If you’ve ever been through a traumatic event, then you might not know where to turn when things get hard. Talking it out with a therapist is a great place to go, but you might be seeking out other healthy coping methods to get through it all as well.
If you’re in therapy, be sure to talk to your therapist about supplemental things to do if you’re feeling stressed all the time. We can give you a few ideas, but they’re going to be able to help you through it personally.
Read on for 7 tips to know when you’re dealing with trauma.
1. Know Your Limits
The most important thing to recognize when you’re coping with trauma is your limits. They won’t always immediately show themselves, but if you feel like you’re getting stressed or triggered, then it’s important to pull away.
If you’re not in a position to stop what you’re doing immediately, then it can help to have some activities that you know will help you whenever you’re done (like reading a book, going for a walk, or even eating a snack and talking with a friend).
2. Set Some Boundaries
If you’re actively taking steps to work through the traumatic event, or you’re stuck in a position where you might be reminded of it, it’s important to set boundaries.
Step back if you need to, walk away, or cut off whatever it is that’s bothering you if you need to. Also remember that if you’re around people that question your boundaries during this time, it might be best to cut ties.
3. You Are Going to Feel a Lot of Emotions
In a way, you’re going to grieve during this process and that involves a lot of emotions. If things become too much, be sure to reach out for help (trauma cover & insurance can help out here), but remember that everything you’re feeling is fine and valid.
There’s no one way to recover from trauma, and you might not be able to explain all your emotions immediately.
4. Routine can Help
When you’re stuck in a state of overwhelm, developing a routine means you don’t have to think about the activities you’re doing.
That means things like making coffee, eating breakfast, and journaling in the morning are going to become second nature. If you like evening walks, then placing them in your daily routine is also a great idea.
While autopilot isn’t always a great thing to fall into, it can be when the activities you’re partaking in are healthy and helpful towards your recovery.
5. Stay Connected
As hard as it sounds (or as inevitable as it feels to avoid), don’t isolate yourself after a traumatic event. You don’t always have to be around people, but letting someone know how you’re feeling can help out if you feel like you’re avoiding your loved ones.
Talk to your therapist, a family member, or friend consistently so you remember that you’re not alone. It can feel hard to open up to others after something stressful happens, but it’s important to be open and honest when you can.
6. Help Others
This is one you have to be careful with. If you’re exhausted from taking care of yourself, then you shouldn’t feel a need to care for others. You’ve experienced something stressful and it’s OK to acknowledge that and take it easy.
However, if you’ve been putting in the work and feel like you just need to participate in an uplifting activity, helping someone else can be great. You can volunteer somewhere, you can teach someone a skill, or you can just donate money to your favorite charity.
If you have a therapist or someone you can talk to if you’re unsure, then be sure to do so. Having an unobjective source to help you decide where to move next is always a good idea, and you can trust that they have your best interest at heart.
But at the end of it all, if you’re not feeling up to it then it’s OK to skip out.
7. Treat Yourself
When you’re in the process of recovering from a traumatic event, people might tell you that things like yoga or meditation help. You might hear these things and roll your eyes or think “I can’t calm my mind long enough to even think about doing that.”
The thing is, though, relaxing activities like that do help. But they’re not the only ones.
You can go to the beach and stand in the water, or you can go outside and stand in the grass and concentrate on how it all feels to you. You can get a massage or some other spa treatment (avoid painful facials, though, as they can trigger your fight or flight). The point here is to do something that actively relieves stress from your body.
Activities like this are going to help your nervous system calm down and get some well-deserved relief. Long-term, stress can have negative effects on your body and lead to things like heart attack, stroke, heart disease, and it can even affect menstrual cycles.
The list goes on with potential side effects, but the point of treating yourself isn’t to have a perfectly “zen” experience. It’s to take small steps that let your body know it’s safe. Eventually, activities like this might become routine, and they’re going to get easier each time you do them.
Go Easy on Yourself After a Traumatic Event
Now that you’ve read this article, you might feel yourself tensing up. If you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to step away and think about what your body wants. Did anything we just mentioned sound like a nice experience?
If it did, then you shouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of the feeling. Remember, you deserve more grace than you might realize during this time, and you deserve to provide it for yourself.
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