In times of tragedy, it’s crucial for us to come together as a community, offer support, and take care of our emotional well-being. The recent acts of violence in Lewiston, Maine, have undoubtedly left our hearts heavy. In these challenging moments, it’s essential to prioritize our mental health, especially when it comes to talking to our children about acts of violence. Here are some comforting and reassuring tips for taking care of yourself and discussing this event with your kids.
Taking Care of Yourself
- Connect with Others: Lean on your support system, whether it’s family, friends, or community organizations. Sharing your feelings with others can provide solace and create a sense of unity.
- Seek Professional Help: If you find it challenging to cope, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional. They can help you process your emotions and develop strategies to manage stress.
- Practice Self-Care: Make time for self-care activities that bring you comfort and relaxation, such as meditation, deep breathing, or taking a long walk. These small moments of self-compassion can go a long way in reducing stress.
- Limit Media Exposure: While staying informed is essential, excessive exposure to distressing news can increase anxiety. Set boundaries for your media consumption, and choose trusted sources for information.
- Engage in Acts of Kindness: Channel your feelings of helplessness into acts of kindness within the community. Volunteering or helping others can be incredibly rewarding and healing.
Talking to Your Children
- Create a Safe Space: Encourage your children to ask questions and express their feelings. Let them know that it’s okay to feel scared, sad, or confused.
- Use Age-Appropriate Language: Tailor your explanations to your child’s age and level of understanding. Be honest but avoid overwhelming them with graphic details.
- Emphasize Safety: Reassure your children that they are safe, and that there are many people working to keep our community secure.
- Monitor Their Media Exposure: Shield your children from excessive media coverage, and be aware of what they might be exposed to online or through social media.
- Encourage Empathy and Compassion: Use this opportunity to teach your children about empathy, kindness, and the importance of supporting one another in times of need.
- Maintain Routine: Keeping a consistent daily routine can provide a sense of security for children, helping them regain a feeling of normalcy.
- Maine Crisis Hotline: 1-888-568-1112
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 988
- Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988
- Spurwink can be reached at 1-888-889-3903
- Resources on talking with children about gun violence, from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Talking to Children about the Shooting (nctsn.org)
Remember, healing is a process, and we are here to support each other through it. Warm connections and the power of community can help us find solace and strength during challenging times.
We are here for one another, and together we will overcome adversity. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the recent events. Stay strong, stay connected, and take care of each other.