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After a Disaster – Tips for Dealing with Stress

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After a Disaster: Tips for Dealing With Stress

Things to Remember

  • No one who sees a disaster is untouched by it.
  • It is normal to feel anxious about your family’s safety.
  • Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event.
  • Acknowledging our feelings helps us recover.
  • Focusing on our strengths and abilities will help us to heal.
  • Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy.
  • We each have different needs and different ways of coping.
  • It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain, but nothing good is accomplished by hateful language or actions.

Signs That Someone Needs Stress­Management Assistance

  • Difficulty communicating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty maintaining balance
  • Easily frustrated
  • Increased use of drugs/alcohol
  • Limited attention span
  • Poor work performance
  • Headaches/stomach problems
  • Tunnel vision/muffled hearing
  • Colds or flu­like symptoms
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Reluctance to leave home
  • Depression, sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Mood swings
  • Crying easily
  • Overwhelming guilt and self­-doubt
  • Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone

Ways to Ease Stress

  • Talk with someone about your feeling even though it may be difficult to do so.
  • Don’t hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you cannot help directly in the rescue work.
  • Take steps to promote your physical and emotional healing by staying active in your daily life patterns or by adjusting them appropriately. A healthy outlook will help you and your family.
  • Maintain a normal daily routine and limit demands on yourself and your family.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Participate in memorials and rituals to express feelings.
  • Use existing supports groups of family, friends, and religious institutions.
  • Establish a family emergency plan. It can be very comforting to know what you can do in case of future emergencies.
  • If self-­help strategies are not helping or you find that you are using drugs/alcohol in order to cope, you are may wish to seek outside or professional assistance in dealing with your stress.

Adapted from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

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