How to Maintain Emotional Health in an Emergency
One of the most important aspects of emergency preparations is plans for your emotional health! Disasters and emergencies can have a large impact on your stress levels. This is especially true if you’ve experienced a disaster previously.
Here are some tips on how to take care of your emotional health during a disaster or emergency.
What you feel during a disaster
You may feel a wide variety of emotions during a stressful event. Try to remember in the moment, that these emotions are temporary. Try to be patient with yourself and your emotions and be helpful towards your family and neighbors.
These are all common responses in an emergency situation:
- Feeling physically weak and mentally tired. Many times, people feel tired, sad, numb, lonely or worried.
- Difficulty making decisions or focusing
- Frequently becoming frustrated. Also feeling frustrated more quickly.
- Experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
How to get your emotional health back on track
One of the best things you can do to get back on track is to establish a routine. The emergency will have disrupted your daily routine and getting back into that will help you emotionally. Remember that this might take some time.
Basic necessities. Try to find a place to evaluate your situations. Find a safe location to assess your physical needs.
Eat healthy. During times of high stress, you’ll want to make sure that you are eating well. You’ll feel better than if you eat junk food. That is why it’s so important to have a healthy balance to your food storage supply. Read our previous post on steps to choosing a food storage kit.
Adequate rest. Be sure to get enough sleep and rest for your needs. This might be hard when your routine has changed so rapidly. However, rest will help you overcome your stress.
Be patient and loving. While many people are feeling frustrated, they can get moody. Be sure to be patient with others and yourself. However, this doesn’t mean that you can just go off by yourself. Staying connected, talking, with others can help you cope and feel support. Feeling others care and love is an important part of emotional health.
Make plans. During an emergency, you’ll find difficulty staying focused. For this reason, it’s important to gather information and set priorities on what you need to do. Have something to write down your list so that you can remember what you need to do. It’s also helpful to keep your family and friends involved with your plans so they can remind you what you need to do.
If depression continues
Most people will feel better after a few days. However, there are some that can’t seem to overcome their emotional stress. If you find yourself or others experiencing these symptoms, two weeks or more after an event, consider reaching out for additional help.
- Bursts of anger
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Emotional outbursts
- Headaches and stomachaches
- Feelings of guilt, helplessness or hopelessness
- Avoiding the presence of loved ones
What do you think? What plans have you made to take care of your emotional health during a disaster? We’d love to hear from you. Please share your tips below!Updated April 25, 2012