There’s a Storm Coming :: Tips for Managing Stress During Hurricane Prep

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Yesterday, Mommas around town woke up to the unpleasant shock of thunderstorms, flooding, and tornado warnings. Our kids were picked up from camp (if we could get to them or they made it there at all), our power went out, and our social media feeds filled with the pictures. You know the pictures. Those pictures.

People kayaking down the street. Hotel lobbies full of water. Cars trapped in the underpasses.

Most of us had our sights set on this weekend, the impending Barry, so this caught us by surprise. And, for those of you with a Katrina experience, it all came back. I talked to a lot of Mommas yesterday and the theme was the same: a lot of edginess, bad memories and discomfort. Many of you sat in traffic for hours, reminded of the evacuation you had once before. Many of you were stuck home, watching water rise, trying to entertain kids. 

It’s all coming back. And the bad news is, it’s just getting started. Did you sleep last night? Are you ok today? Can you sit down for a minute, here with me, so we can talk through this? I want to share a few things with you.

It’s OK That You Feel This Way

If you need a moment to be in your feelings, please take it. It’s ok that seeing cars stuck on the highway reminds you of the 24-hours you spent in the car trying to evacuate back then. It makes sense that the SWB‘s claim that the pump stations are working does not put you at ease. All the strain and tension you are living under right now is 100% valid. So if you need a second, that’s fine! Take your time, friend, be compassionate to yourself and those around you. PTSD is real and you do not have to bury it.

Prepare For Either Scenario

I didn’t grow up in the area. My first experience with a hurricane was Gustav. I did not realize until then how stressful the watch the models method is! The bottom line is we don’t know and not knowing is incredibly frustrating – especially for parents who need to plan. So do what you can do today to prepare for this weekend, either way. Here are my top five tips you can do to help yourself feel in control and prepare:

If you are evacuating

  • Pack a bag for everyone in the family
  • Touch base with your destination or make a reservation
  • Grab pet carriers and pet food and have them ready to go
  • Check prescriptions and put gas in the car
  • Secure important paperwork

If you are staying

  • Plan some at-home activities: puzzles, board games and books
  • Check flashlight batteries and charge electronics, in case you lose power
  • Make sure you have plenty of water and food (don’t forget a manual can opener)
  • Keep a small stock of blankets and toys by the bathtub (or your safe space during a tornado)
  • Cook, store, or discard anything that might go bad in a power loss

Some of this you may have done already. There are plenty of additional tips here. Make lists and cross items off. Feeling prepared for every situation serves two purposes. First, it gives you a distraction. Second, it will take the edge off your tension. When life feels out-of-control focus on the parts that you can control.

No matter what your plan for this weekend, stay hyper focused on your emotional needs. I suspect that right now you are probably hiding your nerves from your kids (I am too). So if you can get away for a quick meditation, plan a spontaneous dance party, or unplug from the Jim Cantore watch and ignore the newscasters who are too excited about the weather (you know who they are).

Hang in there, Mommas. You weathered that storm. You will weather this one, too. Oh … and please don’t wade or play in the water. I mean, really.

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Jen re-located from Dallas to New Orleans in 2007, after a brief Christmas visit with her (then fiancée) Dave made her realize she’d found her soul city. When she’s not volunteering at her two little bug’s school (one boy, one girl), she enjoys being active and adventurous. In addition to completing Tough Mudders, Jen can be found walking at the park, taking HIIT classes, swinging Kettlebells and boxing around the city. She loves chats at coffee shops with a good friend and insists on having a family fun day at home once a week. Those days are for couch time, completing puzzles or playing Nintendo while her Beagle mix Maddie snoozes on her lap and her fat cat Cinco hangs nearby. Jen feels that the big city of New Orleans is more like a small town and loves chatting with strangers, especially at Mardi Gras. In addition to her blog contributions, you can find her collection of short stories to share with friends at www.jenlassalle.com.

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