Tuesday Talks: 10 Ways to Cope with Tragedy


Over the last week, better yet, over the last several months, we’ve seen a lot of terrible and unjust things. It seems like a never-ending stream of bad news and dark days. Instead of ranting and continuing to wallow in the sadness I’ve felt, particularly as a young woman of color, I wanted to make a post about things you can do to cope with tragedy. All of the things listed might not work for everyone and I’m no psychiatrist, but these options have helped me so maybe they can be a start for others.

  1. Find comfort in friends and family

There’s nothing like spending time around your loved ones and sharing in laughter and memories of simpler times. It’s also typically a comfortable setting to talk about what you’re dealing with. Just this past weekend, I felt relieved and rejuvenated after attending several events where the focus was celebrations were birth, achievements, and just reconnecting with old friends.

2. Discover new things – music, art, hobby, etc.

Finding a new song to love, discovering an up and coming artist, or finding a new hobby can shift your focus.

3. Volunteer

Helping others can be healing. Seeing their smiles of gratitude and seeing how just a few hours of service can make a difference can be a powerful experience. Volunteer for causes that support the changes you want to see in our world. Through volunteering you can meet people from all walks of life and really get a different perspective.

4. Write a song, poetry, etc – express your emotions through music and words

As someone who loves to write, there’s nothing more therapeutic than turning my emotions into words. Many artists have turned heartbreak into art forms like songs. If it seems that people won’t listen to your message via typical avenues, try to express them as an art form. Don’t want to go that far? Keeping a journal is a great way to vent as well.

5. Watch your favorite movies

When I’m having a rough time my favorite movies are like a big fluffy blanket on a winter night. Word of advice, go for the more lighthearted favorites. If you’re already dealing with a lot of heavy emotions and The Notebook still makes you weep, don’t do that to yourself. My favorites that I can watch over and over include Love and Basketball, Pride and Prejudice, Legally Blonde, and Lord of the Rings.

6. Exercise

During dark times its sometimes hard to get out of be. Exercising, if done right, can actually give you energy while helping to exert pent-up emotions and pain. A lot of people only view exercise as a way to improve physical help but it also has benefits for your mental health as well. If you want to read more into it, check out this article from The Huffington Post.

7. Travel

Although it will be impossible to forget and it may feel like running away, being in a different environment can be helpful. A place to relax outside of your typical community and work area will help you clear your mind. Note, be careful in picking your destination. If you know one area of the country is especially tense, don’t book a week stay. If you know a certain country is dealing with political unrest or financial crisis, don’t pop in. That additional stress and atmosphere can put a damper on your trip.

8. Take a break from social media

In today’s digital age, social media is flooded with headline after headline and videos galore. With one click of a trending topic you can see millions of comments on current events. Take a break from it all by signing out for a bit. Whether that break is just a few hours a day or simply not scrolling down your timeline, do what you need to keep yourself sane. Some tips include turning of Auto Play so videos don’t automatically play when you scroll by.

For those that work in media and have to be online, try to filter the content you see. If you’re looking for news on a particular topic, set up alerts. If you have run your company’s social media, stick to posting on your own page and not your general feed.

9. Start setting up a plan of action

Sometimes we can stuck complaining about the wrongs of the world or criticizing so much that we don’t put in the effort to be the person to start facilitating a change. Start creating a plan on how you can use your strengths or position to make a difference. Are you singer? Write and produce a song. Are you a writer? Publish something. Are you in management at a business, firm, or organization? Start a conversation with other leaders and those above you about what your company can do and how to respond to things.

10. Be sure to eat and watch what goes into your body

When you’ve been through a lot and are emotional, your diet can be impacted. Sometimes you can lose your appetite completely. Be sure to take care of yourself and make sure you’re regularly eating. Don’t just throw junk food in your mouth either. Eat well-balanced meals. On a similar note, be careful with alcohol. As a depressant, alcohol can have a negative impact on your emotions and if abused can cause health problem. Being drunk might clear your mind of issues, but they’ll be there when you’re sober again.

Have any tips that I didn’t include on the list? Drop them in the comments. Have any great resources on how to deal with tragedy? Share them.

May the world find solutions to our current problems and may people act out of love and not let hate rule them.

Kira Elise


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