What to do after an event or major stressor

There are certain things that can help you manage better in the 24 – 48 hours after a critical incident. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • get moving…it can help you manage physical reactions
  • rest
  • structure your time
  • talk to people
  • be patient with yourself when you’re having a normal reaction to an abnormal incident
  • be aware of numbing your pain by overusing drugs or alcohol

It’s easy to say take care of yourself…but what does that mean when things are a little topsy-turvy? And how can you take care of yourself when you just don’t feel like you?

  • reach out to people who care about you
  • try to keep your schedule as normal as possible
  • spend time with others
  • talk to people
  • be patient with yourself when you’re having a normal reaction to an abnormal incident
  • check in with your coworkers and see how they’re doing
  • give yourself permission to feel rotten
  • share your feelings with others
  • keep a journal – and think about writing your way through sleepless nights
  • do things that feel good to you
  • be compassionate with yourself and others – the people around you are under stress too
  • don’t make any big life changes
  • make as many daily decisions as you can to give you a sense of control over your life – for example, what you want to eat, if you want to shop
  • don’t fight recurring dreams, thoughts or flashbacks, which are normal…they’ll decrease over time and become less painful
  • get plenty of rest
  • eat regularly and as healthfully as you can

“Acknowledging or addressing how you feel is a positive coping strategy. Denying that you have been affected by something is not,” says Jarrin.

As much as health care providers may resist it, paying attention to the emotions and reactions they experience is a key part in coping and maintaining personal resiliency.

Don’t hesitate to seek help…from these or other resources.