Earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions. Typhoons and floods.
Disasters come and go—but can leave a lasting impact on people’s lives. They either inspire people to be resilient and prepare for the next calamities, or they cause stress and anxiety to those who are severely affected.
If you recently experienced a natural disaster, perhaps you would agree that it can take a heavy toll on people’s physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health.
So, how do you cope when disasters strike?
Here are 6 things you can do to help yourself and your family overcome catastrophic events:
Tip #1: Take care of yourself
It may be hard to prioritize self-care during a disaster, but taking care of yourself is an important part of recovery. A healthy mind and body will help you think clearly and respond effectively to the urgent needs of your family.
So, make sure you continue with your normal routines such as eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. Doctors at Verywell Mind agrees and emphasized that practicing self-care will help you cope better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Tip #2: Limit sources of stress
Isn’t it too tempting to watch the breaking news, to scroll down your newsfeed, and to know every update about an ongoing disaster?
Watching the news can help you stay informed, but too much of it can also bring feelings of hopelessness and stress. One of the most helpful steps you can take following a disaster is to limit your exposure to news.
This could mean lessening your exposure to visual pictures of the recent events and doing other activities that can bring you joy.
Tip #3: Talk about your feelings and experience
Voicing out your feelings to your family and friends on how this event has affected you can help alleviate stress.
Experts from Psychology Today back this up, sharing that simply talking about your problems and negative feelings can reduce physical or emotional distress and strengthen immune system.
So don’t hesitate to reach out. Encourage one another and build each other up! (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Tip #4: Seek professional help
Are you extremely disturbed about the recent disasters?
Not wanting everyone to know that you’re struggling is understandable. But if you feel that the stress is too much to bear, here’s something to comfort you: You don’t have to go through everything alone.
God wants you to seek help from others and trust that they can support you. Jesus could’ve done all the miracles during His time here on earth, yet He chose to empower His disciples to help and heal others (Matthew 10:1). In the same way, God can empower doctors and mental health professionals to help you go through this very challenging season.
Tip #5: Find ways to help others
You might be thinking, “Why would I help others, I just experienced a disaster!”
It might seem counterintuitive to help others while you are trying to recover from a disaster—yet studies from the Clinical Psychological Science Journal show that helping others can reduce your worries, uncertainties, and stress.
Alleviating other people’s suffering can give you a sense of purpose, a motivation that even amid hardships, you can make a positive impact on the lives of your kababayans. If you have the resources, you can partner with Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines and lend a helping hand to those who are also severely affected by disasters.
Tip #6: Pray for your family and community
One of the best ways to rise above this disastrous event is to look out for each other, pray for one another, and lean on God as your source of hope and strength.
Matthew 18:20 NIV says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”
In times like this, coming together in prayer and promoting peace encourage people not to stay in a place of despair. It is an opportunity to know God more and reassure yourself and others that He is your comfort in times of trouble.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 NIV)
Are you affected by the recent disasters?
Do you feel overwhelmed or stressed?