Trauma Recovery in Our Collective Pandemic Experience
We have been living under the spectre of a global pandemic for a long time. To varying degrees and in diverse ways, we are all feeling it. Whether you are grieving lost loved ones, suffering long stretches alone, rising to the demand of being a front-line worker – even if you are enjoying the chance to slow down – the constant bandwidth of following protocols wears at resilience.
If we come from a background of trauma, living through the pandemic can be re-traumatizing. The lack of control and baseline threat to personal safety keeps our nervous systems in high alert. It is so important to be mindful of and responsive to our basic needs. Yet, it can seem harder than ever to stay present and attuned.
As pack animals, we need community, touch, and security to maintain mental health. If we live with PTSD, current limitations on our social comfort may be very triggering. Many people have been re-experiencing a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, anger, fear, or despair.
Notice, acknowledge and respond when you don’t feel okay. No matter the external situation, the path of trauma recovery remains the same. Touch yourself in a loving way, like a big hands-over-shoulders hug and self-nuzzle or rubbing lotion slowly into hands and feet. Look at, touch, smell, taste or listen to something pleasant while you take three deep breaths. Phone somebody. If they don’t pick up, phone somebody else. Watch your favorite comedy and let yourself laugh out loud.
You may have your own list of self-care activities, too. Engage with them! There is a part within us that already knows what we truly need. It’s okay to take time to get to know that part of ourselves and trust its requests for a calmer, safer way of being. Small actions yield big outcomes, especially when they become routine. If you are an integrative health professional or healthcare worker, continually check in with clients and patients about their lifestyles and coping habits. Hold them accountable for their health and self-care.
For more information on working with traumatized clients, check out MUIH’s Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) online course: PTSD in Client Relationships Masterclass. Together, we will get through this.
Erin Byron, MA, RP, C-IAYT is a MUIH Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) subject matter expert, Registered Psychotherapist and founder of Trauma Aware Yoga Training. Erin has co/authored 5 books in the field of mental and physical health. She is a founder of one of the first internationally accredited yoga therapist training programs. Erin continues to work with people one-on-one and has presented at the world’s top conferences in her field. www.ErinByron.com