Strategies for Dealing With Trauma After a Natural Disaster
Natural disasters can be physically and emotionally devastating. They destroy homes, businesses, schools, and communities, and leave people feeling helpless and scared.
The psychological effects these disasters have on individuals can be massive. If you have experienced a natural disaster, it is important to know you’re not alone and there are many things you can do to cope with the trauma.
If you are currently dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster, many organizations can provide nutritional, financial, and housing assistance.
Getting your home and food situation taken care of will be the first thing you want to do immediately after a disaster. The community shelters, organizations, and non-profits that help with emergency assistance can also provide mental health resources.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It is normal to feel a wide range of emotions after a natural disaster strikes. You may be overwhelmed by sadness, anger, shock, anger, fear, or gratitude.
No matter what you are feeling, it is important to let them out. Bottling up emotions leads to mental health conditions that are hard to manage.
As your emotions come up, allow yourself to feel them, and you will notice that the emotions will begin to have less control over you.
Practice Self Care
Self-care will be a big part of dealing with your trauma. After a natural disaster, your mind might be more fragile than normal, and just like a broken bone, it needs to be nurtured back to health.
Self-care can be anything from riding your bike to going to dinner. Some common and quick self-care acts include taking a hot bath, listening to music, and taking a walk. As long as you spend some time doing things you enjoy, it is considered self-care.
Stay in Touch With Loved Ones
Staying in touch with loved ones is important for your mental health and your own.
When you are feeling low, reach out for support from those you love. If they too have experienced the disaster, they may also need some comfort.
Natural disasters can leave victims feeling as if they are facing the world all alone. A simple phone call can help you feel less lonely and give you the boost you need to keep going when times are tough.
See a Therapist
Therapy is one of the most beneficial tools you can use when dealing with trauma.
In therapy, you learn how to process your trauma and emotions and are taught how to use healthy coping skills. Exercise, relaxation techniques, and talking or writing about your emotions are examples of coping skills that can be used to de-escalate negative thought patterns.
Therapy won’t solve all of your problems but it will teach you how to appropriately respond to them.
Go to a Support Group
Support groups are another beneficial tool you can use to process your emotions, feel less alone, and deal with your trauma.
If you can find a local support group, there will likely be many individuals fighting the same battles as you since the natural disaster probably affected the entire community. If there are no local groups, consider joining virtual support groups on Facebook, Reddit, or another open forum platform.
Remember to Take Things One Day at a Time
Don’t take on too many tasks too soon.
When you take on too much at once, you become overwhelmed, stressed, and possibly depressed.
Allow yourself time to adjust to your new life, and remember that if you have a bad day, tomorrow is a fresh start.
Natural disasters can destroy a person’s home, security, and way of life in a matter of minutes. Those few minutes can cause trauma responses to occur for the rest of a person’s life.
If you were the victim of a natural disaster you can deal with the trauma and find peace in many ways. Attending therapy can help you process your emotions and find healthy coping skills. Support groups and staying connected to loved ones can help you feel less alone. And practicing self-care allows your mind the opportunity to relax and feel good.
Remember, if you are dealing with trauma, you are not alone. Take it one day at a time, seek support and assistance, and don’t be afraid to feel your emotions.