Let’s check in. How are you? But how are you, really? A common response I’ve heard to that question lately has been along the lines of, “Everything feels like it’s on fire every day. How am I supposed to enjoy anything right now?”

And I get it. We’ve been going through it down here on planet Earth.  I get it if you’re finding it really difficult to show up for your people right now, or you’re having a hard time seeing the good in things — even if you’re struggling to do anything beyond taking care of your basic needs.

Man trying to cope

There have been a lot of heavy, heart-breaking events recently. Even if none of those events directly affected you, it’s possible you may still be experiencing a grief reaction to them. That in itself can feel confusing. Sometimes we minimize the feelings that come up because we think, “It didn’t even happen to me.”

When it comes to public traumas, and continuously seeing or hearing details about the events, it’s completely normal to experience varying thoughts, feelings, and reactions.  When it comes to violence within the community, you may be feeling empty, shocked, or numb. Maybe you’re feeling angry towards institutions, situations, and circumstances. All of these feelings make sense and they’re valid. 

Women helping each other cope

If you’re struggling with recent events or grief in general, here are some ways to cope:

  • Talk with someone who feels safe | Connect with friends, family, faith leaders, etc. to discuss how you’re being affected and any thoughts or feelings that are arising
  • Check in with yourself | What do you need right now? How are you dealing with the added stress? Are you being mindful of your needs in the present moment, or are you dissociating? 
  • Validate your thoughts and feelings | Whatever is coming up for you right now is a normal reaction. You’re allowed to have thoughts and feelings.
  • Limit your exposure to the details | Staying informed on recent events can be helpful, and it’s important to notice how media coverage is affecting you. If you need to limit what you’re reading, listening to, or watching, that’s okay.
  • Focus on what you can do | Tragic news and events can stir up a desire to help, fix, and heal. When traumas occur frequently, you may start to feel a loss of control. It’s important to focus on what you can do on a small scale. Write letters to your local government officials or connect with groups who provide support and assistance in times of need. Keep in mind, caring for yourself and your needs is a radical act in itself!

Remember, if you’re experiencing feelings of grief and anger, these are normal reactions. If this persists or you feel that you need a safe space to feel seen, heard, and supported, please reach out to Heartland Therapy Connection to set up an appointment or give us a call at 816-287-0252.

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