We have seen multiple examples of natural disasters in the past few weeks, and the resulting hardships for many people. There seem to be ripple effects throughout the country and world as hurricanes and earthquakes strike. The very visible signs of devastation are everywhere.
Emotionally, we experience devastating disasters as well, and they are not always so visible. They occur internally, and it’s possible few if any other people know or recognize the external signs of your internal distress. Some of us have become accustomed and quite skilled at masking or numbing emotional pain.
It’s essential that you let someone in. Allow some other person in your life to know what you are experiencing. We all go through times of receiving bad news, or experiencing a lack of meaning and purpose in our lives, or some other type of chronic concern. Tremendous relief comes when you can share your experience with a trusted, supportive person.
Just as we pack emergency kits for survivors of natural disasters, we can also be mindful and prepared for our own emotional emergencies. What would your emotional emergency kit look like? Here are a few ideas of emotional resources to keep on hand:
- A list of positive, trusted people to text or call. Make plans and just spend time with them.
- A list of self-care activities. These can be simple acts like taking a warm bath, listening to music, going for a walk, getting a babysitter for your children or carving out time in your work schedule so you can sit in a library or coffee shop and enjoy some silence, or taking a nap.
- A journal. Write in it for a few minutes at the beginning or end of your day. Ask yourself how you’re really doing emotionally, on a scale of 1-10. Write down a commitment to take one step to actively address your struggle.
Keep your lists on an “emergency coping” note card that you can access when you need it. You may choose to keep it inside your journal. None of us are at our best brainstorming during a crisis, so if you can do it beforehand, it can really help. Hang in there during emotional struggles, and seek help when needed.