Natural disasters such as the blizzard of 2013 can cause enormous amount of stress. The effects of the blizzard can affect your livelihood, home environment, and your relationships. Additionally, the blizzard can cause feelings of helplessness, lack of control, and frustration.
Take the time to recognize your feelings (and help your family members recognize their feelings) and take the steps to address those feelings. You may feel anger at the lack of control you have over the situation, you may feel fear of it happening again, and may even feel shame and guilt about your feelings. Other emotions or reactions may include the inability to accept what has happened and the possible consequences of the crisis. There are no right or wrong to feelings and no given time frame for such emotions. Stress is individualized. Each of us reacts to stress in different ways.
The consequence of stress and the heightened emotions can cause both physical and mental symptoms. Typical physical responses include inability to sleep, lack of or too much of an appetite, stomachs, cold sweats, pounding or racing heart, rapid breathing, and shaking. Additionally, you or your family members may feel irritable and become sensitive to light or noise.
There are some steps you and your family can take to help address the stress of the blizzard. A very important first step is to request help from your family, friends, and others. Asking for help is a strategic tool that not only gets you and your family help, but also provides an avenue for your family take back some control.
Another very important strategy is to reinstate as many routines as possible. Routines can give your family a sense of normalcy and also provide a sense of control.
Finally, take the time to focus on what is positive and good in your life. Give yourself and your family permission to have fun, laugh, and even enjoy life! Spending time with your family, friends, church, and community can help remind you and your family that you are not alone and there is hope.