Traumatic events are unpredictable and are out of our control, yet they can have devastating impacts. From job loss, illness, death, and natural disaster, these experiences can cause devastating emotional reactions in loved ones. Your responsibility as a spouse or parent should be to provide emotional support during these challenging times. As you know we have lost both of our dogs this year and it has been really traumatic for us all. In this blog post, I share helpful strategies that may assist your spouse or children in overcoming such traumatising events.
Create A Safe Space
One of the best ways you can help your loved ones cope with trauma is to provide them with a space where they feel safe enough to freely share their emotions and thoughts. Then, as their partner or parent, actively listen and validate what they say; offer validation and reassurance; allow them to know it’s okay to feel emotions, that they are not alone and being present and offering support can have a substantial positive effect on overall well-being.
Take A Sabbatical With Your Family
As taking an extended break can be useful in recovering from trauma, consider taking your family on a sabbatical if possible; find somewhere quiet where they can re-engage with nature while reconnecting as a family unit. Search online for inspiring places like lake district places to stay, which offers an ideal opportunity for restful relaxation and quality family time together. In addition, spending time away from work-related distractions and focusing on activities as a family can provide invaluable emotional healing.
Encourage Professional Help
Sometimes despite our best efforts, loved ones may still find it hard to cope with traumatising experiences. In such instances, we must encourage them to seek professional assistance – such as e-counselling – from professionals like therapists or counsellors who can offer safe spaces where their loved ones can process emotions and build healthier coping mechanisms. If they hesitate, try normalising the process by sharing positive experiences from therapy yourself and explaining its potential advantages.
Foster Physical Wellness
Traumatic experiences can take their toll on both physical and mental well-being. So encourage your loved ones to engage in physical activities they find fulfilling, such as going for a walk, practising yoga or dancing around the house – such exercise releases endorphins that can enhance the mood while alleviating stress levels. Also, ensure they eat balanced meals and get enough rest – having healthy bodies leads to healthy minds!
Finding Support Groups
Joining forces with others who have gone through similar trauma can be immensely therapeutic and relieving for those you care for, so consider finding a local support group or online community specialising in what your loved one has been experiencing. Encourage them to attend these meetings and share their stories – hearing from people with shared experiences can provide hope and give your loved one a sense of hopefulness and belongingness.
Finally, establish and stick to a regular schedule for those close to you. Traumatic events can shake their sense of normalcy; having a routine can provide stability and predictability. Work with them on making a schedule including self-care activities, work/school obligations and social activities as well as creating a peaceful and soothing home environment by lighting candles or adding aromatherapy oils. Everything will help ease their transition.
Traumatic events can be terrifying experiences for your loved ones, making their journey to recovery even harder. As their spouse or parent, it is your role to provide emotional support and assist them through any hardships they encounter. Safe spaces, professional help, physical wellness programs, support groups and keeping routines are some effective strategies that may help your loved ones cope with trauma experiences more quickly and successfully. Everyone’s healing journey differs, so be patient as they work through their emotions.
Check out my other family posts for more support.
Valerie SealMay 28, 2023
Useful when needed.
Siobhan NMay 29, 2023
A useful, interesting read! Thank you
Margaret GallagherMay 30, 2023
Being mentally strong can be difficult – I found hospice counselling to be amazing
ashleighMay 30, 2023
Lots of good tips and so important
lucie fishJune 1, 2023
Some great tips here! We’ve lost half of our family over the past few years and are still struggling to come to terms with it.
Wendy Lam-VechiJune 4, 2023
These are all great suggestions. I don’t think I can think of anything to add. We’re quite lucky nothing traumatic has happened in our family but I know I will taking up these suggestions when something does