It’s on the television, all over the internet and social media, the blizzard, it’s coming.
Anticipating the arrival of a blizzard, major snow storm or any severe storm strikes fear and anxiety in the people in its path for a good reason. Natural disasters are known to disrupt people’s lives in significant ways. Even in the best of circumstances, they disrupt our regular routines and in the worst of conditions, cause stress, anxiety or destruction. They can cause physical and mental health problems and major economic challenges. And the never-ending news about a storm’s arrival may increase your anxiety, stress, and fear.
Below are four tips to help you take care of your own mental health, as well as your family’s before and after a storm.
It is natural to feel scared, anxious, and concerned. A first step can be to recognize your emotions and try these tips to alleviate your anxiety.
- Create a plan — Having a well-prepared plan for your family can help reduce anxiety and chaos before, during, and afterward. This can include anything from making sure you have gas in your car, to having supplies for clearing snow, having activities to do when stuck inside or how to handle possible power outages.
- Be informed — Try to stay up-to-date on weather information and warnings. Weather tends to change and timing can change dramatically. If you are aware of the latest information, you may gain a sense of control over the situation
- Talk it out — Let other adults in your family know your concerns. Try to share with others who can help provide support such as adult family members or friends, not children
- Accept what you can’t control — Keep in mind that nobody can control the path of a storm or its damage. The media can only report what they are being told and often these predictions change. Be as prepared as possible and stay safe. Excessive worrying that one may hit you will not change anything except your emotional well-being
How to Maintain Your Mental Health Before, During and After the Storm
Make connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. You may find that you may need to rely on electronic forms of communication to stay in touch with your loved ones. Connecting with others also preparing for the arrival of a hurricane may be an additional source of support.
Stay healthy. A healthy lifestyle — including proper diet, exercise and rest — is your best defense against any threat. A healthy body can have a positive impact on your thoughts and emotions, enabling you to make better decisions and better deal with the hurricane’s uncertainties.
Reach out to your children. Help children by restricting constant viewing of the news, giving them realistic assurances that plans are in place to keep them safe and maintaining their routines as much as possible.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. Remember that the federal government, your state government and many nongovernmental disaster services agencies are tracking and preparing for the hurricane. Draw upon skills that have helped you successfully manage past challenges to help you through the current storm.