Coping Suggestions Following Trauma (Article)

Suggestions for you

Remember your reactions are not unusual – they are normal reactions to an abnormal event.

  • Structure your time and keep busy.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Do things you enjoy and remember to take care of yourself.
  • Eat well-balanced and regular meals even if you don’t feel much like eating.
  • Within the first 24-48 hours, periods of physical exercise with healthful limits, alternated with relaxation, will help alleviate some of your physical reactions.
  • Talk to people and spend time with others. Talking with supportive friends and family members is healing medicine.
  • Maintain as normal a schedule as possible.
  • Be aware of numbing the pain with overuse of alcohol or other drugs. This can further complicate your situation.
  • Give yourself permission to feel upset and share your feelings with others.
  • Keep a journal. Write your way through your feelings.
  • Try not to make any important life changes until you are confident you are making rational decisions.
  • Return to making as many daily decisions as possible. It may give you a feeling of control over your life.
  • Reoccurring thoughts, dreams, and flashbacks are normal. Don’t be too upset by them. They will tend to decrease in frequency and intensity over time.
  • Realize that those around you are also under stress and need your patience too.
  • Help your co-workers as much as possible by sharing feelings and checking out how they are doing.

Suggestions for Family and Friends

  • Reassure your friend or loved one that they are now safe.
  • Listen with focus and let them know you care.
  • Be willing to just sit quietly with them.
  • Arrange and participate in low-risk activities that the person would enjoy.
  • Help them with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, and caring for their family.
  • Give them some private time.
  • Try not to take their anger or other feelings personally.

For more information on how to cope following trauma, give Best Care EAP a call. To schedule your confidential appointment, call (402) 354-8000 or (800) 801-4182, or send an email.

Source: International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc., 2001.