Hurricane Irma and How to Practice Stress Management during and after Disaster

zcsirkin News

As we pick up the pieces left scattered by Hurricane Irma last week, it’s important to take a moment to reflect. Even with all the damage, the slow return to normal feels like a collective sigh of relief, though the stress of the storm still lingers and collects in pools at our feet. How many of us were able to maintain a sense of calm when we were preparing our homes for the storm or stuck in traffic during evacuation? When things are peaceful, it’s easy to maintain the peace within. But during times of disaster—that’s when the world truly tests our resilience.

Try these six tips the next time you find yourself in a disaster:

Reclaim You Routine from Hurricane Irma

When things like Irma happen, the recovery effort brings with it challenges that we don’t normally have to face. Even small things, like fixing a broken window or calling the insurance company, can wear on us. As soon as possible, try to get back to life as normal.

Stay Connected

Going through something like a hurricane is difficult. Going through something like a hurricane alone is practically unfathomable. It’s not uncommon for some people going through stressful situations to withdraw from their family and friends. Don’t be one of them. Fight every urge you have to cut yourself off from society, even if you’re on a digital detox. If you have anxiety, send a text or an instant message to someone close to you. You might even find that others need you, which can help you cope with your own stress.

Share Your Story

Humans tell stories for many reasons, and one of them is to process and heal from trauma. Talk to friends or family about what you are going through. You can even process your experiences by recording them in a journal. Record your thoughts, your feelings, your fears—whatever you want to talk about, there is no safer way to do it.

Respect Others’ Coping Methods

It’s probably true that there are as many coping methods as there are people in the world. Just because you are willing to talk about your experiences doesn’t mean that others will be. Respect the wishes of others, but let them know that you are there if needed.

Tune Out

When things like Hurricane Irma happen, it’s hard not to see media coverage of it. With the way we are increasingly glued to our electronic devices, it’s now nearly impossible. Notice the word “nearly.” You’ll have to make a conscious effort to do so, but limiting your exposure news coverage of the aftermath will help you maintain low stress levels. Do whatever you have to do: unplug the TV; delete the social media apps from your phone; stop listening to the radio. As long as you are up to date on the safety precautions you need to take, you don’t need to listen to anything further.

Practice Mindful Meditation and Other Calming Techniques

Finally, when you find yourself having a stressful reaction to the barrage of overstimulation that comes with disasters like Hurricane Irma, take a moment to practice willful stress reduction techniques. Whether you use meditation, stress relief breathing (stay tuned for next month’s post), or another technique, it’s important to make time as often as you need to calm yourself intentionally.

If you want to learn more about how you can manage your stress in a variety of situations, don’t wait to get in touch. Is life coaching right for you?  Request a free coaching session.