Division of Student Affairs > Student Services > Counseling > Coping with Trauma

Coping with Trauma

Coping with Trauma

Suggestions on ways to care for yourself after a traumatic event or disaster:

  • Don't be isolated
  • Use natural support systems, friends, families & co-workers
  • Communicate your experience with those close to you or keep a diary.
  • Avoid telling stories in a repetitive way that may deepen the trauma.
  • Watch news in time-limited intervals and then turn the news off.
  • Focus on your personal resources, the things that make you feel calm, strong and grounded.
  • Don’t get preoccupied with the things you can’t control.
  • Do things that allow you to get your mind off the trauma: watch a movie, knit, garden, cook, play with children or a pet.
  • Eat well-balanced meals and get plenty of rest. If having difficulty sleeping, try some relaxation exercises before bedtime. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and drugs.
  • Establish or re-establish routines.
  • Avoid making major life decisions such as switching careers or jobs.
  • Volunteer to help by donating blood or send money to victims.
  • Get involved in groups, lead by trained professionals, that process the traumatic event.
What to expect after a traumatic event:
  • Emotional Reactions: shock, fear, denial, grief, anger, helplessness, hopelessness, feeling numb or empty, diminished ability to feel interest, pleasure and love

  • Physical Reactions: tension, fatigue, edginess, insomnia, bodily aches or pain, being startled easily, racing heartbeat, nausea, change of appetite, change in sex drive.

  • Cognitive Reactions: confusion, disorientation, worry, shortened attention span, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, recurring thoughts or nightmares, unwanted memories

  • Interpersonal Reactions: distrust, conflict, withdrawal, work problems, school problems, irritability, loss of intimacy, being over-controlling

Contact University Counseling & Psychological Services

Sexual & Relationship Violence Prevention Resources at DePaul

Every member of the DePaul University community has the right to safety from the threat of sexual and relationship violence. Grounded in our commitment to valuing the dignity of all people, DePaul fosters a culture of respect and safety by implementing best practices in education, prevention, and holistic support and care. DePaul does not tolerate sexual and relationship violence and addresses incidents swiftly and equitably.


Explore DePaul's SRVP Resrouces