When we go to work, we expect to be safe and free from danger.

So if the unexpected takes place, and we encounter violent or aggressive people, the result can be both physically painful and psychologically damaging.

We might feel unsafe, frustrated, lose sleep over the experience and even recount it repeatedly in our minds.

After an occupational violence incident, feeling anxious and worried is completely normal, says EML Mutual Benefits Partnership Manager Kirsty Smith.

“Fortunately for most people, feelings of upset, sleeplessness or restlessness will soon pass as our resilience skills and support networks are activated,” says Ms Smith.

Previously, structured debriefing was considered best practice immediately after an incident like this however this is no longer the case.

These days, victims are encouraged to heal in their own time, while acknowledge the enormity of the event.

“It’s important to acknowledge you have experienced a stressful event and that reacting with emotion is completely normal,” says Ms Smith.

“Allow yourself to feel rotten but remember that even though you might be facing a tough situation you can deal with it!”

Other ways to help recover from an aggressive encounter include:

  • Taking care of yourself by resting, exercising and by eating well-balanced meals at regular intervals
  • Reducing your intake of caffeine, sugary drinks and food and cigarettes. These foods will only make you feel more on edge.
  • Avoiding the use of alcohol and drugs to cope with the situation as they will ultimately lead to more problems in the long-term.
  • Taking time to relax by going for a walk, listening to music, breathing exercises, yoga or whatever relaxation techniques work for you
  • Spending time with your friends and family, feeling supported can improve your experience greatly.

But what should you do if you are still feeling negative after a month or so?

Ms Smith says if you’re not feeling better after some time it’s important to seek professional help.

“Make an appointment and visit your GP, call Lifeline or talk to your Employee Assistance Program provider (where applicable) or read the Phoenix Australia booklet Recovery after Trauma.”