June 1 to November 30 marks the Atlantic Hurricane Season, a period familiar to everyone living in the Caribbean. In many cases, hurricanes bring howling winds, pouring rains, floods, landslides and other physical devastations. But beyond the damage we can see, hurricanes, like other uncertain phenomena, bring emotional and mental distress for many of us. So, how can we manage our anxieties before, during and after the storms? Here are five key ways to weather the storm mentally:
We’re all familiar with the saying, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, so a big part of remaining calm is having what you need. Before the storms come, arrange to have evacuation plans and meetings with your family, including your children. Follow the direction coming from the authorities and be quick about getting what you’ll need. Here are some hurricane preparedness tips to keep in mind for the season. Also, click below to get a free hurricane checklist to ensure you have all the necessities. When you’re physically prepared, then you’re better able to maintain your cool despite the tempestuous storm outside.
It’s crucial that you keep up to date with the progress of the hurricane and instructions from the local authorities. However, too much information can increase your anxiety or even stir worry that was not originally there. Be careful about overconsumption, especially through social media. Limit your news intake to once or twice a day, and only use reputable sources.
If you’re feeling antsy, then say something. Right now, the world is experiencing a number of challenges and a turbulent storm coming your way can easily make you feel hopeless and alone. Now is the time to share how you feel. Speak to a trusted friend, family member, counsellor or medical professional about the emotions you’re experiencing. It’s okay to not feel okay, but remaining silent will only make matters worse.
Be open and honest, especially with your children. Kids are resilient, but they will feed off your energy. You’d be surprised how much better you feel when you have interchanges of encouragement with your young ones. And, if you’re a faith-based person, then don’t forget the power that can have in helping you to remain at ease.
Mindfulness. That word is tossed around more now than ever as people seek to address mental health issues and manage anxiety. Here’s your chance to tap into your own mindfulness by establishing practices before the storms come. Be careful of the words you say and the thoughts you entertain. Rather, think positively and look to the future with hope. Before, during and after the storm, try to maintain your regular routine of eating, sleeping and exercising properly. These will help you to keep your mind at ease. Of course, meditation, prayer, guided imagery and other practices can likewise help you during the season. But, if all else fails, be sure to visit a medical professional for a more comprehensive aid.
Don’t underestimate the power of getting up and getting active. Before the storm, you can volunteer to help your neighbour chop down trees or batten up their home and afterwards you can volunteer at a shelter or evacuation centre in your community. During the storm, you can play games with your family or try new projects that don’t require electricity or excessive water usage. You can even start new traditions, like wearing a particular pair of socks, that way every time you see those socks you’ll remember how you made it through the last storm. When you keep your body and mind active, you help to reduce anxiety and build hope for survival.
No one wants to face a hurricane head-on, but if your head is in the right place, then you can make it through with joy and hope. This hurricane season, be sure to care for your mental health too.