Signs and Suggestions for Coping with Stress
From the Cheaha Crisis Management Team (CCMT)
When close communities of people, such as college or university students, faculty and staff, experience a critical event, it may impact them in ways similar to a large extended family. This may require individual and/or mutual support and a time of extended healing and recovery. Addressing a serious injury or loss of a friend or associate is daunting and can be traumatic with the potential for significant impact. The multitude of concerns related to the situation present a unique challenge. Routines are disrupted. A sense of vulnerability increases. Business as usual seems destabilized. The assault on lives can leave us feeling helpless, guilty and/or frustrated that we could not anticipate or prevent them.
A single or prolonged traumatic event can be powerful and has the potential for positive or negative impact. It is possible you experienced one or more signs of stress. Such is normal and to be expected. This could simply indicate a need to focus energy on taking care of yourself while you take care of others or concentrate more seriously on your own recovery.
Effects often begin in one or more of five areas of acute or chronic stress response. These feelings and/or behaviors are normal reactions and can be anticipated with extended stress. The response can be immediate or delayed. The impact may last for days, weeks or even months. Generally, reactions usually decrease in frequency and intensity with the passing of time. If the distress does not diminish within a reasonable period, seeking additional assistance is recommended. Some common indicators of the impact of stress are listed for your benefit. Moving forward, always trust those you respect and do not try to experience this alone.
Loss of Memory
Loss of Appetite
|Anger at God
The Cheaha Crisis Management Team (CCMT) is sponsored by the Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center, Chaplaincy Ministry. CCMT volunteers represent a broad array of professions including Public Safety, Public Servants, Emergency Management, Health Care, Mental Health and Social Work. The CCMT is affiliated with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), a leader in the field of trauma and intervention strategies.
Ted Embry, LICSW, CCISM
CCMT Team Leader
One Step at a Time...
Listed below are some suggestions many find beneficial. The most important thing is for you to take control of your circumstances, one step at a time.
- Remember the Big Three – Healthy Diet / Rest / Exercise, and drink clear liquids. (Not Alcohol).
- Slow your life down by taking short breaks – 15, 20, 30 minutes or an hour – Me Time.
- Find a quiet place away from the noise and busyness.
- As soon as possible, take part in appropriate periods of physical exercise, alternate with relaxation to alleviate some of the reactions.
- Structure your time establish a healthy routine to life.
- The reactions listed are normal and have been experienced by countless others.
- Talk to trusted individuals, being able to talk about your experience is very beneficial.
- Be cautious of numbing the pain with drugs/alcohol, this can lead to additional issues.
- Return to a normal schedule as quickly as possible.
- Spend quality time with those you care about.
- Help your co-workers by sharing feelings and checking out how they are doing.
- Give yourself permission to feel rotten.
- Keep a journal; write your way through those sleepless hours.
- Do activities that feel good to you and boost your morale.
- Realize those around you may be experiencing stress also.
- Do not make any major life changes.
- Do make as many daily decisions as possible that will give you a sense of control.
- Do not try to fight reoccurring thoughts, dreams or flashbacks; they are normal and generally in time will decrease in intensity and duration, thus becoming less painful.
For Family Members and Friends...
- Listen Carefully!
- Spend time with the traumatized family member or friend.
- Offer your assistance and a listening ear if he/she has not asked for help.
- Reassure the person they are safe.
- Help them with everyday tasks and re-establishing a life routine.
- Give the person some “private time”.
(International Critical Incident Stress Foundation)
November 7, 2022