Boston holds a special place in my heart; I have lived in the Boston area most of my life and I went to college in Boston. It’s a city where I found myself, my purpose and it provided me with opportunities I may not have had living in another city. Boston is very much a part of who I am.
We all know what happened last week in Boston. I am not here to write about that or the individuals who carried out the bombings. I am here to talk to you; I feel it is important to write about self-care at a time like this. We as humans are always going through trauma in our every-day lives. Some of us are survivors of sexual assault, car accidents, and interpersonal family issues. Others are battling mental illness and addiction on a daily basis. When an event happens like the one we all experienced this past week, it can exacerbate the trauma in our lives, put our own lives into perspective and makes us challenge our own sense of safety.
Last week, like the rest of the country, I was glued to what was happening through Facebook Twitter and on TV. In those 5 days we saw what happened, the amazing individuals who helped the victims and waited to find out who did this to our city, country and humanity. I remember 9/11; I was 11 years old and in the 6th grade. When you’re that young, you don’t believe the world has bad people in it. We hear about terrorists all the time, but we never believe it will happen to us and our community. It puts things into perspective when something so close happens to you.
I was out with my mom one day last week when I bluntly said to her, “why would anyone want to bring kids into this crazy world, it seems to be getting worse and worse!” I think of all the things parents have to shield their children from on a daily basis; its part of my job working with children to contain that information. My mom answered me with, “you have to look at the people who ran to help the victims.” Seeing and remembering the great acts of humanity on a day of disaster are important because it’s too easy to remember the awful parts.
After the police caught the second suspect, people all over the world were excited. A daylong man-hunt was over and a sense of peace set in. The next day I woke up and was overwhelmed by what happened over the course of the week. Everything settled in at once. During a crisis it can be hard to understand everything that is going on, because you are constantly bombarded with images and information. I felt a sense of danger, I knew the second suspect was caught – but being so close to my home, I didn’t know if anything else was going to happen.
It is important to practice self-care in your everyday life, but even more important when tragedy and trauma effect your life. I find it helpful to shut the news off, stay off social media and go out with a friend or family member who you can talk to. I also found distraction useful; anything from reading a book, working out, watching a movie or going for a drive can take your mind off what is going on. When we practice self-care we are better able to take care of ourselves and the world around us.