Coping With Stress

What to do:

 

· WITHING THE FIRST 24-48 HOURS periods of appropriate physical exercise, alternated with relaxation will alleviate some of the physical reactions.

· Structure your time; keep busy

· You’re normal and having normal reactions; don’t label yourself as crazy.

· Talk to people; talk is the most healing medicine.

· Be aware of numbing the pain with overuse of drugs or alcohol, you don’t need to complicate this with substance abuse problems.

· Reach out; people do care.

· Maintain as normal a schedule as possible.

· Spend time with others.

· Help your co-workers as much as possible by sharing feelings and checking out how they are doing.

· Give yourself permission to feel rotten and share your feelings with others.

· Keep a journal; write your way through those sleepless hours.

· Do things that feel good to you.

· Realize those around you are under stress.

· Don’t make any big life changes.

· Do make as many daily decisions as possible that will give you a feeling of control over your life, i.e., if someone asks you what you want to eat, answer even if you are not sure.

· Get plenty of rest.

· Don’t try to fight reoccurring thoughts, dreams or flashbacks—they are normal and will decrease over time and become less painful.

· Eat well-balanced and regular meals (even if you don’t feel like it).

FOR FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS:

· Listen carefully.

· Spend time with the traumatized person.

· Offer your assistance and a listening ear if they have not asked for it.

· Reassure them that they are safe.

· Help them with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for the family, minding children.

· Give them some private time.

· Don’t take their anger or other feelings personally.

· Don’t tell them that they are “lucky it wasn’t worse;” a traumatized person is not consoled by those statements.  Instead, tell them that your are sorry such an event has occurred and you want to understand and assist them.

© International Critical Incident Stress Foundation Inc. 2001 All Rights Reserved