Managing Storm Stress

Jul 06, 2024 - In the News, Mental Health & Wellness


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Summer signals the start of Hurricane Season every year, and the activity usually peaks between mid-August and October. For those living along the Texas Gulf Coast (and even as far as 150 miles inland), hurricanes and tropical storms can threaten safety and disrupt life in various ways.

Some people love a good storm, host hurricane parties, and like to tell stories about the hurricanes they’ve survived. For others, approaching storms trigger anxiety that can range from stressful to unmanageable. Regardless of which group you’re in (and you can be in both), we all need good strategies for navigating stress in ways that work well for us as individuals.

If you don’t have a tried-and-true plan for navigating the stress of a storm bearing down on the coast, here are eight suggestions to help you find what works for you.

Limit Media Exposure: Know what is happening, but don't watch too much news. Staying informed is good, but watching storm coverage all day can make you more worried. Check for updates a few times a day, then do other things.

Storm Stess

Practice Deep Breathing and Meditation: Stop and take slow, deep breaths when you feel scared. Count to four as you breathe in, hold for four, then breathe out for four. This helps your body relax. You can also try free meditation apps to guide you.

Move Your Body: Exercise is excellent for reducing stress. Dance to your favorite songs, do jumping jacks, or play active video games. Moving your body can help you feel better.

Maintain a Normal Routine: Try to stick to your usual routine as much as possible. This helps you feel more in control when things are uncertain.

Stay Connected: Call, text, or video chat with friends and family. Sharing your feelings can make you feel less alone and more supported. And, talk about things other than the storm, too.

Focus on What You Can Control: You cannot control the storm, but you can control how you prepare. Make a plan, gather supplies, and help your family get ready. Taking action will help you feel more confident.

Be Kind to Yourself: Tell yourself encouraging things like, "I can handle this" or "I'm prepared and safe." You can say these things silently or out loud. Positive self-talk really helps! It may feel awkward initially, but prioritize your mental well-being and do not be afraid to do what works best for you.

Distract Yourself With Fun: Read books, play games, do puzzles, start a craft project, exercise, dance, or even have your own hurricane party. Keeping your mind busy with fun activities can help you worry less.

Remember, feeling anxious in situations you cannot control (like a hurricane or tropical storm) is normal. But, you can help yourself navigate stress and anxiety so you can weather the storm with confidence.

If you are struggling to manage your anxiety during severe weather events or for any reason, therapists with The Counseling Centers at PCHAS can help. We offer Virtual Therapy sessions for Texas residents. Request an Appointment Online or call 833-208-3201.

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