As we watch the masses prepare for the projected devastation of Hurricane Irma, we are able to view a glimmer of a region-based social shift to “survival mode.” Floridians and other coastal dwellers of southeastern United States understand the dangers of the storm and are acting fast. An extra level of panic seems to set as images and video of the Caribbean debut on the news.
How to Calm Anxiety: Before the Hurricane
(1) Preparation: To Evacuate or Take Cover?
Everyone knows that they should prepare for a Hurricane BUT when you are someone who deals with anxiety this means more than to get the canned food, fill up your car with gasoline and stock up on bottled water. However, be sure to get out and get these supplies and more if you haven’t.
What to Do: The more prepared you are, the more you are reducing the potential of setting off stressors during the Hurricane. You should feel that you have everything you need when entering and during the storm.
Additionally, at this time, Jet Blue is offering $99 flights out of Florida. Currently, flying out until Sunday (9/10/17)– according to their website. Completely exiting the danger zone may be best for some persons suffering with anxiety who feel they could need medical attention during such a storm. * Medical attention is unavailable at times like these.
(2) Identify your “Hurricane” Triggers
To become emotionally prepared, you must take a moment and identify which of your TRIGGERS are being set off. Is it a general series of Hurricane “what if’s?” Do you fear the possibility of losing electricity, the impacts of flooding, becoming trapped, access to special medical needs, wildlife in unexpected places, losing your home, financial loss from not being able to work, etc.
What to Do: Write out the items that worry you, and then write out how you are preparing for each. If you are not preparing a solution for a trigger, then do so.
(3) Erase the Sound bytes
Prepare your mind by de-cluttering the chaos. You’ve surely seen or heard at least 50 alarming Hurricane Irma sound bytes by now. It is irrelevant how they came to be on constant rotation in your mind. They are there and you need to get them out.
What to Do: Limit your access to opinions. This could mean to only watch weather outlets that offer facts such as location status update and strength, i.e. “The Weather Channel”. Avoid coverage that is heavily laced with newscaster opinions. Then create your own positive sound byte to use as a mantra throughout this time.
(4) Mantra’s for the Storm, Examples:
- I am prepared, the town is prepared and we can handle the challenge.
- I am in charge of how I feel and I choose to feel grateful. I am grateful that we have storm tracking systems. I am grateful we have access to supplies. I am grateful that the world is watching and everyone is already working to help my family, my community and myself through this time.
- This is a test. I have prepared. I can pass it.
- I am strong. I have been given the opportunity to become stronger. I am succeeding.
(5) Round up some “Hurricane Irma” Activities
During the Hurricane, it will be easy to focus on the storm. However, that is not going to help control anxiety. Prepare activities for yourself and your family to partake it. Make sure you have basic board games and a deck of cards. Aim for games that take more concentration, this can shift your focus.
You could also do some arts and crafts that are simple but warmly demand attention. They can distract the mind enough to calm down. Grab a stack of old magazines (and newspapers) and some paper and make a THEMED collage. This is great for kids and adults. Keep themes light and fun. This can be a great was to not just create positive thoughts but visualize them.
(6) Help Others
Once you are done with all your preparations, settle your soul by helping others. When you help others you feel good about your efforts. Plus, you are able to feel some control over a situation. This feeling can help many who suffer with anxiety. The feeling set off by helping others in a situation that you are struggling with can be an internal resolve… which makes sense because “the answer is always LOVE.”
Our Life, Inc. was created as a resource to assist persons suffering with mental stress and anxiety. Our Life engages the general public through community-minded experience events, which range from educationally infused festivals to workshops and conferences.
Our Life launched in 2017. They will hold their First Annual Autumn Festival on Sunday October 8, 2017 at Kelly Park (East 14 Street and Avenue S) in Brooklyn, New York