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Work Hard, Rest Harder

Achieve Peak Relaxation by Satisfying Your Senses

By Veronica WrenPublished 2 months ago Updated about a month ago 4 min read
Photo by author: Veronica Wren

There are many ways in which my diagnosis of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) impacts my daily functioning. In the years since escaping my abusive relationship, learning to notice and manage these symptoms and behaviors has become a part-time job.

I’ve reached a place in my healing where I’m discovering the importance of putting that level of effort into my relaxation. I challenge you to extend to read on to learn how you can extend the same kindness yourself.

Sensual Healing

I recently began scheduling a block of time each day specifically for enrichment and relaxation. I treat this time with the respect and advanced preparation of an appointment. This may sound over the top, but it doesn’t need to take a lot of time or energy.

My favorite way to prepare to unwind is by reflecting on each of my senses and ensuring my environment satisfies them to the best of my ability.

For example, say I want to prepare my space for an hour of reading that might (as it often does) turn into a short nap. Before laying down, I’ll do a quick inventory of how each sense is feeling.

This generally goes something like this:


Clear space of clutter and distractions.

Make sure the lighting is comfortable.

Move a couple of plants to the windowsill.


Silence phone notifications.

Turn on ambient noise such as a Stormy Library ASMR or Jazz in the Background on Spotify.

Queue up a meditation app like WellnessCoach so I can easily turn it on if I get sleepy while reading.


Light a candle or turn on aromatherapy.

Moisturize with a scented lotion or use a spray with a relaxing scent.


Brew tea.

Drink a glass of water.

Make a light snack.


Put anything I may need (book, glasses, water) within reach.

Change into a comfortable outfit.

Do some light stretching or yoga.

Use a CBD salve or magnesium lotion to soothe any sore or restless muscles.

Put a heating pad on my feet if it’s chilly.

Brain Dump

I’ll also take a few moments to make sure I have an uncluttered mind. This could include:

Writing down anything I still need to do or am worried about forgetting.

Making sure my dogs have eaten, been outside, and had playtime to get them feeling snuggly and sleepy.

Setting an alarm in case I fall asleep so I won’t have to keep an eye on the clock to know when it’s time to get back to my day.

Self-Indulgent or Self-Love?

When I first started noticing this behavior, I chastised myself for being unnecessarily hedonistic. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that this level of care is entirely necessary to recover from the stress of daily life. It’s also helping me to establish a healthy and trauma-informed routine that keeps me on track to meet my goals.

I’m incredibly driven to do the hard work in my life, but I can only keep up that pace when I’m feeling healthy enough. This can be especially difficult given the added strain CPTSD puts on almost every aspect of my functioning. There’s no way I’d be able to keep up with my ambitions if I didn’t treat myself with this necessary care.

And why shouldn’t we treat ourselves to the little extravagances?

I do small things to make my day feel more luxurious because I know what a luxury it is to live another day. I may not be doing anything monumental by moisturizing or lighting candles, but after I’ve had this rejuvenating nap?

The world better watch out.

Subscribe in one click to receive your FREE digital copy of my new guided journal, “Empower and Heal: 90 Days of Transformational Prompts for Trauma Recovery, Self-Discovery, and Growth”, delivered straight to your inbox!

Veronica Wren Trauma Recovery Book Club

The Body Is Not an Apology, Second Edition: The Power of Radical Self-Love– Sonya Renee Taylor

This post may contain affiliate links. This just means if you click a link and decide to make a purchase, I'll earn a few extra pennies to support my book-buying habit (and do an elaborate, celebratory dance around my apartment just for you). My promise to you is that I'll only ever recommend resources I truly believe in and have found beneficial in my healing journey. Happy reading!

mental healthself carehealth

About the Creator

Veronica Wren

Trauma sucks. Recovery shouldn't. Subscribe here for your FREE exclusive guided journal

❤️‍🩹 bio.link/veronicawren ❤️‍🩹

Domestic Abuse & CPTSD Recovery Coach

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