Friday, October 6, 2017

Hurricane Stress On The Mind Body

Written By Don Shetterly
Wow, you're probably tired of hearing about this subject, but I think some essential thoughts need to be said.  Going through a major hurricane is very stressful on the mind and body.

The week leading up to the storm you could feel the anxiety and fear in everyone, even in the strangers you didn't know. The stores were a frantic pace.  The hoarding and greed were evident in people buying supplies.  It was clear no one had prepared for a storm of any magnitude.

Fortunately, we had prepared already as we do every summer.  We tend to stay stocked up on nonperishable foods and supplies.  However, just trying to buy regular stuff for the week like a loaf of bread was not possible.  We went out early and attempted to finish stocking up on supplies, but it didn't make the process for storm preparation any more manageable.

I saw the story where two guys got into a fight over plywood for their windows.  Stores had to position employees at pallets of water so everyone could get water.  There were stories of people hoarding so much and then returning it after the storm while others went home empty-handed.

Yes, stress plays a role in all of this.  I get it.  I know what it is like to face a storm the size of Irma and wonder if you would have a house standing after it was over.  Instead of preparation that everyone in Florida should do, most resorted to greed and hoarding.

The stress in the mind was clearly evident in all of this, but there is also the stress in the body.  From the headaches and muscle tension to the pure exhaustion, it was so evident.  That's what the general population does not understand.

We sat through five days without power, and it was so difficult to find out what was happening or when power would be back on.  For two days, we didn't have home phone service.  For most of the five days, our cellular service worked poorly at best.  Trying to keep a phone charged was difficult, and internet access was even more challenging.

In those five days, we had to endure loud generators and the carbon monoxide that hung in the still air of a Florida night.  It made us sick.  It made us want to scream.  With every night we could barely sleep from the noise, fumes, and heat, it compounded a difficult situation.

My body grew weary and tired.  I longed for sleep, but it was difficult to get.  I believe after a few days, I just started checking out in life.  I think I was somewhat delirious.

Finally, some businesses were starting to open, and so we made our way through the hottest hours of the day to the cold air conditioning in their places.  It helped, but we still had to come back to a night of heat and nothing more than a cold shower.  It was tough and stressful on the body.

After we got power back, the first night we tried to sleep, but the stress was so high we spent most of the night awake.  It took time to start adjusting back to what we considered was standard in life.

The first day after power returned, we were mentally and emotionally and physically exhausted.  We were so tired, we took many naps, and I found out we weren't alone.  Other friends were going through the same thing.

The next day, we weren't as tired, but the stress was still weighing hard on the mind and the body.  We worked at restocking our refrigerator and finding food to eat.  We started to begin the clean up of the house from all the storm supplies we had placed here and there.

This is the third day we've been back from power, and I noticed my body slept more peacefully last night.  I feel more energized today than I have for some time now.  I did struggle with muscle tension and a headache last night, but that is now easing.  I need a massage badly!

We all store stress in our mind and body.  In very stressful moments of hurricanes, it increases many times over what is normal.  It impacts us in the body in ways we don't often see because we're not as connected to our mind and body as we think we are.

I'm allowing myself to adjust and get back to normal, recognizing that with time and rest, things will come back to balance.  It isn't a smooth transition back into our daily routine.  The one thing I know is that having no power indeed gives you time to focus on what really matters in life.

I sure didn't miss the media hysteria about politics and other ranting and ravings of the day.  I didn't miss the mindless interaction on social media.  I didn't miss the one sided and fake care for others that is sometimes exhibited far too much.

As difficult as the hurricane stress was on the mind and body, it really felt good to get away from all the social media noise of the day.  Now, I'm looking at how I can continue that and limit the time I give myself for the noise of our day.

In the meantime, I'm trying to honor my mind and body and taking care of myself through self-care.  Some things matter in life, and then there are the basics which genuinely matter the most.

As I post this, my heart continues to go out to Puerto Rico, The Caribbean Islands, Texas and now Las Vegas.  My heart is saddened by all these events and the lack of genuine care and concern that doesn't end when the cameras leave.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
  • Permission required before any part of this blog post is reprinted, reworded or used in any form. 
  • You are welcomed to share the LINK to this blog post.  

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