A lot of talk and exposure to a very unusual event in Ireland like #stormophelia can really create stress and anxiety for people. Because stress is accumulative, additional stress like this can tip you ‘off balance’. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why.
It is very normal to feel stress in such situations. It is the event that is unusual, not you.
Your stress or anxiety will be heightened if you are alone or if you are already dealing with some very difficult issues or if you have suffered with anxiety or depression in the past.
There are large elements of the unknown here and it is exactly that that is anxiety provoking. Not knowing what may happen and not being able to control what happens is a key aspect of anxiety and why you may feel rising levels of stress.
At this stage you have likely secured your home and heeded the warnings and advice. Stay home and only travel if absolutely necessary.
So what can you do to manage your anxiety.
Plan ahead, and have a contingency plan.
Stay busy, do jobs around the house
Reach out to friends and family if you are alone. Phone calls can be supportive too.
Stay informed but limit your exposure to TV and radio bulletins. Whats happening 2 people in Cork won’t change your situation in Dublin. Protect yourself from unnecessary personal accounts. They may upset you.
Focus on the positives- We have great emergency services who are fully prepared, skilled and kitted to help everyone.
Do not catastrophise or see the very worst in every situation.
If CHILDREN are scared and they can be
- Be calm and supportive. Tell children that the storm won’t hurt them but may cause damage to buildings and trees so we prepare and protect ourselves.
- Explain that storms are a normal part of nature.
- Talk about it in a matter of fact way. Some kids may seem afraid of storms, but they’re more often really interested in learning more about them, give them some facts.
- They will look to you for cues on what’s ok, and how to respond, so if you can cope, they can cope.
- Encourage children to face their fears by gradually helping them to learn they can handle a fear. here you are laying a good template for how to face other uncertainties of life on their own.
- If the anxiety doesn’t diminish, or if it begins to create greater stress for the child or the parent, get the assistance of a mental health professional.