So, let’s talk about the most recent development...the hurricane(s). In our southern culture we joke about hurricane parties, which is a thing, but I noticed we don’t talk too much about our worries related to hurricanes. Which, don’t get me wrong, I think there is something therapeutic when making light of a situation and making jokes, however, I think it’s just as important to acknowledge the stress/anxieties/worries when it comes to them.
Here are some tips to manage your mental health during this time:
Have a checklist to follow of things to do to prep for the storm. The more we prepare, the better we feel.
Look at your schedule ahead of time and try to reschedule your important appointments. Because many people are doing the same, it wouldn’t hurt to be a step ahead of the game.
Check in with ourself when you first start to notice that panic feeling. Focus on something and take a few big deep breaths. This will help center you.
Keep yourself informed and up-to-date on the storm. As we know, this changes hourly. However, be careful on how much you do this. I remember for Hurricane Isaac I kept the tv on the weather channel during the entire storm. Coincidently (but not really), that was the storm where I had the most anxiety. Those two things are directly correlated.
Express your feelings.
Confide in someone if you are getting scared/worried. They might be able to help ease some of your worries. If you feel more comfortable, journal about your feelings.
Make a list of things you can do that doesn’t involve electricity. When we are in the moment, and power is out, our mind goes blank on things we can do to keep us occupied. Boredom is real and that snack stash gets smaller and smaller by the minute.
Take a step back.
When big events like this happen, especially with Mother Nature, it tends to remind us we are all part of a bigger picture. It also reminds us what is truly important in life. Which makes me wonder...why do we wait for catastrophic things to happen for us to reflect? Since we are here, write down your thoughts on this and what’s really important to you. Once the dust settles, you can have that to look back on as a reminder when we let our everyday life stressors get the best of us.
(Click here to get some tips and other journaling topic ideas).
Help others if you are able and willing. Reaching out also means asking for help when we need it. This can be emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually, etc.
Remember we are all in this together. Not feeling alone is a thought we sometimes take for granted.
It is important to note that we don’t want to stay in these worries and dwell on them, making our anxiety intensify, but we do want to acknowledge them and just be self-aware. Look at it as we are practicing mindfulness. We can always use more tools (aka skills) for our tool box, right?!
Year 2020 has been a roller coaster, to say the least. I commend us for rolling with the punches! Let's give ourselves some credit for keep on, keepin' on.