With meteorologists warning that Hurricane Sandy could be the worst storm on record, it’s tough to view the descending storm without feeling somewhat stressed or anxious. Past memories of prolonged power outages, tree limbs smashing through roofs, and flooded basements have left many of my friends feeling a sense of dread.
I’m vacillating between panic to finish this blog post before I lose power and a sense of anticipation of the novelty of living through what could be a historic moment in time.
Many, like me, see both upsides and downsides of the storm: “Is Hurricane Sandy the mother of all scheduling nightmares or environmentally forced rest?” one of my Facebook friends posted. Sharon-based psychotherapist Karen Ruskin told me she’s spending the day playing with her son, doing a few phone sessions with clients, chatting with friends, and baking cookies.
She sounded practically giddy on the phone this morning even as she knew she’d probably be faced with fallen trees and no power.
“If we can be like children the way they often respond to this type of thing, that would help us,” said Ruskin. “My son’s day has been fabulous with no school and extra TV, but adults like structure and routine; we might feel overwhelmed that work will pile up or a fear of the unknown like how long we’ll be disconnected from our technologies.”
Besides savoring the unscheduled hours of family time—where we actually speak to each other instead of staring at our screens—coming up with a rational plan to deal with the situation can help ease stress.
“Taking action can help decrease worries,” Ruskin added. Many of us have already filled our cars with gas, stocked up on nonperishable food, and charged our electronic devices. We’re following news reports to track the storm. Some of us may be sleeping in the basement tonight for a little extra sense of security in the blowing winds.
One mom blogger wrote that she’s looking forward to using the storm as an opportunity to teach her kids about resilience to prepare children on how to handle the unexpected.
How are you managing stress during the storm? Do you have any strategies that have been calming or even invigorating?Deborah Kotz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.