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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