By Kiyanna Noel
Starting over after leaving a toxic situation can be difficult. Where do you start? Your space may be cluttered. Your state of mind may be at a standstill. You may not even have had time to process the mental, physical and emotional trauma you have been through. But, one thing you may be certain of is that you need to make some changes to your day-to-day life. No matter what you have gone through, the most important thing to remember is that your mind and heart will not be healed overnight and everything heals with time.
Wendy McIntosh, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, has seen numerous cases of people not knowing how to move forward or how to make the first move after experiencing a traumatic event. The first step is acknowledging what happened to you and the situation you were in. “One way of moving forward is addressing the abuse … without doing that it can lead to trauma, multiple triggers and post-traumatic stress disorder. You have to find healthy coping mechanisms” she said.
McIntosh stressed the importance of remembering what happened because without acknowledging what happened there is a chance that it can repeat itself and become a cycle. The idea behind going forward starts with realizing what you have been through and how it affected you, so you understand that certain things and situations may trigger you to have different reactions.
You should consider going to therapy. Therapy is more than just sitting in front of someone and expressing everything you went through. Therapy can teach you things about yourself that you didn’t know before. A therapist can help you process the situation you went through and encourage you to assess your situation.
“You will find yourself in situations like your abusive one … utilize skills that you gained from therapy not the trauma sustained from traumatic situations,” she said. Therapists will provide you with tactics and skills that will help you understand what you have been through and how to move forward one step at a time. Everyone has their own path to take to individual growth and healing. Therapy isn’t for everyone and it is a big step that not everyone is ready to take. However, there are certain life skills that you may never learn about elsewhere that you will learn in therapy.
Your surroundings influence your decisions and are a reflection of your state of being. If your mind is overwhelmed and you are constantly running from your problems, it will show in your space. Courtney Grace, the founder of CG Candle Collection, is no stranger to going through traumatizing experiences and coming out stronger than you were when you entered.
“Sometimes you have to go through the negative experiences to get here,” she said. The experiences you go through doesn’t have to define you and doesn’t have to be the end of you. It’s important to recognize that these are simply stepping stones that lead to a bigger development.
Everyone should say positive affirmations to themselves and allow positive energy to cloud their minds. The words you say to yourself and how you treat yourself matter. The words you say and repeat to yourself are going to stick with you. “Give yourself 1 percent each day and acknowledge that it’s a new day not just another day,” she expressed genuinely. Get into a habit of giving yourself a point every day for what you love and appreciate about yourself. By saying positive affirmations, you can start creating a healthy mindset for yourself.
Your time is irreplaceable and every day is a new day for new beginnings. “Be mindful and intentional with your time and know that things that are convenient aren’t always for you,” Grace said. It’s important that you realize that your time is valuable. Don’t put your time and effort into things that don’t serve you or tasks that you don’t want to do.
Not every opportunity is a chance to prove something to yourself and show that you know what you’re doing. Do what you want and live life at your own pace. You are your own competition and every day you should compete to be a better version of yourself. Use your time to do things that you love and explore different aspects of yourself and the world around you.
What you put into your body also contributes to how you feel. Brand ambassador for CG candle collection and vegan enthusiast Brianna Diaz stressed the importance of putting the right food in your system. They spoke about how the food you eat can change how you see yourself and how you see life. “Vitamins, water, nutrients and even a plant-based diet might be a good step if you think it’s right for you,” they said.
Eating what is good for you will contribute to your overall mood. There’s a difference between eating something that makes you feel good and eating what is good for you. It is important to recognize that the food you eat can be a form of habit in a bad situation. The reality is that bad situations can form different eating disorders. Some people can stress eat while others struggle to eat and going through any kind of hardship can result in any kind of eating disorder. Finding the right balance can be hard in a time like this, but starting to form a healthy foundation now will result in a healthy pattern later on.
Reinventing your space and throwing out clutter is very important when it comes to getting back into healthy habits. Depression can create unhealthy habits like putting off chores and no longer taking care of yourself. “Get rid of things that don’t serve you anymore and recreate your space,” Diaz said.
It’s necessary that not only you take care of your mental well-being, but that you take care of your physical well-being and your space is included in that. The things you surround yourself with will show in the way you carry yourself. You are a product of your environment, so if you are in an environment that suffocates and stunts your growth it will show in the way you act, in the way you speak and in the way you are seen. Changing around your space, whether it be your office, room or seat in class, can be therapeutic and a positive way to have a new outlook on your day-to-day life.
Moving on and starting new can be hard and you may not be ready to move on, but there comes a time where you have to choose yourself. Clean your space, open your windows and surround yourself with anything that makes you happy and whole. Your wounds are fresh, but the hardest part now is finding the strength within yourself to keep moving forward.