Living through a hurricane can cause immeasurable stress for you and your family. While some losses are apparent like physical injury or property damage, the invisible wounds often go unnoticed. But the fact is that the mental and spiritual effects of surviving a hurricane linger long after the skies clear and can surface in the form of anxiety and stress. Here are some tips to protect your physical and emotional health after the storm.
Physical Dangers Are Everywhere
Recovering from a hurricane can be physically taxing. It can also be extremely dangerous. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe as you ease back into your lives:
Don’t Use Wet Electrical Devices
The danger of electrical shock is everywhere. If a device is wet and still plugged in, shut off the power to the house and remove it.
Use Flashlights Instead of Candles
There could be flammable gasses in your home, so don’t use any open flames. A flashlight is always your best bet.
Be Careful Near Damaged Properties
Because of high winds, hurricanes can cause massive structural damage that isn’t immediately obvious. Steer clear of damaged buildings and homes until a professional has deemed them safe.
Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide
Gas or coal-burning tools and equipment can create carbon monoxide. So, don’t use any of these things inside your home. If you’re using a portable backup generator, never place it inside or in a garage. It should be outside at least 15 feet from your home.
Floodwaters are unpredictable, and carry germs with the potential for disease. Steer clear whenever possible, and if you are exposed, be sure to take the recommended measures.
Steer Clear of Power Lines
Power lines and water are a deadly combination, so report and stay away from downed power lines.
Be Aware of Animals and Insects
Use mosquito repellant and stay away from stray animals.
Reduce Emotional Stressors
Anyone who lives through a natural disaster is affected in some way. Even first responders and medical personnel experience stress and anxiety after a hurricane, so it’s only natural your friends and family would, too. While most symptoms are temporary and work themselves out, it’s important to be aware that, for some, the effects of surviving a storm of great magnitude can last for months afterward.
Know the Signs of Adult Post-Storm Stress
Common signs of emotional distress in adults surviving a dangerous storm such as a hurricane can include:
- Crying spells or fits of rage
- Emotional detachment from people and things
- Excessive sleeping
- Fatigue or insomnia
- Fear that every storm will become a natural disaster
- Frequent yelling or fighting
- Guilt for no reason
- Headaches or constant stomach aches
- Helplessness or hopelessness
- Overwhelming worry
- Repeated thoughts or nightmares about the storm
If you’re having any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical help.
Recognize Signs of Emotional Stressors in Children
Surviving a dangerous storm can be even more traumatic for children, and adjusting to life afterward may be especially difficult. Know the warning signs that your child may show.
- Becoming aggressive and disruptive
- Competing for attention
- Feeling withdrawn
- Having trouble concentrating
- Losing interest in schoolwork or even favorite activities
- Refusing to leave home
- Resisting authority
It Takes Time to Heal Your Body, Mind and Spirit
We believe that living your best life means feeling whole. And that means nurturing your physical, mental and spiritual health. Even if you feel whole before a dangerous storm strikes, experiencing a hurricane firsthand can shake you.
The best thing you can do for yourself, or for a loved one in crisis, is to be patient. True healing takes time. Accept the emotions and reactions that follow a natural disaster, and take every day as it comes. It’s perfectly normal to need time to feel safe and secure again.
If you need professional emotional support, we’re here to help you.