Community Connections: Preparing for crises
In the midst of a crisis, no matter how prepared or competent we thought we were, many of us discover the crisis we face has overwhelmed our resources and left us grasping for a way out. Instead of the clear plans we thought we had, we may face impossible questions and few answers.
At Selah, we understand that, by nature, crises are unexpected and threatening. We also know that, in any crisis, a person needs a safe place to get straight answers from people who care with enough time and support to work through the questions and formulate a healthy plan. Selah is that kind of place, because we intend that clients who are facing unintended pregnancies or questions about sexual health should not only survive the crisis, but also move through it to thrive.
We come alongside neighbors who are facing some of the craziest, loneliest, scariest times they can imagine. We invite them to pause, to breathe, to sit and to talk. We do this by offering community funded and confidential medical services, peer mentoring and educational opportunities to our neighbors, whether they feel unprepared to parent, want to make an adoption plan, or need help figuring out how to be in a healthy relationship.
We know human beings will face crises of all kinds. As we have invested time with clients who formulate their own plans to thrive despite crises that threatened their well being, we know the first steps need to be the same for anyone when a crisis looms:
• Breathe. When the brain recognizes that an event threatens your well being, it will begin to shut down in order to preserve essential functions. A key step in helping your brain maintain its thought processes is to take long, slow breaths. For five minutes, close your eyes, and intentionally breathe slowly and deeply. Repeat throughout the day, especially when you begin to feel more anxiety.
• Get fresh air and plenty of water. Taking a break to do something you enjoy and making sure you have enough nutrition will help you cope during an emergency.
• Give yourself time. While the fight or flight response is real, and some situations demand an instinctive, spontaneous reaction, the majority of situations will allow you enough time to be sure you have absorbed the information you need, lined up resources and carefully prepared the best plan. Don’t let yourself be rushed.
• Surround yourself with safe people. No matter the emergency, everyone you meet will have an opinion. Intentionally spend time with people who care about you and will positively invest in your outcomes.
• Explore your resources. Seek out someone with training and experience in the crisis you are facing, whether it’s a medical issue, a relational challenge or even a mechanical failure. Our community is filled with people who are not only prepared, but also compassionate and willing to help. And if your crisis is related to questions about pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, sexual health, prepared parenting or adoption plans, do not hesitate to walk through our doors. Our services are always free and confidential.
The crisis will come. Much of the risk will be deflected when you are already prepared with the calmness, intentionality and resources you will need. Just breathe.
Melinda Clark grew up in another country, married her best friend after college, has five children and one dog, loves good coffee and a good book and is fascinated by how similar and how different we are as human beings. She has served as Selah’s CEO for six years. Selah is committed to being a safe place to get straight answers about pregnancy, abortion, adoption, sexuality, and relationships, where every client is met with tangible resources in a compassionate environment.
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