Licensed Psychologist

Managing Traumatic Stress: Dealing with the Hurricanes from Afar

Originally published by the American Psychological Association

Even if you were not directly affected by the hurricanes, you may be distressed from watching images of the destruction and worrying about people’s who lives have been turned upside down. This can be especially true if a relative or loved one was affected by the disaster.

APA offers the following suggestions for managing your hurricane-related distress:

  • Take a news break. Watching  endless replays of footage from the disasters can make your stress even greater. Although  you'll want to keep informed - especially  if you have loved ones affected by the disasters  -  take a break from watching  the news.
  • Acknowledge your feelings. Some feelings when witnessing a disaster may be difficult for you to accept. You may feel relief that the disaster  did not touch you, or you may feel guilt that you were left untouched  when so many were affected. Both feelings are common.
  • Keep things in perspective.  While the disaster can feel overwhelming, it is important to appreciate those things that continue  to be positive and a source of well-being and strength.
  • Find a productive way to help if you can. Many organizations are set up to provide  financial or other aid to victims of natural disasters. Contributing enables you to participate in the recovery and engage proactively.
  • Control what you can. There are routines in your life that you can continue and sometimes you need to do those and take a break from even thinking about the disasters.