Manage post-hurricane stress

Rebecca White, Benedict, Linda F.  |  9/8/2008 12:21:02 AM

News Release Distributed 09/07/08

You probably can’t avoid the stress coming in the wake of Hurricane Gustav, but you can manage it, says LSU AgCenter family and consumer sciences specialist Becky White.

In addition to the major losses suffered by people across the hurricane-ravaged area of the Gulf Coast, there are other factors affecting even those who escaped the storm. These frustrations include traffic congestion, shortages of groceries and supplies, waiting lines at restaurants, cancellation of events scheduled for facilities now serving as shelters, and high gas prices.

"No one is escaping the stress," White says.

To manage these stressful times, White offers these tips:

– Be patient and establish what’s really important. Realize that everyone’s point of view on what is top priority may be different from yours.

– Don’t expect things to return to normal immediately. Accept that changes in your life, both physically and emotionally, will be here for a while.

– Recognize that hurricane victims have suffered losses and that it’s normal for them to express disbelief, anxiety, anger, sadness and depression.

– Understand that the emotions of hurricane victims can swing dramatically, and moods could change without warning.

– Don’t fail to notice your children’s feelings. They need to feel they can rely on you for the extra love, attention and support necessary to get through this disaster. Comfort them, making sure they realize they are not responsible for the problems you face.

– Keep your family diet as nourishing as possible.

– To build a sense of capability, focus on the big picture rather than little details and problems.

– Talk with family, friends and clergy. A compassionate network is essential to your recovery.

– Resist the temptation to revert to personal bad habits while under stress.


Contact: Becky White at (225) 578-3921 or

Editor: Linda Foster Benedict at (225) 578-2937 or

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