It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, sad, scared, or angry after experiencing a trauma. But even though it may feel like it, you’re not powerless. There are things you can do to begin to heal and feel better. Here are 10 tips for taking care of yourself after a trauma, and remember – if you need help, you can look for trauma workshops in Canberra.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
It’s okay to feel scared, sad, or angry. You may feel like you’re in shock or that you’re numb. Give yourself time to process what happened and allow yourself to grieve.
2. Reach out to people who care about you
Whether it’s with friends, family members, or a support group, talking about what happened can help you process your feelings and begin to heal. It can also be helpful just to spend time with people who make you feel safe and cared for.
3. Talk about your experience in a way that feels comfortable for you
You don’t have to share every detail of what happened if you don’t want to. And you can decide when, where, and with whom you want to talk about it. When you’re ready, talking about your experience can be very empowering.
4. Take care of your physical health
Eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising can help your body recover from the stress of trauma and help reduce anxiety and sadness.
5. Avoid alcohol and drugs
Many people turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of numbing their feelings after a trauma. But using substances will only make things worse in the long run by interfering with your ability to cope with your feelings and making them more difficult to manage.
6. Allow yourself time to heal emotionally as well as physically
There is no set timeline for grieving, and recovery is often gradual. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to “just get over it”.
7. Seek professional help if you’re having trouble coping on your own or if your symptoms don’t seem to be getting better after a couple of months
You may benefit from treatment from a mental health professional trained in treating trauma survivors, such as a therapist or counselor who specializes in PTSD treatment. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) have been found to be especially helpful for treating PTSD.
8. Try not to let the trauma define you
Allow yourself time to grieve and heal but also focus on the positive aspects of your life and the things that bring you joy. Remind yourself that although this is a difficult experience, it does not define who you are as a person.
9. Find ways to cope with reminders of the trauma
For example, if hearing certain sounds makes you relive the event, try using relaxation techniques such as listening to music or deep breathing exercises whenever you hear those sounds. If seeing certain places reignites a sense of anxiety, try avoiding those places or visualizing positive outcomes whenever thoughts of the trauma come up.
10. Stay connected with others
Sharing your experiences with others who understand what’s happening can ensure support during difficult times. Isolation can worsen feelings of depression, so make sure to reach out if you feel that you need support from friends and family.
These are just 10 ideas for taking care of yourself after experiencing trauma, but there are many other ways to care for yourself both physically and emotionally. Remember that everyone responds differently so there is no “right” way to cope – take time to figure out what works best for you, and work towards healing at a pace that feels comfortable.