The mass tragedy in Las Vegas has left us all reeling, particularly as it had a direct impact on our FAMily with the loss of Victor Link, an Alpine Mortgage Planning advisor in our Seal Beach, Calif., office. Being such a global destination with particularly easy access from Southern California, Utah and Arizona – not to mention taking place at an event similar to the ones many of us attend on a regular basis – it is hard not to dwell on the fact that this could have been any of us, at any time, in any place. The hardest pill of all to swallow? For any reason, as the motive is not yet known.
While we will continue to grieve with Victor’s family, our larger FAMily and the Las Vegas community, I want to remind each of you that it is also essential to take care of yourself in the face of such a senseless, destructive act. The randomness and unpredictability of this event only further enhances my belief that we must make every day count. We must find happiness in the here and now instead of waiting for life to fall into place, which it never doe – and we must tell our loved ones how we feel. The fact that life is so fleeting means we need to leave it all on the table. We should close our eyes at night feeling happy and fulfilled by the day we just experienced, and open our eyes to the opportunity to make this day even better than the last, filled with gratitude that we get another shot at this thing called life.
This mentality can be difficult to achieve when the normal stresses of everyday life enters our sphere. It can seem next to impossible when it feels like one tragedy is followed by another, as we’ve experienced lately with the hurricanes devastating Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, the anniversary of 9/11 and now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
HOPE IS ALWAYS PRESENT
There is hope, however – as well as a term for the feeling that results when it seems the hits just keep on coming. It’s called “grief fatigue,” according to Rev. Andrea Raynor, a grief counselor and chaplain who aided with the 9/11 tragedy. Grief fatigue can lead to denial, anxiety, shock, numbness and feelings of depression, which can be perfectly understandable at a time like this. They can also be managed through proper coping mechanisms that prevent these feelings from spiraling out of control.
One of the quickest and most effective ways to combat grief fatigue is to take a break from the 24/7 cycle of news coverage. The media will always have countless experts, theories, coverage angles, future predictions, survival tips and what-if scenarios that can suck viewers into unhealthy mindframes. Turning off coverage doesn’t mean you’re callous or uncaring, it simply means you’re taking control of your own well-being.
ADD SOME POSITIVITY
On the flipside, you can also pursue positive forms of media that provide inspiration, faith, hope and healing during this time. Reading inspirational blogs, enjoying funny memes on Facebook and following the journeys of well-known humanitarians on Instagram can be a great way to add positivity to your daily routine. Remember, too, that there are many stories of heroism surrounding these devastating events that can often be overlooked in the face of media-induced hysteria.
Physical activity is another proven way to combat negative feelings. A morning walk, game of racquetball with friends, sunset surf sessions, new yoga class or even kicking the soccer ball around with your kids can really get your blood and the mood-enhancing endorphins pumping. This can also be a healthy time to avoid or decrease alcohol and junk food consumption, as they perpetuate negative states within the body and mind.
MAKE CONNECTION A PRIORITY
Turning toward other peoples is extremely advisable during this time. Strengthen connections with family, friends, colleagues, mentors and other relationships you value. Whether you choose to talk about these tragedies and the effects they’re having on you or not, the simple act of reconnecting with those we feel strongly toward can provide a wealth of healthy benefits for you and for them. Always remember that there are many community members who have dedicated their lives to helping others during tough times, including priests, rabbis, chaplains, crisis counselors, crisis groups, therapists and life coaches.
I hope you will consider myself and our FAMily as a part of that network. Please don’t ever hesitate to come to me with anything you may be struggling with, and know that resources are available to you in the form of your local HR team and the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 775-784-8090. I will continue to keep the victims of all the recent events in my mind and in my heart as I determine what I can do now and in the future to honor these bright souls and maximize the gift I’ve been given of another day on this planet. I hope you’ll join me in these pursuits.