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8 Tips to Take Care of Yourself After a Tragedy

These eight self-care tips will help you through a tragedy

As all of you probably know, 11 members of Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill Jewish community were senselessly killed by a white supremacist this past Saturday, October 27. A few days before, yet another white supremacist fatally shot two black Americans at a Kentucky grocery store.

With all these domestic terrorist attacks happening around the country, it’s important that we still take care of ourselves and continue to live for the people who can’t anymore.

Below are eight things you can do to take care of yourself in light of this past weekend’s tragedy. Do them all or just a few to help get you through these tough times.

  1. Spend time with your friends and family.

Take some time out of your day to spend time with your friends and family. Talk about the recent atrocities and make sure to check in on each other’s feelings and well-being.

  1. Try out a new recipe.

We’ve all been there, clipping recipes out of the newspaper, printing Pinterest favorites and tacking them onto our refrigerators, staring at them longingly and not doing much about it. Try to collect the ingredients for a new recipe, test it out and share your creation with your loved ones.

If there’s anything that can unite Jewish people in times of tragedy, it’s food.

  1. Go to a vigil or your synagogue’s services.

Being around other people who are also grieving is, no doubt, soothing for the soul. If you’ve heard of a vigil or march happening in your community, go to it. If there’s no vigil or it’s already passed, go to your shul’s next service. There, you can say a Mi Shebeirach for people who are fighting for their lives or still grieving a loved one, and you can also lend your support through a silent Amidah prayer or through the Shemah.

Find a vigil or memorial service near you here.

  1. Write down your thoughts.

When I’m feeling upset or worried, writing down my thoughts helps me process my feelings and get on with the day. Whether you write your thoughts through a public Facebook post or in your private journal, it’s important to reflect on how you’re feeling so you can help make change in yourself, in your family and in your community around you.

  1. Make a soothing cup of tea and read.

Tea is one of the purest forms of comfort that our world offers. Go pick out your favorite kind and make yourself a good portion of it in your favorite mug. Curl up on your couch with a book or newspaper and your mug of tea beside you and remind yourself that it’s okay to take care of yourself.

  1. Take a day off work and do whatever you want or need to do.

Have a store you’ve been wanting to visit but you’ve been too busy? Perhaps you’ve been wanting to get a haircut or a pedicure, but have been putting it off? Is a bubble bath calling your name? Maybe you just want to stay in your pajamas all day and spend time with your dog. Take a personal day off work and get to some of the things you’ve been wanting to do for a while now.

Your mental and physical health is worth it.

  1. Volunteer.

In light of a tragedy, helping your community can help make you feel better, too. Volunteering to sort food at a food bank like Yad Ezra or seeing what your local synagogue or Hillel house is offering can be a great way to use up some of your anxious energy. Being around people and helping for the greater good is a perfect way to improve society and take care of yourself.

  1. Vote.

Want to see change in your community and feel like you’re making a difference? Make a plan to head to the polls next Tuesday, November 6th, to contribute your vote in the 2018 midterm elections.

Stefani Chudnow

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