Stress Levels Also Rise with Flood Waters
Floods can disturb our everyday lives in many ways, including the water we drink, the homes we live in, as well as the stress we experience. Dickinson County Public Health reminds residents and visitors that it is normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed during a flood and to take healthy steps to cope with stressful events. Good nutrition and healthy habits are always important to maintain wellness, but during stressful times such as a flood, its easy to become so involved with protecting your property and belongings that you forget your own health, said Dickinson County Public Health Manager Mary Dunleavy.
There are many things you can do to help cope with stressful events:
Stay hydrated to remain energized and minimize muscle soreness and cramping
Eat well-balanced meals. Try to get a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy products.
Follow safety precautions to minimize injury. Use proper form to minimize back and joint injuries and muscle strains. Be sure to lift with your legs to protect your back and take a few minutes to stretch throughout the day to lessen muscle soreness.
Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing when working outside.
Take time to recharge by getting adequate rest at night and throughout the day. Ask others for help if you need it.
Understand and accept that your feelings are normal
Try to keep to your usual routine as much as possible
Take time to resolve day-to-day issues, so they do not add to your stress
Find ways to relax and be kind to yourself
Find time for leisure and recreational activities
Recognize that you cannot control everything
Turn to family, friends, or clergy for support, and talk about your experiences and feelings with them
Children are especially vulnerable to stressful situations, especially if their parents or caregivers are overwhelmed. You can help your child by:
Letting your child know that it is okay to feel upset when something bad or scary happens
Encourage your child to express feelings and thoughts, without making judgments
Return your child to daily routines
Sometimes stress can affect your relationship with your family and friends, or affect your job. If you or someone you care about is having a difficult time handling stress, or if their response escalates to substance abuse, depression, or suicidal feelings or thoughts, they should seek professional help from a health care provider, local mental health clinic, or substance abuse treatment program.