7 Tips to Help You Cope With a Traumatic Event

A man sitting in a dark image, head in hand. Help to cope after a traumatic event

Have you been struggling to deal with the aftermath of a traumatic event? Are you having difficulty coping with what happened and with your emotions? Consider these tips to help you cope with trauma and get through this difficult time.

7 Tips to help you cope with trauma

Tip #1: It’s OK to feel what you feel

So often when we experience a traumatic event we either want to forget what happened or push down any emotions that come up. These memories and emotions are often quite painful and it is understandable that you’d just want to move on. Yet in order to do so, you have to address these thoughts and feelings. It’s okay, doing this is actually part of the healing process from trauma, so give yourself permission to feel.

Tip #2: Maintain your routine

Try as much as possible to maintain a daily routine. Having structure in your life will help keep you grounded and not get overwhelmed. For example:

  • Wake up at the same time each day.
  • Tidy up your bedroom and living space.
  • Exercise.

Tip #3: Give yourself space

Besides pushing down your feelings or trying to forget what happened, it is also tempting to just throw yourself back into the mix to distract yourself. For example:

  • Becoming fixated on work.
  • Tackling family issues.
  • Helping others who went through the trauma.

Although it is helpful to maintain connections and have structure, you also need to take time for yourself. Give yourself some private time where you can unwind and relax. This might actually be hard because it leaves you with your thoughts, but it’s necessary.

Tip #4: Connect with others

One of the tools available for coping with trauma is staying connected with others. Yet, this is often ignored as those with trauma socially isolate themselves. Avoid this misstep by reaching out and connecting with those whom you care about and that you know care about you. These could be individuals or groups. For example:

  • Family members or close friends.
  • A religious or spiritual leader.
  • A club or recreational sport that you like to do.
  • A place of worship.

Tip #5: Recognise what is and isn’t in your power to control

Often when we think of trauma we look back on the situation that occurred and ask “What more could I have done?” Although part of trauma recovery is reflecting on the past and facing those tough emotions, be careful to avoid the endless spiral of “What if?” There is nothing more you can do to change the situation. Yet you do have the power to decide what happens moving forward.

Tip #6: Seek closure with a ceremony

If you have been through a traumatic event, such as a car accident or an act of violence it can be helpful to find closure through a ceremony. This can allow you to feel that you can close the door on that chapter in your life and move forward. The ceremony does not hide the trauma. What it does do is provide recognition, acknowledgement, and closure. An important note: don’t attempt a ceremony until you feel that you are ready. Otherwise, it will have no meaning and be less impactful.

Tip #7: Get professional help

We cannot emphasise enough that it’s important to get professional help if you are struggling to cope after a traumatic event. Why?

  • You will have a safe place to talk and discuss what happened without feeling judged.
  • A counsellor can provide insight and context.
  • They can teach you ways that will help you cope with the trauma outside of session.
  • It is one more chance to get closure for what happened.

Traumatic events happen to almost all of us at some point in our lives: the death of a loved one, an accident, injury, etc. Yet trauma doesn’t have to be a burden either. By following these tips you won’t be able to make the trauma go away, but you will be taking proactive steps to ensure it doesn’t weigh on your future.

Getting further help

If you feel that you would like to speak with a therapist, our trauma counsellors would be happy to work with you. You can call us on 0151 329 3637 or email enquiries@counselling-matters.org.uk. You can also complete our online referral form. We would welcome your call.

Image by Nick Shuliahim via usplash.com.

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