Clinical Corner (Spring): Trauma and Self-Care
Trauma is such an ugly word. It often conjures up feelings and thoughts, maybe the overall eye roll or “ick” feeling, that no one wants to address. But trauma is a reality to many, even those who do not want to admit it or may be unaware that the symptoms they are experiencing that are trauma-based.
We can all experience a traumatic event at any time in our lives. This may include witnessing violence, witnessing or being involved in a traumatic motor vehicle accident, living with or around addiction, being the victim of violence, and many other situations. There is also generational trauma which people experience when someone in their family, maybe a grandparent or great grandparent, grew up in a culture of trauma and abuse and this gets “passed down” through the family. There may not be a specific “traumatic incident;” it is trauma that becomes a “norm” in their family and in their life.
It can be helpful during these unprecedented and challenging times to be aware of feelings and thoughts that may enhance calm and avoid being triggered versus feelings and thoughts that may enhance adversive triggers and negative thoughts which may spiral out of control.
Some things to remember include:
- Setting a routine and a space to work daily, one without distraction. (If possible)
- Eat meals at the same time you would if you were in your office, this helps with routine and fueling your body. Eating whole foods, proteins vs food high in sugar and fat.
- Stay hydrated, drinking water throughout the day
- Take breaks, going outside to walk or sit, noticing what is around you
- Stay in contact with people you love and who support you through face time, zoom, and phone call. It is helpful to actually see a face!
- Be aware of your alcohol consumption, it is easier now to get alcohol without leaving the house. Be aware of any increase in consumption, or additional substance use.
- As tempting as it is, keep social media and television viewing to a minimum. Often hearing about a pandemic, crisis and death toll is overwhelming and can cause increased anxiety.
- Pay attention to times of day when you feel most stressed and manage by increasing self-care, walking outside, talking with someone.
VJLAP is here for you, at any time. Please contact us if you need to talk, or need assistance in any way. We do have zoom meetings for support.