Caring for yourself during disaster response

The  marathon explosions have affected everyone. Whether you were standing right there or watching from your living room, it likely  left a mark one way or another. Everybody needs to take care of their emotional needs – including those responding to the disaster.

It’s normal to feel profound sadness, grief and anger following an event like this. You may deny yourself rest because you feel there’s too much work to do. You may not feel the need to give yourself any recovery time – but it’s so important to do so.

If you’re having difficulty thinking straight, feeling disoriented or confused and perhaps moody, suffering headaches, tremors or cold-like symptoms, clumsiness or are increasing your use of drugs or alcohol, you may need stress management assistance.

Ways to help manage that stress:

  • Limit your work hours to no more than 12 hours a day
  • Make rotations from high-stress to low0stress functions
  • Use available counseling assistance
  • Drink plenty of water and eat healthy snacks
  • Take brief but frequent breaks
  • Pair up with a responder so that you may monitor one another’s stress
  • Talk about your emotions to process them
  • Stay in touch with family and friends
  • Participate in memorials, rituals and a use of symbols as a way to express your feelings
  • Take your scheduled day off
  • Focus on the positive and don’t forget your sense of humor

And if all else fails, please call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.


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