Protecting Your Energy & Sanity During Traumatic Times
You cannot turn on anything electronic today with hearing about yet another mass shooting. Now the way you just read that be it with anger, sadness or indifference, may be an indicator of how you are or have been coping with these traumatic events that are crippling America. No matter how you are processing all of this, the important thing to remember is that trauma can impact you whether or not you are directly related to the event as long as you have been EXPOSED to it. What this means is that every time you hear about it on the news or see it on your favorite social media site you are being re-exposed to these horrible events creating a new opportunity for it to affect you traumatically. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to follow these stories, you have to take care of yourself first in order to maintain your peace. Read below on how to keep yourself mentality safe during these times.
Acknowledge When You Are Emotionally or Mentally Tired.
Do you find yourself checked out from work, or doing mindless activities while neglecting your responsibilities? Have you been lashing out on “small things” that usually wouldn’t bother you? Are you crying more, or avoiding people? Any of these can be a sign that you are spent emotionally or mentally. I want you to start being more aware of your feelings, even the slight changes, as you navigate what’s going on in the world. It is ok to not feel ok right now. When you are aware of yourself you take back your power to be able to control those feelings or channel them into positive means. If you don’t know yourself, this is a great time to start.
Sometimes enough is enough, with what you are exposing yourself to on the screen. Repeatedly seeing the same thing over and over (via differ methods and different links) will turn your brain to mush. Either it will hype up your anger, trigger depression, or cause you to become so numb you begin to wonder your own sanity. I challenge you to take some time way from your screen. Even if you cant commit to long spans of time away from your favorite social media site, consider 30 minutes to an hour daily doing activities that don’t require a screen.
Tap Into Your Hobbies.
I often ask my patients “What do you like to do for fun?” Often, they will pause for a second to really think about it. SO now I’m asking you, what activities in life give you pleasure, and how often do you do them? For my next challenge I encourage you to first figure out the things you like to do. Secondly, spend at least 10 minutes each day doing things just for you, that you enjoy on a regular basis. Tapping into your hobbies, and those pleasurable activities, allows you to center yourself and refocus on you and your needs.
Spend More Time With Family & Loved Ones.
We already know that life is short. Everyday we are reminded just how true this is. Go see your grandmother in the nursing home or take that road trip to see your home girl's new baby. Make the effort to see or spend time with the family and loved ones, even if they haven’t made the effort for you in the past. Let those grudges go, if you have them. Regret can be forever lasting if something were to happen without making amends. Take time to nurture a new relationship, or to enhance an already thriving relationship. Say I Love You more and mean it! The saying “give someone their flowers while they are living” is so true, because once they are gone it’s too late.
See a Therapist.
While this is usually my go to option, I recognize that many people are not ready or do not see the immediate need for therapy. THIS IS OK. However, if you feel you are ready to see a therapist (if you don’t already see one), or even curious about therapy, just try it. A therapist will allow you the space to get your feelings out and to process how to navigate those feelings. These trained professionals can give you the tools needed to move forward in your life despite these traumatic experiences. Even if you only go for brief therapy, studies show some exposure to therapy can improve your ultimate outcome in life more than no therapy at all.
The power will always be in your hands. You know yourself better than anybody else in this world. So how will you choose to protect your energy during these trying times?
Photo Credits #WOCintech