After a traumatic event or loss has ended and things calm down, now what? Your wellness matters, that’s what. Too often, once the upheaval has ended you can still find yourself in a fight or flight mode. That means your body is on high alert pumping cortisol as if your very breath depended on it or as if you were trying to outrun someone who was coming after you. So exactly how long can your body function in that state of being? Not long! You’ll find yourself being too exhausted to function. After all, how long has your traumatic event or loss gone on? Has it been hours, days, weeks, months, or years? The length of time that your body was coping with the intensity of the trauma or loss can determine how long it takes you to recover from it physically and emotionally.
What Kind of Trauma or Loss was it?
The impact a traumatic event has on your wellness depends on the kind of trauma or loss it was and on your experiences. What may seem traumatic to you may not be traumatic to me, because your life experiences have been different from mine.
For instance, suppose you had a recent job loss that was traumatic. Maybe you had tried diligently to get along with other employees for a couple of years, but they constantly made you look bad. Or maybe no matter what you did, you couldn’t please your employer. Consider the difference between the death of loved one with that of losing your wallet. Or compare a job loss, which also includes income and benefits loss with losing your keys. Huge differences, right? All of them can take time to resolve after the fact. A job loss that has had years or months of conflict and stress, or the death of a loved one may impact your wellness with chronic stress long before these major traumatic events occur.
My dear friend became progressively sicker, had tests and biopsies, then surgery, and was ultimately diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Next he started chemotherapy. With a healthcare background, I immediately started searching my online sources for what might be of help once he became sick, then later my focus shifted to alternative cancer therapies once he received that diagnosis. The duration of the ongoing traumatic events related to his well-being daily impacted those of us close to him and covered a time span of several years before his passing, and then there was the grieving process after his passing. Our wellness was challenged. Although we took turns staying at his bedside during the last few weeks of his life, there were still many additional stresses that we have never expected.
Your Wellness Matters
Even though it’s difficult to go through life changing events, we have to do our best to care of ourselves in the midst of things when our world turns upside down. Getting adequate sleep is critical so the body can heal and replenish from the stress because often we’re faced with major decisions to make during traumatic events. Sleeping at someone’s bedside in a hospital room is “not” quality, restful sleep! We need to lie down on a bed and attempt to turn off our brains for a while and sleep. We don’t need pain pump alarms going off, or ambulances coming to the ER, or nursing staff coming in and out of the room checking on the patient. We need true undisturbed sleep. Lack of sleep can make our brains foggy and high stress can numb our brains. So sleep is really important. Also, our immune system is hit hard when we’re under stress. So make sure you take your vitamins and maybe even some stress complex vitamins and extra Vitamin C to help boost your immune system.
Taking time to go for a walk to clear your mind and get fresh air may seem like a simple thing to do, but it can make all the difference in the world when you’ve been at someone’s bedside in a hospital room. Be sure to talk with friends so you can discuss what you’re feeling and begin to process what’s occurring because that helps your wellness too. Friends are important, but nothing helps me as much as being still with God, talking to Him, and listening. I’ve learned that no matter what I’m going through, God is my help, strength, comfort, and peace. I can talk to Him any time and anywhere and about anything.
After a traumatic event ends, then you can ease back into your normal schedule again, but there’s no rush. Even if you have to jump back into work, you can spend your free time catching up on rest or journaling to express your thoughts and feelings on paper and get them off of your mind. Be wise and do what you need to do to take care of yourself, because your wellness matters and so do you!
I would love to hear what has helped you the most during traumatic events in your life. Leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond.