Things to Remember After a Crisis
There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ reaction to an overwhelming event. So expect a wide range of reactions in yourself and others who experienced the critical incident. Emotional reactions can be extreme, but will soften with time as you talk to others and follow some basic principles that have helped thousands to recover after a crisis. The following steps are designed to guide you from stress and panic to feeling peace again.
Remember the process toward lasting recovery involves self care, buddy or team care and then other care. If you don’t take care of yourself you won’t have any energy to reach out to others. As you stay focused through the crisis recovery process you can reach out to your fellow team members in strength to help them through the stress.
You’ll get by with a little help from your friends and family. Talking about your reactions with people you care about and who care about you can help you as well as them to get through this difficult time faster. Reach out your hand to others along the way as well. The more support you have, the better you can manage any crisis event.
Exercise is helpful for your body and your emotional state if your health allows. Even walking in the sunshine will brighten your mood and protect your energy level, which may seem extremely depleted at times. Be kind to yourself, eat healthy and get more sleep than usual.
Try to maintain your daily routine and schedule, but don’t be alarmed if you body won’t fully cooperate. Your appetite and sleep habits may feel off balance for a while as you begin the recovery process. Caffeine and alcohol tend to intensify your reactions, so try to limit those substances and make sure to increase your intake of fluids, especially water.
Distressing reactions like dreams and flashbacks can be part of the process of readjustment. Although unpleasant, they will fade over time. However if these reactions feel too intense or overwhelming; make sure to reach out for some professional assistance.
When it’s all said and done, emerging with strength and focus from a challenging experience is all about our values… what we hold most dear; faith, service, commitment, courage, family… so hold tightly to these core values and basic beliefs in the days and weeks after the crisis event as they will help steady during the major changes during this time of readjustment.
Give yourself permission to ask for help from your family, friends, co-workers, supervisor, pastor, therapist, EAP, (Employee Assistance Program), chaplain, counseling hotlines or any other resource that can help you. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength and resilience.
Recovery from an overwhelming incident doesn’t happen all at once. It is a process, not an event. Some moments will be much better than others, but most people find that in time they emerge stronger, ready to face the next challenge.
Resource provided by the LifeWorks Team of Counselors – www.LifeWorksGroup.org