interpersonal relationships, may struggle to enjoy intimate relationships or trust others. Other effects that are associated with childhood sexual abuse include depression, eating disorders, and anxiety throughout the lifespan. 

            We want you to know that under no circumstances is the abuse ever your fault. This may be a difficult thing to believe, and counseling can help you to accept that what you are in no way to blame for what you endured. You and your counselor can assess the effects that the abuse has had on you and work together to develop healthy coping skills. You can achieve heightened levels of functioning in many aspects of your life and improve your outlook and self-awareness. 

Counseling can also assist you to connect the childhood abuse with any patterns you’ve experienced since then, including abusive dating partners, struggles making decisions, or difficulty with affection.

It can feel daunting to consider beginning a therapeutic process. With a qualified, trauma-trained, sexual and domestic violence counselor who is able to understand the feelings you bring to this process, you can proceed at your level of comfort. Your counselor will be there with you to ensure you feel safe and supported along the way. What happened to you has had an influence on your life, but it doesn’t have to take control of you for the rest of your life. You are worth it. 

Stress Relief Tools

Stress. It is all around us. The pandemic has brought extreme stress with the crisis, and many of us have been experiencing social stress due to the pandemic as we are coping with disconnection, isolation, and loneliness. However, stress doesn’t just come in the form of a crisis, and sometimes stress isn’t always a bad thing. Stress is in our daily lives. It is present when we go to work, as we do homework, before a game or presentation, the start a new relationship, when we oversleep, or even in traffic. 

When our minds recognize something as stressful, we may notice that we feel on edge, focused, anxious, alert, frustrated, full of adrenaline, or even just feel the need to “do something”. There are also many changes happening to our bodies. These are things such as: breathing changes, being faster and shallow, hormones are released, our heartbeat changes, our digestion slows, muscles tense, and our pupils dilate. Physically, “stress affects all systems of the body including muscles, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous and reproductive systems.” 

Stress results from environmental or physical pressures that provoke a response. It involves our perception of those pressures, our perceived ability to meet those pressures, and our psychological, physiological, and behavioral responses. Stress also happens when we perceive something to be a threat that is challenging our internal systems. Our response to stress is in our hardwiring and helps us to survive. 

We get through these stressful moments every day and most often, successfully. Then, there are the times where we get overwhelmed by stress and may struggle. When stress is positive, it can motivate us. It can help us to accomplish goals or tasks and be accountable. It can be challenging, of course, but the end result can bring us satisfaction and even joy. 

Though, when stress is chronic or disrupts our daily life, is when it can become harmful and unhealthy. It can negatively impact many parts of our lives, including our ability to focus, our mood, our immune system, the way we function at work or school, how we sleep or eat, our relationships, and our bodies. 

When impacted by stress – there are many things we can do to help our mind and body. These are things that we can do to let ourselves know that the threat has passed, that we are capable, and that we can handle things that may come our way. Remember, taking care of ourselves is personal and what works for you may not work for someone else. It’s okay, and important for us to listen to what our bodies tell us!

This month we’ve shared a few activities that can aid us in coping with stress by helping us to calm, relax, refocus, and ground.

Calm:

Slow and deep breathing can help signal to our body’s nervous system to calm down. When we are stressed or overwhelmed, we are often on high alert and our systems can feel at maxed. Breathing can help lower our physiological activation.

**if you feel lightheaded or dizzy – you can always stop or shorten the counts to adjust so that it works for you and eases any discomfort – just remember slow breaths that are in through your nose and out through your mouth

Box Breathing  

You can do box breathing in these steps – first exhale the air from your lungs – begin by slowing inhaling through your nose for 4 counts – hold your breath for 4 counts – exhale slowly from your mouth for 4 counts – hold your breath for 4 counts – exhale from your mouth – then repeat

4-7-8 Breathing

This technique works by inhaling for 4 counts through your nose – holding your breath for 7 counts – exhaling slowly through your mouth for 8 counts – then repeat 

Refocus:

Often when we become stressed or overwhelmed our minds race and we can become very focused solely on the stressor. Changing our focus can help to break the thought patterns and distract away from the stressor. This can allow us to then problem solve and return back to our day. These activities can help redirect our focus and give our mind and body the break it needs to recalibrate:

Taking a walk

Talk with a friend

Counting backward from 100 by fives

Relax:

Tensing and relaxing our muscles can help to reduce the feeling of stress as we hold a great deal of stress and tension in our bodies. When we can relax our bodies and muscles, it can help to generate a sense of calm, increase energy, and to help be able to move more freely. Tensing our muscles then releasing can help us to observe the tension leaving and feel the relaxation.

