Keeping your head above water in tough times

- The recent floods, loss of homes, cars, and personal possessions has left many in the community feeling overwhelmed with fear and hopelessness. Bodies being recovered days later compiled with stories of financial stress and people taking their own lives as well as their families make every day a struggle. It’s important that as soon as possible you begin controlling those things you can control which are your commitment to your family and their well-being as well as your own during times of crisis.

“Buckle down the hatches.” The first thing you need to create is security with those you love most. Make sure your kids are safe as well as anyone within your care.

Keep structure and predictability as much as you can. With the cancelation of schools, businesses and normal work schedules, everyone is home and that creates a sense of chaos. Stick to your routine. Have dinner together (even if it’s at a restaurant), read to your children before bedtime, and use this time to be more kind to each other. Studies show structure and predictability help build resilience in children.

Manage your stress. Stress affects your attitude making you less tolerant of noise and unpredictability, so quiet it down and control your words. Give hugs instead of criticism. Kids become stressed and act out, but they’ll respond better to affection than yelling.

Accept help from others. It’s difficult to admit and accept help from others, but it’s also a sign of strength to be vulnerable and admit you’re having a tough time. Sharing with others helps strengthen your immune system as well as your coping skills. If you have a mental illness and no longer have your medications, call your doctor immediately. Mental health is as important as physical health when surviving a crisis.

Take time to grieve; it is not a sign of weakness to admit to feeling overwhelmed and sad. Kids learn how to cope with sad feelings and talking about them. When parents are open to their feelings of loss and sadness, kids learn it is okay to be honest about how they feel even if they aren’t good feelings. It’s healing and helpful.

Take your medications. If you have a physical or mental illness and no longer have your medications call your doctor immediately. Many of the deaths following a crisis could be prevented if health was as prioritized as coping with loss.

The latest storms in Texas happened at a precarious time because April is a time when suicide attempts are higher. Whether it’s financial related, weather related, or relationship conflict, it’s important that you deal with your depression. Losing a car, home, and possessions are replaceable; you are not. 

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