Living on an island in the Caribbean has its perks: beautiful beaches, warm weather and sunny days; we’re called paradise for a reason! Yet our geographical disposition does have its cons. Hurricane season being one of them. It’s good to be prepared and safe during a hurricane, but it’s also good to keep your mental health in check. Hurricane season can be very stressful and filled with uncertainty, which could be the worst feelings to have. Here is some advice on how to stay calm and keep your mental health in check!
1. Do what you can with what you have
There is nothing more stressful than having your whole plan for the week vanish before you. If there are a lot of things you have to do for college, for your organization, or for your group of friends, I recommend you come to terms with the fact that things will now have to be rescheduled or changed. Re-evaluate what things you can do with what you have and where you are, then when things are back to normal, you will be prepared for all the accumulated plans. Use your time wisely and get your things in order.
2. Keep Informed (but not too informed!)
Hurricanes are a major natural force that cannot be controlled and are very difficult to predict. It’s important to keep up with the news so you know how strong the hurricane is and what to expect from it. If you keep informed, you’ll be prepared for any scenario. However, one must know when to stop. Smartphones are a great tool to stay in touch with loved ones and to be informed of what happens around you.
However, having constant information coming your way can be quite stressful. That’s why I recommend staying away from social media for a couple of hours a day; only use it when necessary. If too much news gives you stress or anxiety, I recommend that you only listen to official news bulletins and news that affect the area where you live, where you work, and where you study.
AVOID ADA MONZON’S LIVES ON FACEBOOK. Although she is a great meteorologist, her live videos may sound like Judgement Day is upon us.
3. Keep your mind busy
There will be periods during the hurricane where there will be no electric service, nor will there be cell-phone service, and being stuck in the same place for long stretches of time can be quite stressful, especially if the people around you aren’t collaborating. Therefore, I recommend finding activities that can keep your mind busy and not continuously thinking about the hurricane. For example: paint adult coloring books, read a book (using a flashlight of course), play card games and/or board games, practice an instrument, write, etc.
Once the Hurricane is on our island, there isn’t much to do. Know that there are things out of your control. What happens, happens. Worrying will not make it disappear, it will only drain you more, so I recommend taking naps or just going to sleep. That way when it’s all over, you will feel energized or slightly more rested to deal with what waits ahead.
5. Know when you need your space
People around you may have a difficult time handling their emotions during and in the aftermath of the hurricane. This may overwhelm you, especially if you’re not feeling so great.
It’s important to know when you have had enough. Step back and communicate to the people that are with you that you need time on your own. Go to a safe space where you can concentrate on yourself. This would avoid confrontations with those around you.
6. Gather up in community
Once the hurricane is over, it’s good to go out and see how your neighborhood has been affected. Checking up on your neighbors is a good idea. You might not even know your neighbors until this moment, but now is a good a time as any to gather around, to help each other out, and to share things the other lacks. Getting to know new people with different experiences helps to get out of one’s own head. This is also good because you take a break from those who have been with you the whole time.
P.S. Keep an eye out for those with a power generator! You might need to charge your phone later!
During Hurricane season always have an emergency plan ready in your household and prepare yourself to the best of your abilities. Sooner than you expect, things will be up and running. And if you feel you are in crisis and you don’t find yourself able to handle your anxiety during the season, you can always call the “Línea PAS” or “Primera Ayuda Sicosocial” at 1-800-981-0023, that will be there to answer your calls and offer advice on this situation. Stay safe, everyone.
Image Credit: Gifs from Giphy & Thumbnail from Autusalud