Tense each muscle group for 5-10 seconds then release for 15-30 seconds and notice the difference. You can always repeat this process.

Another technique is progressive muscle relaxation – you can find more details and how to do this technique by the Dartmouth Student Wellness Center – here.

Ground:

When we become stressed or overwhelmed we can often disconnect from our environment and even ourselves, getting ‘lost’ in our head, focused on the stressors. If we can redirect our attention to our environment or physical sensations, it can help us come back to the present moment, feel less stressed and rebalanced.

Engage your senses – 5-4-3-2-1

To do this technique you’ll want to take a moment to find your feet on the floor or how your seat feels against your back. 

Notice FIVE things that you can see – observe the color of the carpet, how the sky looks, are there pictures on the wall or plants in the room, is there grass or flowers blooming? Take note of what you see in your mind, telling yourself what you are observing.

Observe FOUR things that you can touch – what does your seat feel like, what is the texture of your clothing, you can even feel the floor beneath you

Notice THREE things you can hear – listen for all the sounds around you. Is there traffic outside, what are the sounds inside, do you hear any birds or people

Notice TWO things that you can smell – take a breath in and notice if you can smell. Can you smell your detergent, or the air, any perfume or lotion – is there a candle burning

Notice ONE thing you can taste – ­observe if there is any tast – or can you imagine the taste of your favorite food

You can find an audio from Insight Timer here

Take a drink of water

To do this simply take a drink of water – or whatever you happen to have – observe the temperature, the taste, how it feels in your mouth or as you swallow – do you have ice in your drink or is it warm or carbonated

March 2021 – Self Care

This month marks a year. A YEAR. A year that we have collectively experienced life in different ways. A year that we’ve had to distance and learn how to connect and care for ourselves in new ways. This month also ushers in a new season, spring. While we may still have to wait for warmer temperatures, spring is a time of growth, renewal, and awakening. The world starts to come alive after its hibernation. Spring can be a time for us to regroup, prioritize, and evaluate the lives we are living. It can be a time to ask ourselves how we would like to awaken from winter, move into a new season, and evaluate how we care for ourselves.

How we care for ourselves is a big part of how we create the lives that we live. Thinking back to the areas of our lives to attend to for self-care from a previous post we shared with you, self-care helps us create, grow, and renew; not just escape. It helps us create so that we don’t have to escape. 

Self-care is how we care for ourselves. It is often messy and not glamorous. While it can be treating ourselves, it is also washing dishes, creating healthy bedtime routines, moving to a new job or home, and being honest with ourselves when we are struggling. 

“It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means rewiring what you have until your everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from. It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is giving the h** up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren’t universally liked. It is meeting your own needs so you aren’t anxious and dependent on other people. It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be…” – Brianna Wiest

Below are 31 ways that can help in this process of evaluation. While we have provided a self-care “challenge” in a previous post, here we are providing suggestions. Yes, we can challenge ourselves to take better care. However, we also want to give a friendly reminder that creating a habit is a process, and we can take our time. We can give ourselves permission to face it as a journey. 

