Tips to keep your mental health in check

When we experience an emergency such as the COVID-19 crisis, a hurricane or an earthquake like the one that struck Cayman in January 2020, we can have a variety of
emotional reactions.

These reactions can include:

  • Feeling physically and mentally drained
  • Having difficulty making decisions or staying focused on topics
  • Becoming easily frustrated on a more frequent basis
  • Arguing more with family and friends
  • Feeling tired, sad, numb, lonely or worried
  • Experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns

Most of these reactions are temporary and will go away over time. Try to accept whatever reactions you may have. Look for ways to take one step at a time and focus on taking care of your emergency-related needs and those of your family.

Keep a particularly close eye on the children in your family. When disaster strikes, a child’s view of the world as a safe and predictable place is temporarily lost.

Children of different ages react in different ways to trauma, but how parents and other adults react following any traumatic event can help children recover more quickly and more completely.

Recovery takes time

  • Make sure your physical and mental health needs and those of your family are addressed. Seek medical attention if necessary.
  • Limit your exposure to the sights and sounds of disaster, especially on television, the radio and in the newspapers.
  • Eat healthily. During times of stress, it is important that you maintain a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
  • Get some rest. With so much to do, it may be difficult to have enough time to rest or get adequate sleep. Giving your body and mind a break can boost your ability to cope with the stress you may be experiencing.
  • Stay connected with family and friends. Giving and getting support is one of the most important things you can do. Try to do something as a family that you have all enjoyed in the past.
  • Be patient with yourself and with those around you. Recognise that everyone is stressed and may need some time to put their feelings and thoughts in order. That includes you.
  • Set priorities. Tackle tasks in small steps.
  • Gather information about assistance and resources that will help you and your family members meet your disaster-related needs.
  • Stay positive. Remind yourself of how you’ve successfully gotten through difficult times in the past. Reach out when you need support and help others when they need it.

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