How To Take Care Of Yourself
Limit your news consumption. The constant replay of news stories about a disaster or traumatic event can increase stress and anxiety. Try to reduce the amount of news you watch, read or listen to, and engage in relaxing activities instead.
Practice self-care. After a disaster, it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself. Try to regularly engage in relaxing activities. These can be as simple as taking a walk, stretching, and deep breathing.
Try to get enough sleep. Some people might experience difficulty sleeping after a disaster. If you have trouble falling asleep, try limiting your use of electronics in bed and avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol an hour before.
Establish new routines. After a disaster, there will be lots of changes. By working to establish new routines, you’ll help keep your mind off of the disaster and can focus on self-care.
Make a safety plan. Have a step-by-step plan ready for if/when you feel depressed, suicidal, or in crisis, so you can start at step one and continue through the steps until you feel safe. Having a template on hand with an established plan may be helpful, or you can get help and guidance at https://www.mysafetyplan.org/.
How To Help
Know the facts. Roughly 40% of people may experience emotional distress 6 months to a year after a disaster and will need ongoing support services.
Lend an ear or a hand. If someone you know has been affected by a disaster, check-in with them regularly. Ask them how they’re feeling and truly listen. Offer to help them with day-to-day tasks like laundry or food shopping so they don’t have to worry about it.
Get them help and take care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to get your loved one the help they might need. The Lifeline is always here to talk or chat, both for crisis intervention and to support those concerned about others. You can also call the Disaster Distress Helpline for disaster-specific resources and advice.