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Coping Strategies


Self-care strategies

The term "self-care" means: looking after yourself: treating yourself as person who deserves care.

Self-care can be very challenging for adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse. In the act of neglecting, hitting, insulting or abusing a child, an adult sends a message to that child that they are without value or worth. Many traumatised and abused children grow to adulthood believing that they do not deserve to experience love, care or warmth. Self-care requires survivors to develop  a new way of perceiving themselves as a human beings who have the right to feel comfortable, safe and worthwhile.

Self-care involves very simple, day-to-day acts. A good goal is to try to do one or two caring things for yourself every day. Acts of self-care are particularly effective at short-circuiting spirals of distress, anger or shame. If you feel yourself moving into an overwhelming emotional state, undertaking a self-care strategy can help ground you, bring you out of that state, and help you regain control over difficult emotions.

Have a think about the things that you enjoy. The list of self-care suggestions might help you choose.

  • What activities ground you in your body and encourage you to enjoy the present moment? Take a long, hot bubble bath; listen to classical music, or light candles; go for a jog or watch old movies.
  • Make sure that your bed and bedroom are comfortable so that, when you feel like retreating, you have a place that affirms your worth, makes you feel safe, and gives you pleasure.
  • Undertake activities that have no other function other than the joy that they give. Read a special book -- not one for school, work, parenting or therapy -- one just for you. Play with pets and animals. Listen to your favorite music.
  • Do something physical or acquire a new physical skill. Learn to dance, or join a club of bushwalkers or joggers. Exercise is a great way to burn off excess emotion, and it teaches us to be more comfortable in our bodies.
  • Undertake "mindfulness" meditation classes that teach you to live in, and find ways to enjoy, the present.

Many survivors live in a state in which they are coping with the burden of the past, but anxious of the future as well. The present often seems overwhelming. By finding ways to care for yourself, you can find ways to live in the present, and enjoy the moment. This in turn promotes emotional and psychological health.

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Health Direct


Head to Health


“Blue Knot Foundation has a key role to play in the building of community capacity in care provision to those who have experienced childhood abuse and trauma in any environment.”

NIALL MULLIGAN Manager, Lifeline Northern Rivers

“I think Blue Knot Foundation is a fantastic support organisation for people who have experienced childhood trauma/abuse, for their families/close friends and for professionals who would like to learn how to more effectively work with these people.”

Psychologist Melbourne

“It's such a beautiful thing that you are doing. Helping people to get through this.”


“It was only last September when I discovered the Blue Knot Foundation website and I will never forget the feeling of support and empathy that I received when I finally made the first phone call to Blue Knot Helpline, which was also the first time I had ever spoken about my abuse.”


"At last there is some sound education and empathetic support for individuals and partners impacted by such gross boundary violations.”


Contact Us

Phone: 02 8920 3611
PO Box 597 Milsons Point NSW 1565
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm AEST

Blue Knot Helpline
Phone: 1300 657 380
Hours: Mon-Sun, 9am-5pm AEST

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