As I write to you today, there are wildfires burning literally on all sides of where we live in northern California (to the north, east, west, and south). This is incredibly stressful. I have been reflecting on my childhood in Texas hurricane country. Hurricanes are also stressful and traumatic but I always remember we had plenty of time to prepare and the storm actually came from a certain destination with a fairly clear and predictable path. Fires these days in California can simply start up anywhere and move in such a disorganized way that you have no idea where they are coming from. The current fires began with lightning strikes that are completely uncommon to this area.
Our area has been hit hard several times in the last 3 years and this current fire is certainly triggering a lot of folks. I was recently quoted in an article in Sonoma Magazine stating my concern that people wait too long to get mental health support after a traumatic event such as a natural disaster. Back in 2017, I did not see a single victim of the fires until a full year had passed. I really want to encourage you to get help NOW if you are not doing well with the stress of the global pandemic, racism, polarized political debates or natural disasters. Research shows that early intervention is highly effective. If you wait too long, then you are potentially going to develop negative coping skills or habits that will distract you from healing (i.e. addictions).
There are plenty of tips out there on how to cope with trauma. I really want to encourage everyone to simply take good care of yourselves – mind, body, and spirit. Pay attention to the lower levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid.
Fulfill your basic needs through good sleep, food, and exercise. As you become more cognizant of what you are putting into your stomach, also pay attention to what you’re putting into your mind. What you read and watch has a similar correlative effect (positively and negatively) for your mind as food does for your body.
Let me know if you want some more ideas on how to cope with trauma. If you are interested in exploring the benefits of therapy, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation.