When you mention safety planning, the first thing that comes to mind are tangible and physical things. Change the locks, plan your routes, add some sensor lights. What many people don’t realize is that there are a lot of elements to safety planning and some of them don’t involve your physical space. Some of these elements involve your emotional space. Regardless of the tough time you’re going through, if you don’t take care of our emotions, or learn how to protect our emotional selves from abusive people, we’re still at risk of being hurt in many ways.
The experience of being abused and verbally degraded by someone close to you is usually exhausting and emotionally draining. The process of surviving and building a new life requires much courage and incredibly energy. To conserve your emotional energy and to support yourself in hard times, there are a number of things you can do.
- attend as many crisis counseling sessions as you can
- become involved in community activities to reduce feeling isolated
- take a part-time job to reduce isolation and to improve your finances
- enroll in school to increase your skills
- join support groups to help gain emotional support and strengthen your relationships with other people
- take time for yourself to read, meditate, play music, exercise, walk in the sunshine or do what you enjoy
- spend time with people who make you feel good and provide positive support
- take part in social activities
- take care of your sleep and nutritional needs
- keep a personal journal to write about your feelings, especially when you are feeling low or vulnerable. Keep it in a safe place.
- take time to prepare yourself emotionally before entering stressful situations like talking with your (ex)partner, meeting with lawyers or attending court
- try not to overbook yourself. Limit yourself to one appointment per day, if you can, to reduce stress
- write something positive about yourself every day – your own personal affirmations
- do not find your comfort in excessive use of alcohol, prescription drugs, abuse of street drugs, or food. They will only increase your depression
- avoid excessive shopping and impulse buying, including excessive purchases for your children out of concern for their situation
- join a health club or start an exercise program. It will increase your energy level and increase your sense of well-being
- it is okay to feel angry, but find positive and constructive ways to express your anger
- remember that you are the most important person to take care of right now.
Not every suggestion is going to work for you but having a list to draw from is a great start to finding just the right combination of strategies to help you keep your self emotionally safe.