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5 tips for emotionally coping with hurricane season

5 tips for emotionally coping with hurricane season

September 27, 2019 at 12:00pm

Anxiety often goes hand-in-hand with hurricane season, and we're at the peak of the season.

If you live in Florida long enough, you are likely to experience a tropical storm or hurricane. You may have to prepare for a threatening storm that ultimately goes elsewhere, such as Dorian did. Either scenario can be stressful.

“We often struggle emotionally just thinking about the possibility of having to endure a storm,” says
Dr. Carissa Caban-Aleman, a board-certified psychiatrist at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. She is also director of Behavioral Health Services at the FIU Student Health Center.

Here are some of Dr. Caban-Aleman’s tips to help you emotionally cope with hurricane season:

1. It’s okay to have emotions.
Recognizing and accepting emotions is crucial through any crisis and the first step to address unpleasant or uncomfortable experiences. Acknowledging reactions of sadness, anxiety, numbness, anger, fear or confusion can be very helpful.

2. Discuss your feelings.
If it makes you feel better, talk to your friends and family about what you are feeling, but do not feel pressured to share with others if you don’t feel like it. Remember, there is no one “normal” way to react in a crisis or disaster.

3. You are not alone.
Acknowledge the importance of family members, peers, neighbors and friends in helping to prepare, endure the storm and reestablish normalcy after it.

4. Preparation is key.
Self-efficacy is important in these moments. Empower yourself to resolve your own needs. This means creating a hurricane preparedness plan and heeding storm warnings. Planning and knowing where you can find help and services can help you feel more optimistic or hopeful.

5. Turn worries into action.
Actively address your concerns. If you are worried about the negative consequences of a storm, try to convert those concerns into actions that can help you be as prepared as possible. Address issues you can do something about while recognizing your limits and accepting that some things are beyond our control.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs for June 1 to Nov. 30. Although the peak of the season is from August to October, hurricanes can occur anytime during the season. It is important that we all learn to cope with it.