  1. Make a list of all the tasks around your home you’ve been avoiding. Is there one you can do right now? Is there mail to be checked? Does the trash need to be taken out? Is there laundry in the dryer? Completing just one task, maybe one that takes only a few minutes can help us feel better. 
  2. De-clutter and clean out your space. Whether that be your work space at home or at work, creating an organized space can help us stay focused, think more clearly, and feel less stress.
  3. Stretch. Raise your arms up stretch as far as you can go. Look side to side. Roll your ankles and wiggle your toes. Remind your body that it’s awake and get the blood moving. It can calm us, relieve stress and tension, and improve posture. 
  4. Find your favorite window. Take 3 minutes and look out. Notice what you see. What does the sky look like? What can you hear from outside? Are there any people or animals? Is the wind blowing? 
  5. Make a list of all the people in your life who support, love, and help you. Soak in that list and recall a moment where you felt supported by one of those people. 
  6. Now, can you take a moment to send the folks from your list a note of gratitude or thanks? You can call them, send them a quick text, or even send them a good old-fashioned note in the mail. 
  7. Un-plug from media for a day. Yes, no tik-tok or Instagram for a day. Or, even half a day, You can turn off your phone, turn off notifications or even delete the apps off your phone for the day. Give yourself a break to be away from your phone, the screen, and be present in your day.
  8. Drink a glass or a bottle of water. Hydration is important for our bodies. 
  9. Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts. Hold for 7 counts. Exhale through your mouth for 8 counts. Try to repeat 3 more times. This can help us to naturally relax.
  10. Talk with someone you feel safe with. Reach out and stay connected with those in your support system. 
  11. Take care of you in the morning. Notice your morning routine. Whether that is having a cup of coffee or tea, meditating, stretching, or journaling. This helps us start off each new day. 
  12. Make a list of all the achievements you’ve made at work or school, no matter how big or small. Is there somewhere you can keep this list where you can see it often? You can even put that “A” or recognition on the fridge!
  13. Create time for your financial self-care. Take a look at your budget. Notice where you’re spending your money. Yes, this can be scary. However, it can help us and can even feel relieving. 
  14. Clean out your closet. Are there clothes that you don’t like or need anymore? Is there something you’ve been hanging on to, but haven’t worn in over a year? It can feel good to let go and clean out. You can donate or give away the items. 
  15. Make a meal. It can be as fancy or as simple as you would like. Taking the time to cook a meal creates a space to slow down and focus on the task at hand. And, taking time to enjoy the meal can remind us that food the food we eat not only tastes good but nourishes our bodies.
  16. Is there a day or moment that has been particularly frustrating or caused some anger? Scream. You can scream into a pillow. Or you can turn up some tunes and sing as loud as you’d like along with a song. This helps us get that energy out. When your done you can take a deep breath and let your shoulders relax. 
  17. Give yourself to take some time to not be productive. It is okay to slow down. It is okay to take time where we aren’t crossing something off of a to-do list. Is there a show you’ve been wanting to watch or a magazine you’ve been wanting to read? 
  18. Remember to take breaks. Taking breaks can help us be creative, process more easily, and be more productive.
  19. Take a warm bath or long shower. Take some time to enjoy the water and the warmth.
  20. Is there something that you have in your life that is not longer serving you? Is there something that is no longer bringing you the joy it once was? An act of self-care is to let go of these things. 
  21. Go outside. If it’s cold take a moment to stand and enjoy the sun. Take a few deep breaths in and notice your environment. If it’s a warm day, take those shoes off! Stand and feel the ground beneath your feet and connect with your environment. These acts can help us feel grounded, centered, and more connected.
  22. Do you have a stack of books on your night-stand or on a shelf that you just don’t seem to get to? Make one a priority. Give yourself time to read a little bit of one of those books. 
  23. Are any of those books ones that you know don’t want to read? Find them a new home or even donate them.  
  24. Is there someone you need to have a hard conversation with? Have it. Having those conversations can be just that, hard. But, they help us grow, stay connected, learn things about ourselves, and move forward. If you don’t know how to start the conversation. Start there, it’s okay say “I don’t know how, but here goes”.
  25. Are there sayings you like? Quotes? Affirmations? Read them out loud to yourself. Post them where you will see them regularly. This can help give ourselves a new script. It can help us to create a more optimistic or positive thought process.
  26. Is there something in your life you have been ignoring or trying not to think about? An act of self-care can be facing this. It can help to journal about it. It can help get our thoughts and emotions out in a safe place. It can help us figure out why we think or feel a certain way, allowing us to start to move forward in resolving the issue. 
  27.  Get that body moving. Do you have even just ten minutes for a walk? Walking can help our bodies and help our minds. It gives us a change in our environment which can help us change our perspective.
  28. Explore your creativity. Make a list of things you would like to learn. Is that a new language, playing an instrument, how to paint? Is there a hobby you have but haven’t started? Now is a good time to take the first step. 
  29. Wrap up in a warm blanket with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Take time to notice how the warmth of the blanked and cup feel. Notice the smell and taste of your drink. Be mindful of the break. How cozy is that blanket?
  30. Open a window. This lets the sunshine in. It lets fresh air into our homes, bringing in new energy. 
  31. Prepare for the time-change. We lose an hour, and that can be hard. Just like taking care of ourselves first thing in the morning, what we do before sleep is just as important. Whether that is doing some yoga, meditating, keeping a gratitude journal, herbal tea. These routines helps us to sleep better so we can feel more rested and rejuvenated.

