Unless you’ve been an extended vacation with no access to internet, you’ve probably been bombarded with the heartbreaking news over the last week in regards to shootings of Alton Sterling, Philander Castile, and the five Dallas Police Officers. Our nation as a whole continues to deal with the rising tensions of Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and All Lives Matter in the midst of gun control legislation and police brutality. We aren’t going to discuss those because we’re talking about coping during difficult times!
Honestly, this past week has been a very trying time personally. As a black woman who works closely with police officers, often I found myself in a situation where I felt trapped. I wasn’t able to fully process the deaths of two black men at the hands of police officers, followed by the tragic killings of 5 police officers within the police department that I call my work family. The pressure was slowly becoming unbearable and I found myself letting my emotions get the best of me. I needed to really take a close look at how to best take care of myself. Instead of letting my emotions and the stress of the news takeover my life, I implemented 3 simple strategies that have helped over this last week in more ways than one. Hopefully, if you’re still stuck in limbo – they can help you as well!
Take your time and process.
When tragedies happen, everyone always seems to want to be the first person to respond about them. The reality is 1) it’s already happened and 2) there is no going back. Which means there is no rush in putting emotionally driven half drawn out thoughts into the universe! What I’ve learned is that we are much better with articulating our feelings/emotions when we’ve actually taken the time to process what is truly happening around us. In difficult times, its best to allow your emotions to simmer down before you take to every social media platform to state your ground. Allow yourself time to be rational in processing the what has happened and what may transpire during the next few weeks.
Ask for help or guidance.
This is my weakest strategy, but you better believe that after this week I reached out to any and everyone that would listen to me. Sometimes it is nice to just ask for a friend to hear you out on the emotions that you’re dealing with. With my role at DPD, they have been offering counseling services to cope with the loss of the 5 officers and encouraging all employees to capitalize on these services. We have people both personally and professionally in our lives to be there for us during these difficult times. Half of the time, I don’t need anyone to say anything – only listen. Other times, a hug will suffice. Never be afraid to open your heart to those people who you know will be in your corner during the difficult times.
Leave all your social media channels behind and do something you love. Spend a day at the pool! Go visit a local library! Ride a bike! Explore a nearby town! Whatever it is you enjoy doing – leave all the tweets, comments, status updates, and videos behind to enjoy some quality time. Just an hour away can do a tremendous amount of good for your mind, body, and soul. If you know me, I’m a huge advocate for self-care and during difficult times it’s so crucial.