“The Anniversary Effect” is a phenomenon among survivors of trauma who actively deal with the symptoms of trauma, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and other manifestations of trauma like addictions or mental health disorders. Around the time of year of a significant traumatic event, it is common for survivors to feel emotional distress, changes in behavior, or experience flashbacks, nightmares, and many other symptoms. Preparing for a trauma anniversary is as simple as working on compassion and empathy for oneself or someone else during that time of year and perhaps taking some time off work. More intensively, it is important for individuals who are prone to experiencing “The Anniversary Effect” to practice self-care as much as possible.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care can be a number of things in different ways to different people. How someone experiences self-care and what they do for self-care will greatly vary depending on their likes, interests, preferences, needs, and life experiences. Ultimately, self-care is any and all of the practices which help someone living with trauma feel safe, secure, comforted, grounded, taken care of, and stable. For some self-care might be a warm bath. For others, self-care might be going on a run or practicing sports. For others, self-care might be a trip to the countryside and spending time in nature. Whatever helps someone feel detached from their trauma in a healthy way which places them in the reality of the present, so to say that the trauma isn’t occurring right now, is of most importance.
How Does Self-Care Help During A Trauma Anniversary?
During a trauma anniversary, self-care acts as the grounded, balanced foundation during what can feel like a crazed, unbalanced time without any kind of foundation. Self-care helps mitigate what could be extremely uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms by eliminating as much distress as possible, making the experience manageable as well as avoiding relapse into any harmful behavioral responses to symptoms of trauma.
Find Out What You Need
The best way to practice self-care during a trauma anniversary is knowing what you specifically need for self-care. Buy the supplies, make the plans, arrange the travel- whatever it is you need, set that kind of self-care up where available.
Relax, Relax, Relax
Overall, the goal of self-care is promoting a deep relaxation which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system in opposition to the ways that trauma is stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. Practice whatever self-care helps you feel more at ease in mind, body, and spirit.
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