It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a disaster. Everyone reacts differently, and your feelings will change over time. Resist the temptation to make yourself wrong for your stress. Notice and accept how you feel and know that your emotions are temporary. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react accordingly to protect yourself and your family. Self-care will help both your coping and your long-term recovery. People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue with their treatment plans during this time and monitor for any new symptoms.
Steps to cope with a distress:
- Take care of your Healthy Body– Eat healthy regular well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- Connect with others– Share your concerns and how you are feeling with friends or family. Maintain healthy relationships. Use technology and build a strong support system.
- Take breaks–Remind yourself that your feelings will change. Take a few moments to notice your breath and considering the social restrictions, make time to do activities you enjoy.
- Stay informed–Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from reputable government resources. Be aware of general media distortions.
- Limit media exposure– Set a time limit for yourself. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible.
- Seek help when needed– If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, reach your medical doctor and/or contact a reputable counselling source.
Common signs of distress:
- Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
- Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels.
- Difficulty concentrating and/or agitation.
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, Healthy Body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
- Worsening of chronic health problems.
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
**If you experience these feelings or behaviors for several days in a row and are unable to carry out normal responsibilities because of them, please seek professional help.