Facing the consequences of a natural disaster can be immense. Depending on the nature and severity of the event, you might have lost your home, suffered injuries, or even lost loved ones.
Finding ways to cope with everything can be tough, but it’s important to handle things step by step. The time immediately after the disaster is often the most difficult, due to all the various challenges you’ll need to handle.
Here are some ways to cope if you need some help.
Handle the Practicalities
First of all, as difficult as it may be, it’s important to get the practical steps out of the way first, so that you can make space for processing, grieving and healing.
This includes things like documenting the disaster, contacting insurance companies, contacting a professional for disaster response services to restore your home, seeking medical attention for yourself or loved ones, etc.
Figure Out Your Next Steps
Once the bare bones of the work has been done, you’ll need to think about what steps you’ll take next.
If you have lost all your belongings and/or your home to a natural disaster, you’ll need to find somewhere to stay until it is restored or until you find new permanent lodging. You’ll also need to seek out clothing and food for the immediate future. If you have friends or family who can help you, lean on them. If not, look online for resources and reach out for help.
Avoid Media Coverage
Reading the news can be overwhelming, especially when it’s covering a tragedy you have lived through. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, it might be a good idea to avoid media coverage of the disaster, at least for a while.
Instead, try to consume content that might prove helpful for your mental health, or avoid social media and other forms of media entirely until you feel mentally stronger. Instead, spend time with people you love.
Find Somebody to Talk to
Avoiding the topic of conversation entirely isn’t always a good idea, though. If you’re struggling to process and cope with what has happened, you’ll need to find somebody to talk to about what you’re feeling.
It might be important for you to seek out a therapist to help you cope with your experience.
Try to Accept Changes
Whether you like it or not, living through a natural disaster will likely bring changes to your life, both short and long-term.
Resisting these changes is a natural response, but it’s important that you make an effort to make peace with the changes in your life and find ways to accept and eventually embrace them.
Find Your Coping Techniques
Finally, you’ll need to find coping techniques that work for you personally. Stress management is crucial after facing a traumatic event like a natural disaster.
However, things like meditation might not work for everyone. When you’re feeling anxious, try different tools, techniques and habits to determine what makes you feel good and what doesn’t help at all.