The events of the past few weeks have left me sputtering with rage. Plenty has been said about the political, sociological, and moral side of our federal government’s proceedings. I don’t want to speak to that right now. I want to speak to you.
For those of us with trauma histories, for those of us who are women/sexual minorities, for those of us who feel injustice deeply, for those of us who are decent human beings - these are incredibly difficult times. We have to take care of ourselves and one another.
So, as we head into the long weekend, some humble thoughts….
- Stress and trauma manifest themselves in the body, first and foremost. To stay healthy/regain balance, we have to metabolize that stress somehow. The most expedient way to do this is to literally metabolize it. Exercise. Get your heart pumping – walk, run, dance, chase the kids, chase the dog. Stretch. Re-connect your spirit to your physical being. Take deep, intentional breaths. Get enough sleep and eat healthy food. Drink water.
- Use your supports. Who are your people? Reach out to them. Spend time with people you love. Stay connected to good humans. Being connected feeds our resilience (and, at least in the case of my people, makes me laugh – a helpful antidote to the rage I mentioned earlier).
- Be mindful of your exposure to media (social and otherwise). Staying informed is good. So is activism. Find the balance between being informed and being consumed by or overexposed to the vile nature of what is happening right now.
- Be patient. It is likely that you know people (friends, colleagues, family, neighbors) – disclosed and undisclosed – who have experienced sexual violence and/or other forms of trauma. And when trauma is in the news, it can be triggering for people. In the words of my mother, “be gentle with one another.”
- Seek out formal resources, like RAINN – a national anti-sexual violence organization. Check with your workplace to see if they have an Employee Assistance Program that may be able to link you to counseling or other support.
Trauma happens in secret, in the shadows. Part of healing is acknowledging its impact, rather than letting it lurk in the margins. I hope and pray for this to happen nationally (and will continue to work and fight). In the meantime, though, we can acknowledge its impact right here, in our own communities. I’m so grateful to work for an organization that roots itself squarely and authentically in trauma-informed practice and a belief in recovery…and hope that you all are well.