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Recovering From Disaster Brings Stress

OKC family speaks with Red Cross volunteer

Lusk, WY, 12:30 p.m., Friday, June 12, 2015 – Disaster recovery is a long process. If initial response is a sprint, recovery is truly a marathon. In the first few days following a disaster our minds and hearts are focused on dealing with the situation at hand. Adrenalin flows as we look for ways to "fix" the problem. At some point, our energy starts to drain and the true scope of the cleanup effort becomes clearer.

As humans we can experience a variety of reactions as we try to cope with our situations. Often those reactions will take their toll on our emotional health. The American Red Cross has a wealth of information available that can help people deal with the stress of recovery. Information is available at the Recovery Assistance Center, Niobrara County Fairgrounds in Lusk, WY and online at www.redcross.org.

Symptoms to watch for:

 Feeling physically and mentally drained

 Difficulty when making decisions or focusing on topics

 Easily frustrated on frequent basis

 Arguing more with family and friends

 Changes in appetite or sleep patterns

Suggestions:

 Take care of the safety of you and your loved ones (including pets).

 Limit exposure to stressful information including social media, television, radio, etc.

 Take a deep breath before making decisions or starting a conversation.

 Recognize that while it may seem insurmountable there is help and support available in your community. Reach out to your local stress support hotline. Talk with an emotional support professional or someone you trust.

 Stay connected to family and friends. Giving and getting support is vital to stress reduction.

 Be patient with yourself and those around you. Everyone is stressed and everyone copes differently.

 Set priorities. Tackle tasks in small steps and celebrate small successes.

 Keep an eye on the young and elderly. Recognize the stress and trauma reactions that can occur with these age groups. Talk with them and help them understand the plan for recovery.

A Red Cross emotional support specialist is available at the Recovery Assistance Center to answer questions or just listen to your story. The Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds in Lusk, WY.