February 2021

Welcome, February! We are right in the middle of winter, a school year, and 2021 is moving full-steam ahead! We would like to give you a little break. You’ve reached HSP’s monthly moment of pause for you. How have you been doing with your self-care this year? It sometimes happens that after we start a new year with goals and plans, life takes over. By February, our motivation seems to be down and the shiny excitement we had isn’t what it was. This is normal! And it is okay! This may be even more true this year, as we have the added stressor of navigating our lives in a pandemic. This is where taking care and being compassionate with ourselves can be SO helpful! 

The practice of self-care is just that, a practice. Self-care encompasses being compassionate and kind to ourselves, and yes, this is a practice too. These concepts are like muscles, the more we use and practice them, the stronger and better at them we become. 

Continuing to practice self-care creates resilience within us. Resilience refers to our ability to adapt to adversity and stressors. It is our ability to “bounce back” when we go through difficult times, such as living through a pandemic. Practicing these things and increasing our resilience can help us to find the motivation, excitement, and drive we had coming into this new year. 

Many different acts of self-care can increase our resilience. It can be things such as making time for your relationships, talking with someone you trust, focusing on your physical self with enough sleep and healthy foods, reminding yourself that tough times are temporary no matter the struggle, and practicing grounding and mindfulness. These don’t have to be BIG things we do; it can be just reminding ourselves that we are human and that tomorrow brings new opportunities to try again. It’s giving ourselves grace and having the patience to learn from the times when we struggle.

“Resilience is not all or nothing. It comes in amounts. You can be a little resilient, a lot resilient; resilient in some situations but not others. And no matter how resilient you are today, you can become more resilient tomorrow.” – Karen Reivich

If you would like to read further on resilience, here are a few articles:

Five Science-Backed Strategies to Build Resilience

9 Ways to Strengthen Your Resilience

Ramp up your resilience!

Welcome, 2021!

Welcome 2021! The new-year can be a time for celebration, re-focusing, goal setting, rest, and rejuvenation. When we are given this blank canvas each year, we are often inspired to set goals, look for ways that we can change our lives for the better, and seek out new ways to practice self-care. These are all great things that can help our overall health and wellness and help us start out the new year with momentum and energy. However, sometimes this can feel overwhelming or we just may not be sure how. 

How we practice self-care is as unique as each of us. And, what works for someone may not work for you. In fact, practicing self-care encompasses the process of getting to know yourself, what you need, and your boundaries. We can start small, creating new habits on our journey of self-discovery. If you know that taking a walk helps you feel better, but you haven’t gotten outside for a while, start with a 10 minute walk. If you know that having a clean home helps you feel at ease, start with organizing one room or one spot in your house. If you, like many of us, have a few books on our night stands that we haven’t started, read just one chapter in one of the books. Starting these new habits is self-care, and these feel-good activities don’t have to take hours. And, when you can, celebrate that you did them!

When we practice self-care, it is important to focus on our whole self, which means having varying ways to take care of ourselves. There are different areas for self-care and these often include: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, professional, psychological, and environmental. As the new year begins, it gives space for us to incorporate different things from each of these areas. As you try things, see what fits and discard the rest. 

