What do you do when you are facing an emergency situation? How do you handle unexpected events? Are you prepared for an emergency?
When we think of emergency situations, we know that we need to prepare in multiple ways. We usually have a first aid kit in our house and in our car. The kit includes standard items, such as band-aids, antiseptic cream, cleaning wipes and alcohol pads. We assess injuries and medical conditions to determine whether the first aid kit is adequate or if we need medical help. If we need additional help, we call the doctor or go straight to the closest emergency room. Medical personnel have a protocol that they follow to determine the source of the problem so that they can offer an appropriate solution.
We know what kind of natural disasters are possible where we live so we follow guidelines for emergency preparedness. Our kids have fire drills, tornado drills and earthquake drills on a regular basis at school. If there is an increased chance of a natural disaster in our area, the local news stations give us regular updates and make suggestions on how to handle the situation.
But what do you do when you face an emotional or mental crisis? Are you prepared for a sudden onset of stress and anxiety? Do you have a plan for these situations?
We can’t anticipate the specifics of what type of crisis or emergency we may face, but we certainly can take some steps toward knowing how we might handle this type of crisis. We can create a different type of first aid kit–what I call a "Self Care First Aid Plan” (get your customizable plan here.)
When we are under stress, our “fight or flight” response kicks in and we aren’t as rational and logical as we normally would be. It helps to have a written plan for how we will handle a stressful situation. We need to have easy access to tools that are proven to work–the equivalent of band-aids and antiseptic cream. We need to keep the list in our home, car and office in case of emergency. When we face an emotional crisis, we need to have some idea of what protocol to follow. It helps to have the step by step instructions so that we don’t forget a step when we are under stress.
So what’s in your first aid kit? Do you have one? Do you know what works to help you get out of crisis mode and back to a state of equilibrium? As a mental health professional, I have always known that self care is important. Self care often fits into the category of “easier said than done.” It’s easy to think that taking care of my needs beyond the basics of survival should come naturally. Do you expect others to handle an emergency without a first aid kit and without getting medical attention? No. Then let’s also give ourselves permission to recognize when we need a different kind of first aid kit.
What tools and supplies do you need to keep in your emergency self care kit? Do you know what protocol is effective at helping someone to relax and calm down after a stressful event? Do you have instructions for that protocol? I have compiled several effective tools into a Self Care First Aid Plan that you can download here and keep in your home, in your car and at your desk at work. You can try the different tools for different situations to see which one works best for you. And if you know of a self care tool that works really well for you, then you can add it to your plan.
Download your Self Care First Aid Plan, customize it and use it to help you through the next emergency situation that you face.