Last Friday’s events in Newtown, Connecticut left all of us feeling shocked, horrified, speechless, and even a bit hopeless. We all watched in horror as the sequence of events and consequences became clear and I like most of you struggled to manage my own grief, anger, and outrage towards the unthinkable events that took place. This week, most of us are slowly beginning to pick up our lives again, maybe moving forward with a lot more sadness and heaviness in our hearts. For the families directly involved in this terrible tragedy, the journey ahead will be a very difficult one as they struggle to make sense of it all and find at least a little peace in the midst of everything that has been taken from them. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with them all.
In times of tragedy, it can be difficult to find balance in your own life. There are so many emotions that come into play and may become overwhelming if we don’t take care of ourselves. Here are five easy ways we can all begin to find restoration:
1) Find your breath – The idea of remembering to breathe sounds simple enough, but if you are experiencing anxiety and deep grief, take time out during your day to focus on your breathing and do so mindfully. Take a few deep breaths and notice how this simple shift in your focus can calm your entire body and mind down.
2) Take breaks – It’s hard to not stay glued to the news coverage surrounding tragedies. We are all searching for answers and understanding and are hoping new details will provide that to us. It is, of course, fine to stay informed but try to find breaks in your day where you can get outside, exercise, and do something enjoyable.
3) Take positive action – For many folks, anger is a common reaction to the tragedy in Newtown. Use your anger to become involved in a cause you believe in. Turning our emotions into positive action can become powerful ways healing can begin. Consider volunteering or find ways to contribute resources to the Newtown community.
4) Keep a routine – It is helpful to maintain routines you have in place in your life. Keep up as many of these as you can and create new rituals and routines with your loved ones.
5) Reach out for support – Connecting and communicating our grief to others helps us to heal. Talk about your feelings with friends and family and consider speaking with a mental health professional if you think that would be helpful. If you have children, it is important to help them feel safe and free to talk about their feelings.