1. Whenever we are faced with a sudden crisis and we break out of our routine for survival purposes we are going to soon feel exhausted. Some people feel supercharged at first, but sooner or later we all get tired. This is normal. Doing chores under stress, often without proper heat or lighting and worrying about our homes, livelihoods, etc. is not only using up more calories than normal but exhausting us physically and mentally.
2. We are only human. It is normal to feel a huge range of emotions when faced with sudden hardship. Some of us may cry. Others may feel angry. Others just get sad or withdrawn. Some people are sharp-tongued. Others may appear to have lost their capacity for sensible thought processes. For example, some people deny the extent of the actual problems, while others may exaggerate the crisis and truly believe it is much worse than it is. We need to have patience and tolerance for each other during these days and also try to help each other gain realistic perspective.
3. During a crisis we need to put first things first. We need shelter and food and warmth and if necessary, medical attention. All the frills can wait until we are save and have the basics again.
Ok, keeping the above facts in mind here are some suggestions to handle your stress reactions as we work our way through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy:
1. Accept the fact that you may feel exhausted. Get whatever rest you can. You deserve it! Also, keep in your life whatever helps you feel good. For example, if you enjoy music, listen to music whenever you can. If you love to tell or hear jokes, keep the jokes circulating. Unearth the old jokes and tell them again if you have to. If you feel better when you are with loved ones or good friends stay in touch however you can, be it texting, phone, computer, potluck supper, etc.
2. Accept the fact that you are human. Your emotions may not please you right now. Crying is ok, in fact it is normal, so is a bad mood or feeling low. The important thing is that you try to move on anyway. Cleaning out a flooded basement is bound to interfere with almost anyone’s good mood. Sometimes we just do what we have to do. But realizing that moods past and accomplishing what we need to do usually lifts our mood helps.
3. Accept the fact that we have to put first things first in a crisis. This may not be the time to get to the beauty parlor. In fact, most women I have talked to since Hurricane Sandy are amazed that they haven’t even looked in the mirror. This is normal. As animals in nature preserve their energies, right now we are doing so also. Without even realizing it we will let go of chores and priorities that we think are so important when conditions are normal. Don’t worry, you will have enough energy when the time is right to get your hair done or get back to the gym.
I hope these insights into human nature helps you in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.