“A racially motivated massacre took 10 lives and deeply wounded an entire community. An unbelievably fierce blizzard took another 42 lives. A deadly fire took five more. WNY doesn’t deserve this,” posted a friend on Facebook.
Seven months of extraordinary circumstances piled on top of life’s daily stresses placed a huge weight on our community, which prides itself on strength and unity. Buffalo certainly knows about resiliency and pulling together when times are tough, but even the strongest among us can be traumatized by such extreme events.
Leslee Chilcott of Spectrum Health Buffalo H.O.P.E. offers advice on managing trauma, noting that it is important to talk about what you are feeling with someone you trust, and giving yourself time to heal. Other suggestions include asking for support; avoiding too much alone time; sticking to your routine; exercising; getting regular sleep; eating a healthy diet; staying hydrated; enjoying relaxing activities; practicing mindfulness and deep breathing; taking a walk outside in nature; keeping a journal; and using mindfulness apps like Calm, Headspace, or Insight Timer.
Chilcott advises limiting intake of news, as reliving disturbing events can be retraumatizing, and look after others in your circle. For example, older individuals, or those who are housebound, frequently watch the news to fill their loneliness, fostering a negative thought cycle that leads to increased anxiety and fear. So, reach out, pick up the phone, visit someone, and change the channel.
Don’t hold it in, pay attention to how you are feeling, and know when you need to reach out for professional help. Spectrum Health’s Buffalo H.O.P.E. support line is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm at 716-566-6506.