Living Well

Managing Stress After Super Storm Sandy

Last updated: Nov 13, 2012


Despite returning to your normal activities, you’re probably still feeling stress in the wake of super storm Sandy. That’s no surprise given the magnitude of the storm and the trail of damage it left behind. Your stress can take many forms — feeling pressure to catch up on work or school assignments; anxiety about repairing your car or replacing a damaged roof on your home; frustration over detours or downed trees on your commute to work; having little patience with family, friends, and coworkers. You might even be experiencing unexpected physical symptoms. 

If you are having emotional, behavioral, relationship, or even physical problems as a result of super storm Sandy, you are not alone!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common reactions to a stressful event such as super storm Sandy include:

  • Disbelief and shock
  • Tension and irritability
  • Fear and anxiety about the future
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • An inability to process your feelings (feeling numb)
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Loss of or increased appetite
  • Nightmares and recurring thoughts about the event
  • Anger
  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Sadness and depression
  • Feelings of powerlessness
  • Feeling tearful
  • Poor sleep
  • Headaches, back pain, stiff neck, and digestive (stomach and intestinal) problems

During and in the wake of a stressful event such as super storm Sandy, you also might experience excessive fatigue, elevated blood pressure, a racing heart (palpitations), and shortness of breath.

The good news is that your symptoms
are likely to subside within weeks
as you return and adapt to your routine!

Tips for Recovering From Super Storm Sandy

  • Limit your exposure to disaster news
    Watching or listening to the news can make you relive your experience and activate your fears
  • Establish your routine
    A predictable schedule can help give you purpose and focus, both of which can help make you feel calm
  • Engage in uplifting activities
    Fun activities such as walking with a friend, writing in your journal, listening to music, involving yourself in a hobby, and starting or completing a project can help distract you from your worries
  • Talk about your experience
    Reaching out to others, including friends, family, and professionals, can help you feel less alone. It also gives you a chance to exchange experiences and adjust your perspective about the event
  • Help others
    Volunteering and donating goods, clothing, supplies, and money are concrete ways you can help others who are still living with effects of the storm
  • Be realistic
    Take manageable steps to accomplish your goals each day; trying to do too many or difficult things can be overwhelming anytime, but especially after a difficult event
  • Exercise, eat a balanced diet, and get plenty of sleep
    Research shows that exercise is among the best ways to relieve stress, boost your immune system, and ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep can help you better cope with issues you must manage each day. Eating a balanced diet can help prevent dips in blood sugar that might negatively affect your mood
  • Relax
    Deep breathing and other relaxation strategies such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, and therapeutic massage are excellent ways to achieve and maintain calm
  • Be grateful
    Making a list of things for which you are thankful and highlighting the things in your life that are going right can help improve your outlook

If you are struggling with your emotions
in the aftermath of the recent storm,
our therapists can help!

Call us today
at 908-277-8900.

Summit Medical Group
Behavioral Health and Cognitive Therapy