Canadians have encountered many disasters, whether house flooding or mass evacuation such as with the recent B.C. wildfires currently affecting thousands of families and individuals. While we work to assist those affected by addressing immediate needs, it’s important to address how the stress of dealing with disasters personally affects you.
 
Those who experience crisis situations are very likely to experience extreme stress – this is entirely normal. However, extreme stress can seriously affect your health and daily life.
 
Some physical and emotional reactions may include:
  • Sleeping problems
  • Muscle tension and bodily pains
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Trying to avoid being reminded of the crisis situation
  • Nausea
  • Fixating on the event
  • Withdrawing from other people
  • Some people may not feel anything at all
If you start feeling symptoms of extreme stress, take care of yourself with these suggestions and remember recovering from these feelings can take time:
  1. Allow yourself to feel sad and grieve when you experience a traumatic event
  2. Accept support and assistance, there are many who want to help
  3. Take time to socialize with others people, this could be as simple as meeting a friend for a coffee, or going for a walk with someone
  4. Make plans for the future, but don’t take on too much too fast
  5. Give someone a hug
  6. Take time to take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods, get sleep, and exercise if possible
  7. Maintain daily routines
  8. When you can, take time off to do things that make you feel happy
  9. Consider seeing a doctor or other health professional if you are concerned about yourself or someone in your care if you are struggling to function, or if you are still feeling extreme stress
Children and teens are especially vulnerable during times of crisis. For information resources about how to help kids recover, check out this guide to disaster recovery for parents and caregivers