10 Ways To Practice Self-Care After A Tragedy

Toa Heftiba

The world is a scary place lately. With natural disasters, political turmoil, and mass shootings happening way too frequently, we’re constantly surrounded by fear and anxiety. It’s important to make sure that you protect your mental health and take the time to truly care for yourself. Here’s some tips to help you get started.

1. Take action. The first step to effective self-care is to actually do something. Thoughts and prayers are nice, but action is what matters. Action is the only thing that counts. I know it can feel like you can’t make a difference, but taking the time to call your legislators or donate money or supplies is incredibly important. Do something and be part of the solution – you’ll feel so much better. Note: This isn’t a one-time thing. For change to happen, we need consistent small action over a long period of time. Make the commitment to show up and do your part.

2. Get off the internet. I love Twitter as much as the next person, but when tragedy strikes, sometimes the best thing you can do is put your phone down and walk away from the noise. There truly is such a thing as too much information, and it’s important to disconnect before you get completely bogged down in the muck. This isn’t a cop out. If you’re taking your action steps, you’re already doing your part. Feel free to step away from the conversation if it’s hurting your mental health.

3. Call someone you love. You’ll feel better as soon as you hear their voice.

4. Go outside. Soak up that fall weather as much as possible. Changing your environment can have a big impact on your attitude. Go outside and breathe. Remember how small you are in this big world.

5. Read a book. Escape into a new world. Resist the urge to binge on Netflix and crack open a book instead. There’s something about reading that is incredibly calming and restorative.

6. Watch something funny. Laughter really is the best medicine. Check out YouTube clips or stand up specials or your favorite comedy TV show. Remember how it feels to laugh. Don’t feel guilty for doing this. You’ll be a better person and a more passionate advocate if you experience some levity.

7. Work on a creative project. Turn your fear into art. Nothing makes me feel more like myself than writing. But sadly, I never want to do it after something bad happens. I always feel like I don’t have the words, like I can’t do it justice, like there’s no point in trying to create. And yet when push through and do it anyway, I always feel restored afterwards. I always feel more alive and more hopeful. I love when I can take something horrific and painful and use it to create something beautiful. It’s a power that cannot be taken away.

8. Exercise. Endorphins are real. Rid your body from all the stress. You’ll probably never want to do it, but you’ll always be glad you did.

9. Cook a nourishing meal. Resist the urge to numb out with food. Cook something nutritious and delicious. Crank up the music, eat on fancy plates, break out the champagne flutes. Treat yourself to something special.

10. Do a random act of kindness. Give money to the homeless man on the corner. Over-tip at a restaurant. Write someone an encouraging letter. Donate your old clothes. Volunteer. Show up. Get out of your own head. Do your part to make this world a better place. I promise you won’t regret it.

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