We’ve included two graphics for you explaining the areas of self-care and ideas for you to get started. Happy 2021!

December Blog 2 – Green Flags

For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we talked about red flags and how to recognize abusive behaviors that an abusive partner can present. While it is absolutely important to educate yourself on what Domestic Violence is and what power and control can “look” like within in a relationship, it is just as important to understand how a healthy relationship can present itself.  

The healthiness of relationships lie on a spectrum from healthy to toxic or unhealthy to abusive.  As we mentioned in our previous blog, at the core of an abusive relationship is a dynamic of power and control. So, what does that mean for a healthy relationship? Those relationships have a dynamic of equality, where the partners can feel heard, safe, validated, understood, respected, and are just that – partners. 

What happens then, if we do a reframe for our relationship and look for what is positive, what makes us feel safe, and things that tell us that our partner(s) are not acting in an abusive way? What are the “green flags”?

  • Respecting boundaries – especially when you say “No”
  • You feel safe, both physically and emotionally
  • There is open communication – you can talk about problems and have opinions
  • Your partner is honest with you
  • There is trust – your partner trusts you and you trust your partner
  • Your partner is supportive of you – your goals, desires, in your relationships with your support system
  • There is equality – both partners have an equal say in decisions and what is important in the relationship
  • Your partner asks for your consent and you feel safe to say no – no pressure or coercion 
  • You are allowed to parent and children are not manipulated 
  • You are allowed and encouraged to have relationships with friends or family
  • It is not your responsibility to make the relationship work and you are not solely blamed for problems in the relationship

Sometimes coming out of an abusive relationship, it is not easy to “see” the green flags. Our minds and bodies become trained to look for danger and prepare to keep us safe if necessary. That is okay. You learned how to survive. Healing is a journey, and it takes time. It takes time to process through trauma. It is important for us to create a support system, seek outside/professional help when we need it, and work through our traumas so that we, ourselves, can feel healthy. When we start to feel like we are healing and healthy, we are positively changing our mental space and wellbeing. This helps us to be in the space where we feel that having a trusting relationship is possible and something we deserve.

But please remember, If you are experiencing red flags or abusive behaviors from a partner – it is not your fault. You did not cause your partner’s behavior. Advocates available to help support and talk with you. You can reach an advocate by calling Hanover Safe Place’s hotline at 804-612-6126. The hotline also has texting available if this option is a more comfortable and safer way for you to reach out!

For more information about the services that Hanover Safe Place offers and Domestic and Sexual Violence, you can always follow us on social media.

December 2020 Blog

Hello all! We did it! We have made it to December, which also signals the fast approaching end to 2020! It has been a tough year, but we have made it! December can be a great time for reflection. It’s a great time to look back over the year, document or journal how we have experienced the year, and create space to process our thoughts. It’s important to not only look at our struggles, but acknowledge where we excelled, how brave we were, and how resilient we have been. We can be proud that we made it through and remember our resilience as we move into 2021! 

One way that we can carry this into 2021 is by practicing gratitude. Gratitude can have a strong and positive impact on our wellness, happiness, relationships, self-esteem, and outlook. We can do that by doing simple daily acts of gratitude or by keeping a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is something that we can do that only takes a few moments of our day, and it can be practiced as we start or end our day – or both! 

A gratitude journal is simply a way to keep track of all of the good things in our lives. Intentionally taking time each day to see the positives helps us to remember that when things are hard, that there are still good things around us and things that even still bring us joy. It can help protect us against the struggles, as it builds our positivity, mood, and health. 

So – how do you keep a gratitude journal? All you need is a notebook, journal, or just a piece of paper. If you are one that likes to type out your thoughts, that is okay too! You will just need to grab your phone, computer, or even use an app. Then, each day write down a few people or things that you are grateful for, happy to have in your life, or that you are thankful for. If you are grateful that the sun came out after a week of rain, jot it down! If you had a nice conversation with a friend, you can write that too! Again, you can do this as you start your day or as a way to end your day with a few moments of reflection. And, of course, you can do it both times!             

This month we’ve included a few questions for self-reflection and prompts for you to start or continue keeping a gratitude journal!