Terror struck Toronto last night when a gunman opened fire leaving three dead and several more injured. A lot of people tend to draw lines back to where they were that night and if they had ever been in the area. I personally used to live in Toronto and although I didn’t live in the area of the shooting, it’s scary to see things happen so close to home. I’m not going to be talking about the details of the shooting or really the specific Toronto shooting at all in this blog post. Instead, I want to open the floor to coping strategies and safety plans for people suffering from the aftermath. *I am in no way a counsellor if you want to learn more about my story click here*
Look in Your Coping Box
My number one tip for anyone struggling with mental health issues is to have a coping box. This is a coping skill that I have used since I was fourteen-years-old and is still useful in my twenties. Pack your coping box with things that are meaningful to you and take a look through the box to start off your self-care routine. What are you drawn to? Do you want to self-soothe with a bubble bath? Power up with a healthy meal? Hug a family member or friend for comfort? Maybe you want to nap or go on a walk. Whatever it is, that’s ok. Whatever feels right, is right for you.
Take a Step Away from Social Media
Another top tip I want to point out is that if you are struggling with the event, take a step away from social media for a while. I know that people tend to think it is selfish to “ignore” life, but if you are struggling with the reality of the situation, it’s totally ok for you to take a step back. A lot of the time social media is biased, and with all of the politics going on in our daily lives it can get both aggressive and inconsiderate. Stay out of the comments section on any video you may watch and honour the trigger warnings and viewer discretions.
Zero Out Stigma
I want to put away one giant piece of stigma before starting this blog post, which is the fact that people feel ashamed, judged, and overdramatic when it comes to taking care of themselves when something happened to someone else. In the times we live in today, a lot of terror strikes and we need to be compassionate towards each other, whether we were involved or not. Telling someone that they shouldn’t be scared because it didn’t happen to them is like telling someone who is crying to make a joke, it’s both rude and ignorant. The times we are in today we need to respect each other and take care of both ourselves and others. If we start to bow down to the terror, we give it power. There is no shame in taking care of yourself after a tragedy has hit.
Don’t ignore the situation, cope with it.
Again, you may not want to completely ignore the tragedy if it is happening near you because your safety could be at risk or it could affect you in some way. It’s best to read articles rather than watch mini videos or the news because it allows you to decide if you want to keep reading or if you need a break. A lot of the time people get pulled in with video and feel as if they have to finish. It’s easy to go on to Facebook and watch the trending situation with all of its videos and comments but I suggest taking a step back from Facebook, at least for right now.
Quick Coping Suggestions…
Stay safe, and take care.