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A crisis is a sudden, life-disrupting event that shatters your world and leaves you feeling shaken to your core.

They come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from personal life upheavals like job loss or a serious illness to events that affect the entire planet—such as economic downturns or natural disasters.

Once a crisis flares up, our survival instincts kick in, flooding our bodies with a raging river of stress hormones. While this fight-or-flight response can help us respond to actual dangers, it can also interfere with our ability to think rationally when we need it the most.

This might mean that instead of confronting the crisis head-on, we ignore it, hoping it will go away. When we fail to take action, the situation usually gets worse—adding even more stress to our lives. 

Here are a few techniques to help you keep your wits about you when a crisis hits.

Keep Your Wits

Assess the Situation

Once the initial panic subsides, take a moment to assess the situation as clearly as possible. Ask yourself: What exactly has happened? Focus on the facts. What are the immediate risks or dangers? Are any basic needs compromised (safety, shelter, food)? What resources are available right now?

Deep Breathing

Once it’s safe to do so, focus on taking slow, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system—helping to counteract stress.

Grounding Exercises

When your mind feels overwhelmed, your senses can bring you back to the present moment. Take a few slow, deep breaths and try this simple grounding exercise: notice five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

Seek Information

In a crisis, information is power. However, be discerning about your sources. Seek out official government channels, reputable news organizations, or trusted community resources. Social media can be rife with rumors and misinformation, which is why it’s essential to stick to verified sources. Because constant news updates can fuel anxiety,  check in at designated times, then turn your media source off.

The Importance of Self-Care 

Because a crisis can take a significant toll on your mental and emotional well-being, it’s crucial to not underestimate the importance of self-care—both during the challenging situation and afterward. The National Institute of Mental Health also suggests self-care after a crisis, especially if you have previous mental health conditions.

Don’t think of it as a luxury. Instead, make it a non-negotiable part of your life. Start with the basics: get plenty of restful sleep, eat nutritious foods, and start an exercise regimen.

But don’t stop there. Set aside time each day for acts of self-kindness that heal your spirit, such as a luxurious bath infused with soothing scents, listening to your favorite music, or immersing yourself in the blissful serenity of the natural world.   

Take time each day to tune in to how you’re feeling.  Are your thoughts racing, or is your mind calm?  Do you feel a tightness in your chest, a flutter in your stomach, or a sense of ease in your body?  

This simple act of mindful awareness is like creating an “early warning system” for stress. By catching signs of overwhelm early, you can take steps to manage it before it spirals out of control. The National Institute of Mental Health also suggests 

Mindfulness practices like meditation, guided visualization, or focused breathing can help you remain calm during stressful times. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, or gentle stretching are also effective.

One of the best ways to maintain inner peace is by being careful of what you allow into your space. This means limiting exposure to things that fuel anxiety, like the predominantly negative news cycle or people who drain your energy. 

Sometimes, the psychological fallout of a crisis is too much to bear alone—no matter how much self-care you do.  When this happens, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a qualified therapist or counselor.  

Remember: asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness–it shows that you’re 100% committed to your wellbeing. And if you’re not, who else will be? 


Crises are an inevitable part of life. While we can’t always control what happens, we can choose how we respond. 

This is where we come in. At Rest from Stress, Our guided meditations, stress-reducing techniques, and other resources are designed to help you cultivate calm and inner peace—no matter how challenging your life gets. 

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