4 self-help strategies to handle emotional stress after an accident

Car accidents can cause serious physical injury, but they can also leave the driver and passengers with mental and/or emotional injuries that may not be as apparent. Mental and emotional injuries can lurk under the surface for months or even years until treatment.

If you’ve gone through a traumatic experience, you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger. Or you may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Recognizing you are suffering emotional trauma is key to helping

What exactly is emotional trauma? Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.

In order to stay grounded after a trauma, it helps to have a structured schedule to follow.

1. Stick to a daily routine, with regular times for waking, sleeping, eating, working, and exercise. Make sure to schedule time for relaxing and social activities, too.

2. Break large jobs into smaller, manageable tasks. Take pleasure from the accomplishment of achieving something, even it’s a small thing.

3. Find activities that make you feel better and keep your mind occupied (reading, taking a class, cooking, playing with your kids or pets), so you’re not dedicating all your energy and attention to focusing on the traumatic experience.

4. Get plenty of sleep. After a traumatic experience, worry or fear may disturb your sleep patterns. A lack of sleep can make your trauma symptoms worse and make it harder to maintain your emotional balance. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day and aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night

Always seek a professional for medical questions.

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