Caring for Yourself After a Panic Episode
You’ve calmed yourself down, and the panic has subsided, but you are feeling emotionally drained. It's totally normal to feel this way. When you have a panic episode your body goes into fight or flight mode; cortisol levels increase and your thinking becomes focused on one thing, panic. I’ve been there, hundreds of times. It is important to take care of yourself after you experience a panic episode to re energize and center your emotions.
Ideas for caring for yourself post-panic:
Listen to your body:
After a panic attack, you may feel tired, sluggish and/or emotionally depleted. Take a nap or go to bed early. If you push your mind and body too much, you may become overwhelmed and risk having another panic attack.
Self-care is necessary for everyone, but extra important for us anxious people. Take time each and every day to check in with yourself by meditating, practicing yoga, going for a walk or connecting with a friend. Whatever self-care you are into doing it as long as it’s not destructive for your body or mind.
Call your therapist:
You may feel vulnerable after a panic episode and that’s okay. If you are not comfortable talking to a friend or family member about your panic episode, give your therapist a call. Most therapists welcome you calling them during a time of crisis or panic. Next time you have a therapy session ask your therapist if it would be okay if you called them after you have a panic attack. It's also important to remember therapists have lives too and may not answer, and this is a service that should never be abused. Even leaving them a message noting
“Hi, it's Amanda, and I just had a panic attack. I wanted to talk about it; maybe we can schedule an in-person session?”
Most likely your therapist will call you back to see how you are feeling and schedule a therapy session sooner than your next scheduled session to debrief and talk about coping skills.
What do you do after you have a panic episode? We would love to hear from you in the comments!