Stress, worry, and fear are common responses during and after a disaster or public health emergency like Hurricane Harvey. It is important to pay attention to how you and your family members react and address the situation. Talking to children about a crisis can be difficult, but it is very important to help them cope. Follow these tips to help yourself and your loved ones manage the aftermath of an emergency.
Self-Care during an Emergency
It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a disaster. Everyone will react differently and your own feelings will change throughout. Be cognizant; notice and accept how you feel. Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family during an emergency. Self-care during an emergency will help your long-term healing.
Look out for these common signs of distress:
· Feelings of shock, numbness, and disbelief
· Changes in energy and activity levels
· Difficulty concentrating
· Changes in appetite
· Sleeping problems
· Nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images
· Feeling anxious or fearful
· Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes
· Chronic health problems can get worse
· Changes in use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
· Anger or short-temper
If you experience these feelings or behaviors for several days in a row and are unable to carry out normal responsibilities because of them, seek professional help.
Take the following steps to manage your mental health after a disaster:
· Stay informed-When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or anxious. Watch the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis. Turn to reliable sources of information
· Take care of your body– Eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid drugs and alcohol.
· Take breaks– Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life and check for updates between breaks.
· Connect with others– Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships and build a strong support system.
· Seek help when needed– If distress is impacting activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor, doctor or contact:
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