While most people who are likely to bear the brunt of Hurricane Sandy have already bought all of their bottled water and batteries, you can’t purchase peace of mind at Walmart (well, maybe you can, I haven’t checked lately).
So what can you do to prepare yourself for Hurricane Sandy from an emotional and psychological standpoint? How can you ensure you keep your calm and wits about you — especially if others are depending on you?
Here are some tips from our past combined articles on coping (mostly) emotionally and psychologically with a hurricane.
These selections come from our article last year about 5 tips to stay calm in a hurricane, as well as our 9 tips for coping with a hurricane. You can click on those links if you want more details (or more tips!) than what we’ve included below.
1. Be prepared.
Hopefully you’ve got this covered already, but if you don’t, find a friend or family member who does. Or get thee to a store before it’s too late. Being prepared for your physical needs helps put most fears related to your physical well-bring to rest. Most people feel uncomfortable and anxious being caught with their pants down.
2. Know and review the family plan.
Got a family? Get a plan. Here’s what the U.S. government recommends for family preparedness for a hurricane. Remember that you can’t count on being able to notify other family members living close by if the power is out (although mobile phones may sometimes work, see below), so let others know that even if they don’t hear from you that they shouldn’t worry.
3. Take comfort in U.S.’s stringent building codes.
A lot of people worry about how their house, apartment or condo will fare in the worst weather. The good news is that because of our country’s stringent building codes, most dwellings are built to withstand the strongest tropical storms, Nor’easters, and, yes, even hurricanes (especially if you live on the coast). While there’s no doubt they can still cause massive amounts of damage, most homes inland will come through the storm intact.
4. Accept the forces of nature and that storms are temporary events.
There’s little point in getting angry or upset over the natural order of things. Nature will always do what it pleases. It can be rough to weather big storms like Hurricane Sandy, no question. But hurricanes and other natural events are a part of what makes our planet so rich, diverse, and ultimately, interesting.
Lucky for us, all storms pass in just a few hours’ time. Hunker down and engage in whatever stress-relief exercises that work for you, whether it’s reading, spending time with your kids, doing crosswords, Sudoku or puzzles, or surfing the Internet (if you have power; you should plan on being without power for a few hours, at the very least).
5. Take a news break.
Information overload is an issue in many people’s lives, and no more so than when there’s a weather event. The news media works itself into a frenzy, because that’s what they get paid to do. Take a break from the constant updates and focus on a project or hobby that takes you out of the news cycle.
6. Keep in touch with loved ones, if you can.
If power allows, try and keep in touch with your friends and family. Staying connected with them during an event like this can help ease the stress and anxiety of the hurricane. It can also be a shared experience that you talk about for years to come. Sometimes a mobile phone will work even when power is out in your house, so please make sure your smartphones are charged ahead of time.
Good luck getting through Hurricane Sandy — it’s never easy riding out a storm like this, as the build-up to the storm makes us all anxious. We hope you and your loved ones make it safe and sound through to the other side.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Oct 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2012). Preparing for Hurricane Sandy Emotionally, Psychologically. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/10/29/preparing-for-hurricane-sandy-emotionally-psychologically/