Tips to Begin Healing after a Traumatic Event
As difficult as it sounds, the best thing you can do to reduce the impact of trauma in the first three days after it happens, is to minimize how much you think about and replay what happened.
Distract yourself. Focus on other tasks and events as much as possible.
According to the literature, “avoidance, suppression and denial are effective coping resources in reducing post-traumatic distress.” The more you replay it in your head, and process every detail over and over, the more you consolidate the memories, and the harder it can be to heal.
You can talk about your feelings without focusing on the details. You can accept support from others, and offer support, without focusing on the details.
Take care of yourselves. Be kind to one another. Spend time with loved ones, and reach out for support as needed.
- Expect the incident to bother you; that’s normal. But try to focus on coping and self-care versus rehashing the details of what happened.
- Maintain as normal a schedule as possible. But give yourself downtime if you need it.
- Get ample rest. Acknowledge that you’ll be operating below your normal level for a while.
- Maintain control where you can. Make small decisions but maybe hold off on big decisions if they can wait.
- Structure your time more carefully than usual. It’s normal to forget things when you are under stress. Keep lists. Try to be patient and kind with yourself and others.
- Spend time with others if they are supportive. But guard against re-telling the details of the story; it’s more helpful to express your emotions and accept support.
- Try to eat healthily, and get exercise, get outside or at least look at photos of nature.
- Take time for leisure/relaxing/soothing activities.
Tips for Parents and Educators: