Take immediate action to ensure your physical safety
and the safety of others. If possible, remove yourself from
the event/scene in order to avoid further traumatic
2. Address your acute medical needs
(e.g., If you're having difficulty breathing, experiencing
chest pains or palpitations, seek immediate medical
3. Find a safe place that offers
shelter, water, food and sanitation.
Become aware of how the event is affecting you (i.e., your
feelings, thoughts, actions-and your physical and spiritual
4. Know that your reactions are
normal responses to an abnormal event. You are not "losing
it" or "going crazy." It's okay not to be okay, right now.
5. Speak with your physician or
healthcare provider and make him/ her aware of what has
happened to you.
6. Physical exercise may help to
dissipate the stress energy that has been generated by your
experience. Take a walk, ride a bike, or swim.
7. Be aware of how you're
holding-up when there are children around you. Children will
take their cues from the adults around them.
8. Try to obtain information.
Knowing the facts about what has happened will help you to
If possible, surround yourself with family and loved ones.
Realize that the event is likely affecting them, too.
10. Tell your story. And allow
yourself to feel. It's okay not to be okay during a
11. You may experience a desire to
withdraw and isolate, causing a strain on significant
others. Resist the urge to shut down and retreat into your
12. Traumatic stress may compromise
your ability to think clearly. If you find it difficult to
concentrate when someone is speaking to you, focus on the
specific words they are saying-work to actively listen. Slow
down the conversation and try repeating what you have just
13. Don't make important decisions
when you're feeling overwhelmed. Allow trusted family
members or friends to assist you with necessary
14. If stress is causing you to react
physically, use controlled breathing techniques to stabilize
yourself. Take a slow deep breath by inhaling through your
nose, hold your breath for 5 seconds and then exhale through
your mouth. Upon exhalation, think the words "relax," "let
go," or "I'm handling this." Repeat this process several
15. Create a journal. Writing about
your experience may help to expose yourself to painful
thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, enable you to
assimilate your experience.
16. If you find that your experience is too powerful,
allow yourself the advantage of professional and/or
spiritual guidance, support and education.
17. Try to maintain your schedule.
Traumatic events will disrupt the sense of normalcy. We are
all creatures of habit. By maintaining our routines, we can
maintain a sense of control at a time when circumstances may
lead us to feel a loss of control.
18. Crises present opportunities.
Cultivate a mission and purpose. Seize the energy from your
experience and use it to propel you to set realistic goals,
make decisions and take action.
19. Realize that repetitive
thinking and sleep difficulties are normal reactions. Don't
fight the sleep difficulty. Try the following: Eliminate
caffeine for 4 hours prior to your bedtime, create the best
sleep environment you can, consider taking a few moments
before turning out the lights to write down your
thoughts-thus emptying your mind.
20. Give yourself permission to rest,
relax and engage in non-threatening activity. Read, listen
to music, consider taking a warm bath, etc.