Aerial view of old main on a misty morning in spring with the flatirons in the background.

Whatever you may be going through, it’s important to show yourself and others compassion as we all work to process the horrific events that took place at the Table Mesa King Soopers on Monday, Mar. 22. 

Here are a few things you can do to support yourself and your fellow Buffs through these challenging times. 

Supporting yourself

If you’re experiencing feelings of shock, grief, anger, stress or being overwhelmed, here are some ways to show yourself compassion now and in the coming weeks.

Set healthy boundaries with yourself and others

Boundaries play an important role in our lives, especially when we are feeling anxious or experiencing a crisis.

Setting boundaries with yourself may look like:

  • Limiting your consumption of news or social media
  • Turning off notifications when you feel overwhelmed or need to focus
  • Making time to engage in hobbies or focus on things that bring you joy

Setting boundaries with others may look like:

  • Allowing yourself to say no or walk away from situations that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe
  • Asking to change the topic of conversation away from current events or other topics that negatively impact your emotional health

    Don’t fight your feelings

    When we experience a crisis or feel overwhelmed, it can be difficult to process our feelings and emotions. Sometimes, we may want to shut down or “turn off” our feelings. However, it’s important to acknowledge that what you’re feeling is normal, and it’s okay to feel however you’re feeling.

    Journaling is a great way to explore and process your feelings. It can also help you work through your feelings and move forward in a healthy and productive way. If you’re new to journaling, try setting a timer for 2-5 minutes to write. If you don’t fill the whole time that’s okay. If you’re unsure what to write about, try one of these prompts to get you started:​

    • Write down all of the feelings that are coming up for you. Don’t try to moderate them or judge them, simply let them flow onto the paper.
    • Write a letter to a loved one. What would you want them to know?
    • What has helped me through this process? What hasn’t?
    • How can I make today better than yesterday?
    • What am I learning about myself through this process?
    • How can I stay connected with friends, family, loved ones and my community?

    Practice self-care

    Self-care is an important process for managing our mental health, though it may look different from person to person. Remember to set realistic goals and choose activities that you will enjoy and benefit from long-term. Even if you can’t commit a significant amount of time, a few minutes of self-care a day is better than none at all. If you aren’t sure where to begin, start with the basics:

    • Take a shower: Showering is one way to practice basic self-care, and it allows us uninterrupted privacy to cry, sing, dance or let our emotions flood out in peace.
    • Open your blinds: Opening your windows and blinds can help improve your mood and brighten up your space with sunshine and fresh air.
    • Wash your sheets: Sleeping in fresh sheets can help bring us peace and comfort.
    • Move your body: Physical activity, exercise and movement can help us process stress and move through our emotions.

    Health Promotion provides weekly programming and workshops to engage in self-care and stress management activities, learn about campus resources and build community.

    Talk with someone

    It’s okay to ask for help, even if it’s hard to do. Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) provides a number of services for students, including brief individual counseling, group therapy and e-Let’s Talk, a free service where you can meet with a counselor for a free confidential consultation through video chat. Additional campus resources are listed below.

    Supporting a friend

    It’s important to remember that people may respond differently, and that’s okay. If you notice a friend or fellow Buff is struggling, here are some things you can do.

    Start the conversation

    It can be hard to talk about our struggles, especially if it seems like others are doing okay. If you notice that someone may be going through a difficult time, reach out. Remember that we are all in this together, and everyone needs support sometimes.

    Remember that when someone shares that they’re struggling, it’s important to listen to them without judging them or offering advice. Sometimes the most helpful thing we can do is sit with them through the challenging moments. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know you’re there for them. This may sound like:

    • “It sounds like you’re struggling a lot with that.”
    • “How can I help?”
    • “I care about you, and I’m here for you.”
    • “That sounds like a scary experience, and I can see why you feel that way.”

    Normalize their feelings

    Normalize and validate their feelings. This doesn’t mean that you’re normalizing the bad thing that happened, but instead you’re affirming that their response to it is understandable. People respond to traumatic events differently. However someone is feeling or acting is normal. This may include laughing, crying, anger, numbness or other responses.

    Avoid judgment

    It can also be helpful to understand and recognize your own internal judgments and how they may affect your response in this situation. Having judgment about what someone could have done differently is normal, but it’s important not to verbalize that judgment, as it can cause shame and self-blame for the person. Feeling judged won’t change what happened, and it may keep someone from seeking additional support.

    Follow up

    If you talk with a friend about a traumatic experience, be sure to follow up with them or check in to see how they’re doing. It can be helpful to schedule a regular call with a family member or friend to check in on a consistent basis. Let each other know how you’re doing, what is going well and what you may need support with. It can be helpful to write down a list together of who you would reach out to if you were in a crisis or felt suicidal. By doing this, you can identify people for yourself and show them that you are someone they can reach out to.

    Here are a few examples of ways to check in with a friend or loved one:

    • “You are so important to me, and I love you. I am here for you.”
    • “I understand you may not be ready now, but I’m here for you if you want to talk.”
    • “I hope you’re doing okay. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to support you.”

    Campus resources

    Counseling and Psychiatric Services (for students)

    Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is here to support undergrad and graduate students who may be experiencing impacts from the recent events at King Soopers, Atlanta and other mental health concerns. Students can access crisis services by calling 303-492-2277 or visiting the CAPS Crisis Support page.

    CAPS is also providing drop-in services through e-Let’s Talk, which allows you to connect with a counselor virtually for free. Due to the current influx of appointment requests, CAPS is encouraging students to call or use e-Let’s Talk if you’re not able to schedule a screening appointment right away.

    Students can also build valuable skills related to stress management, mindfulness, distress tolerance, self-care, relationships and healthy living by signing up for one of CAPS’ free virtual workshops, which are available throughout the week. 

    Office of Victim Assistance (for students, staff and faculty)

    The Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) provides free, confidential counseling, advocacy, information and referrals for all CU community members, including undergrad and graduate students, staff and faculty. They specialize in addressing current and past life-disruptive events, including but not limited to, crime, trauma, gender-based violence, experiences of bias, harassment, discrimination, abuse and violence.

    For 24/7 support, same-day appointments and consultation services, please call 303-492-8855. OVA also provides free and confidential drop-in services virtually through their e-Ask an Advocate program.

    Collegiate Recovery Center (for students, staff and faculty)

    The Collegiate Recovery Center (CUCRC) offers free peer-to-peer support meetings and community for students, staff and faculty who are in recovery, interested in recovery or who are recovery allies. The CUCRC is here to provide a space for CU community members to connect, find support and process traumatic events in a healthy and productive way. 

    Don’t Ignore It (for students, staff and faculty)

    Don’t Ignore It provides resources for students, staff and faculty to explore your options and learn how to help a fellow Buff in need.

    Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (for faculty and staff)

    The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) provides free, confidential counseling services for CU Boulder faculty and staff through brief individual counseling, workshops and groups. They can also provide assistance to faculty and staff for personal and work-related concerns. 

    The Real Help Hotline (for faculty and staff)

    The Real Help Hotline provides access to professional counselors who can offer assistance finding local resources as well as immediate crisis counseling. This program is free, confidential and available to all employees 24/7 at 833-533-2428.

    View all traumatic event resources