Stress Survival Guide when Affected by Natural Disaster
A natural disaster is a natural event that causes a great deal of damage. When an occurrence like this affects your life, it can bring various emotions such as; anxiety, anger and stress. Survivors might need a guide to recognize common reactions to the disaster and learn how to cope with them. There are three steps to dealing with stress: understand, recognize and cope.
Understanding the Events:
- A disaster affects everyone. Someone watching the news can be affected in one way and someone who is directly experiencing it can be affected another way.
- It is normal to feel anxious.
- High levels of sadness, grief and anger during this time is also normal.
- Do not ignore your feelings as it helps you recover.
- It is important to focus your strengths to help you heal.
- Accepting help from programs and resources is healthy.
- Everyone is diverse, so coping might be different between individuals.
- Disbelief and shock.
- Fear and anxiety about the future.
- Disorientation; difficulty making decisions or concentrating.
- Apathy and emotional numbness.
- Nightmares and thoughts about the event.
- Irritability and anger.
- Sadness and depression.
- Feeling powerless.
- Changes in eating patterns; loss of appetite or overeating.
- Crying for “no apparent reason”.
- Headaches, back pains and stomach problems.
- Difficulty sleeping or falling asleep.
Ways to Cope:
- Talk about it. Talking about it helps relieve stress and allows you to let out emotions that you have bottled in. You never know, the person you might be talking to may be feeling the same way and you are helping them in the process.
- Spend time with friends and family. They are the best people to reach out to in a time of need. You always know that they are one phone call away.
- Take care of yourself. During this stressful time, it is important not to let it affect your health. Limit the use of caffeine as it is known to add more stress.
- Minimize exposure to images of the disaster. Avoid the news or reading about the disaster. It will only make you think more about the event and cause additional stress.
- Find time for activities you enjoy. Focus on activities that are positive and make you happy. It will give you the opportunity to keep your mind busy and stray from thoughts about the disaster.
- Take one thing at a time. Taking multiple tasks on at once can be overwhelming. Pick one major task first and work through it. Once you complete it, focus on another one.
- Do something positive. Many people in the community need help, so take time to get involved to help others around you. Some things you can do are making care packages or volunteering in rebuilding efforts.
- Ask for help when you need it. If your feeling stressed, sad or angry to the point where you can’t function, it is important you reach out to someone who can help. Talk to someone you trust, a relative, doctor, or spiritual advisor.