Particularly in areas with limited resources, recovery progress from a natural disaster can often be slow. If financial resources are low, individuals can still help with recovery without donating money. Volunteering in the community, donating time and skills are all valuable contributions. Helping clear debris, cooking food at shelters and moving rescue supplies are all activities that do not require financial donations.
Volunteering in the wake of a natural disaster can even help individuals seize new opportunities, whether it be educational or employment based through new relationships in the volunteer community.
All aspects of recovery from a natural disaster takes time. It can take years for individuals to recover financially and emotionally. An important part of recovery is allowing time to mourn and to process and experience grief; whether it be for lost loved ones, lost businesses, lost homes and a lost way of life.
A helpful way of dealing with this process is to write down feelings and talk with others about their feelings. Don’t try to push back or hide emotions, as this can cause depression and emotional anguish later on.
Another very important aspect of recovery is to create a daily routine. Even if businesses and schools are closed, a routine still helps cope with the fallout of natural disaster. Things as simple as eating well, sleeping on a normal schedule a getting regular exercise every day are all important. Avoid self-medication through alcohol and drugs.
Identify support groups, through family and friends, to community support from healthcare professionals.
Be aware of small signs of emotional disturbance, such as increased substance use, chronic irritability and feelings of marginalization. These signs can often go unnoticed and can develop into far bigger problems down the road. More cases of PTSD are often diagnosed one year after a natural disaster than in the immediate aftermath of when the disaster struck. Studies have shown that suicidal thoughts doubled more than a year after a natural disaster.
If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, seek help. Do not dismiss these feelings.