After The Hurricane – Living With Hurricane Fatigue

Damage from the 1950 hurricane

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Hurricane Fatigue – it’s not something which you’d have ever heard about a few years ago, but as more and more people live their daily lives emerging from some of the worst hurricane disasters in living memory, the new term “hurricane fatigue” has evolved. Hurricane fatigue can affect anybody who lives in the areas which are hit most frequently by hurricanes . . . those who are constantly on the look-out for the next big hurricane hell bent on uprooting their lives. The people who suffer from hurricane fatigue can be described as quiet, numb, tired, weary, robotic – they have a feeling of helplessness against the sheer force of nature.

Hurricane fatigue can be extremely dangerous, with sufferers perhaps deciding not to bother evacuating their homes before a dangerous storm hits once more, or perhaps not even bothering to board up their homes and make sure that they have a plentiful supply of food and fresh water. Yes, victims of hurricane fatigue are exactly that – victims – but you don’t have to go quietly, here’s what you can do to make sure that you’re not the next victim of hurricane fatigue.

  • Turn the TV over – okay, there’s a hurricane coming, but once you’ve got all of the facts and found out what the authorities advise you to do, turn over and watch something entertaining. It really doesn’t help to dwell on these things when there’s nothing new about to happen.
  • Help others – the best way to help yourself is often to help others. Do whatever you can to suit your abilities and situation – help get food to evacuees, load up water onto trucks, answer telephone hotlines . . . everybody can do something to help.
  • Stay healthy – it’s no good focussing your efforts on things which you cannot change or do anything about, so you may as well focus on the things which you can do – take good care of yourself, your food, your drink, take plenty of exercise and get lots of rest.
  • Connect with others – isolation is extremely unhealthy, especially in an emergency or stressful situation, so make the effort to get out of your house if at all possible and meet with other people.
  • Be positive – write down and learn a few positive statements which you can recite when the going gets tough, it’s easy to fall into the trap of negative thoughts but negative thoughts are really not going to help your situation at all. Try repeating things like – “I can only do my best”, “It’s okay, I’ve survived tough times in the past”, “It’ll all work out in the end”, “If I can’t change the situation then I’ll just have to make the best of it”. Think up a few more personal ones, it really can help.

Hurricane fatigue is becoming a very real problem, but with a good attitude and some positive steps you can not only help to protect yourself against this latest outbreak, but also those around you.

Hurricane Related Stress – The Signs

Everybody who lives through a hurricane suffers from the related stress – period. Everyone goes through the same types of emotions – feeling anxious, insecure, worried for family and loved ones, grief, sadness, anger etc. etc. One very important thing to remember during a hurricane situation is to accept help, it’s healthy to accept help, nobody can manage to deal with such a stressful times on their own. Accepting help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.

Being prepared before a hurricane strikes (and knowing that you are) can help to alleviate the stress to some extent, but even so, watch out for the following signs of hurricane related stress.

  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Difficulty in communicating your thoughts
  • Difficulty in maintaining the balance of their lives
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Low frustration threshold
  • Poor work performance
  • Limited attention span
  • Displaying cold and flu like symptoms
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate
  • Reluctant to leave the home
  • Increased stomach problems
  • More frequent and intense headaches
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Sadness and depression
  • Fear of crowds
  • Fear of strangers
  • Fear of being alone
  • Mood swings
  • Easy bouts of crying

Sound like you? Of course, many of these signs can be attributed to many different things, but just remember, hurricane stress is a very real problem, and one that has to be dealt with by thousands of victims each and every year.

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