Some tips for surviving stressful experience
If you’ve ever been through a highly stressful event or series of events, you’ve been through a traumatic experience. A feeling of helplessness, horror, and in some cases, the challenges of a serious injury (or the threat of one) are common after these events. There are many ways you can help yourself get through it.
Don’t isolate yourself
Reach out to friends and family. If others have had the same experience, talk to them. They may be having some of the same feelings that you are. Open the lines of communication as soon as possible after your traumatic event. It’s an important part of your recovery.
Seek professional help
The stress that comes with a traumatic event can be crippling. Sadness, fear, grief, and depression can take hold. If your feelings in the first month after the event are so severe that they interfere with your regular life, find a mental health expert in your area who can help.
Join a support group
Talking over what you’re going through with others who’ve had the same experience, or are still going through it, can be helpful after a trauma. Not only will groups like these lift you up, they can give you tips on how to deal with what’s happening. Your doctor or mental health expert can point you to local support groups, or you can find one online.
Face it (don’t avoid it)
As tempting as it may be to try to ignore or forget a traumatic event, a key ingredient in recovery is learning to be OK with your memories of it and the things that trigger them without trying to avoid them. Facing your feelings head-on is important because you want to be able to take care of them in a way that helps you move forward.
Get out and move. Experts say it’s one of the most effective ways to handle the aftereffects of a traumatic event. Deep breathing, gentle stretching, and walking are all good choices. If you want your exercise plan to be a bit more challenging, that can help, too. Don’t force things, though. If you’re tired, it’s OK to rest.
Listen to your body
Your body (and mind) will tell you what to do to heal. Eat healthy meals. Rest when you get a chance. Do things that make you happy. Take a bath. Work toward a regular sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at about the same time each night in a cool, dark, quiet room. Read. Do something with friends. Go for a nice stroll. Watch a ballgame. Go to a play. Whatever makes you feel good, take the time to treat yourself.