Back up therapist says I need to learn to self-soothe. To stop being toxic to myself; be kind to myself; nurture myself; be a “good mother” to me.

This is so alien. I’m not even really sure what it means. I often relax in front of mindless television at the end of a hard day, but back up therapist says that’s “self-distraction” – not self-soothing.

Back up therapist says that when I know I’m going to have a tough day, I should plan to nurture and sooth myself at the end of it, just as I plan for the toughness of the day itself.

That I should treat myself as I would treat someone else in the same situation. What would be nice for that person to come home to at the end of a tough day? How would I treat a kid after a rough day at school? Would I say to them, “you’ve just had a tough day with exams etc – now go and flog yourself studying a bit more”? No, I wouldn’t. I’d offer them comfort.

Things like long hot baths, relaxing music, crisp sheets, fresh flowers, comfy pyjamas*, candles, meditation… whatever works.

Favourite foods might also be nurturing, but for some us can also be the fast road to negativity and self-loathing.

Like anything new, back up therapist says I’ll need to practice this and learn to actually do it (not just think about it).

I have done one thing this week that could be nurturing: when I’m tired and cold I like to lie on the floor in front of the heater. It’s cosy (even if the floor is hard). Ok, it might not be as good as a long hot bath, but I’d feel too guilty wasting all that water.

* Back up T says comfy jamies are only good if they’re not the old ones that make you feel like a grub! LOL


10 thoughts on “Self-soothing

  1. Hi Kerro,

    There is a book that helped me when I was just first trying to figure out self-soothing. It is called “The Women’s Comfort Book” by Jennifer Louden. She has written several others on the same topic. It gives lots of ideas to work from there and get your own mind working.

    How about a fluffy blanket or rug to lay on when you are on the floor? And seriously babe you are worth the water, so go for it.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  2. Thanks Kate, I’ll check out the book.

    I’ll admit I do lie on my yoga mat, but the floor is still hard. LOL

    As for the water, we are still in drought conditions on Stage 3a Water Restrictions, so there’s no way I could justify all that water.

    Good and healing thoughts to you, too.

  3. Hi Kerro,

    Sorry I didn’t understand about the drought conditions. I would feel the same way.


  4. I’m laughing to myself regarding the last post and this one, about the differences between coping and self-soothing. I don’t know whether this is a guy/girl difference, or just me, or what, but … whenever “soothing” things are suggested to me, the reaction of my entire brain and body is along the lines of, “Good God, what a ridiculous waste of time!” I actually become even more agitated and upset when I do these kinds of things. Which is, I think, valid … things that soothe me are a lot more “active,” and always have been, even when I was little.

    I would pick a bit of a bone with backup T about the television, but it depends upon how you’re using it, I suppose … what’s the difference between taking pleasure in music, or taking pleasure in visual stimulation that you really enjoy? Then again, maybe the difference is in how it presents in the person’s life … I don’t actually have TV service, so when I sit down to watch something I like on DVD, it does fall into a “special treat” rather than “everyday occurrence” category.

  5. David, I don’t know if this is a girl/guy thing or just a person/person thing. For me the kind of soothing that back up T is talking about is definitely jamies on the couch with a blanky thing. Moving about is more like “work”. LOL

    As for TV (or DVD), I use it to switch off at the end of the day – almost to dissociate. Hence self-distracting. Other uses of TV/DVD could be soothing.

  6. Hey Kerro, I suffer from the same “how to shut down”, “self soothe” issue. I am reading a book on Mindfulness in Psychotherapy. I am personally getting a lot out of the book, but one suggestion/meditation was to do the breath focus for 5 minutes, then imagine yourself in a chair/on the couch, and give yourself the comfort you desire. Hugs, kisses, a good intimate talk…whatever. And then go back and forth to the breath, alternating. Well I tried it and couldn’t do it. So the book said if you can’t imagine soothing yourself, then place someone next to you and soothe them. So I put T in the chair next to me and imagined what I would do if she reached out to me for comfort. Remember in the meditation I am seated next to her. I was eventually able to feel how good it felt to be able to soothe T, and was then able to put myself first. It may sound crazy, but it worked for me. I have been putting a lot of effort into meditation lately, and find it enormously helpful. But some of the suggested meditations take adaptation and practice to get there. I have to say it sure does feel good once you get it. The trick is to meditate each day, no matter how hard it is, or distracting. Don’t punish yourself for moving away from your focus, just keep bringing yourself back without judgment. Over time it gets easier, but its never perfect. The thing is you start to learn a lot about yourself in the process. You just have to stay with it….Some people never do, but I thought it was worth letting you know how helpful its been for me. I have also signed up for a few fun courses at the local community college…Reiki certification, and a Intuitive course. Its fun and adds a bit of balance, which was part of my problem…no balance…just intensity…not good! I think backup T is on the right track. Big Self Soothing Hugs to you Kerro!

  7. Hi Kerro – I suck at self-soothing too. I wonder if this is a survivor thing? If so, it’s going on my blog as a reason you shouldn’t fuck kids. 🙂

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