The Nitty Gritty
Recently, I shared a post on how to be prepared before life's emergencies >> with an emphasis on doing your emotional personal growth work before emergencies and crises arrived.
Natural disasters like a hurricane approaching the part of the world I'm in, or national disasters like 9-11, are reminders of the preciousness of life and the importance of living life consciously and fully now.
Right after I posted that blog, someone contacted me because they had to flee a weather area and didn't get their mental health medications. As a hurricane closes in on the Carolinas, it's made me think more about the practical things we need to stay emotionally balanced! This is beyond the rush for water and bread.
Preparing ahead of time to be inside and maybe with people you don't like and maybe bored and maybe without electricity... is an emotional storm aka hurricane. It can go two ways: 1) everyone bands together and gets closer, at least temporarily or 2) it's a personal hell because getting out of the house and having some freedom is what keeps you sane.
If you are currently in an area that will likely experience storms and damaging weather, or you are not but want to be prepared for this kind of thing in the future... here are some helpful tips to weather the storm with the best emotional wellness possible. Let's keep the storm outside and not inside where you are!
These are ideas > if you are staying home. If you need to flee your home to be safe > skip ahead to #10 below ASAP.
1) What are the very basics? It's been a long time since I was in Girl Scouts, but I remember the importance of: a flashlight, batteries for the flashlight, ice, tissues (yes, you might end up crying). Charge your phones and your computers and anything that needs charged! (A good practice all the time btw). If you had no electricity, what would you need to stay sane?
2) Keep more food supplies than a few gallons of water and a loaf of bread. Of course, be careful to buy refrigerated food because if the electric goes out :( You can stock up on the healthiest foods you can think of that don't need refrigerated. Maybe it's time to reconnect with avocados and apples and oranges?
3) Check your medication needs. Do you need to fill your prescriptions early? Do you need to get more contact lenses or solution? Think of what you take and need daily and make sure you have at least a week's supply longer than you think you need.
4) Do all your household chores ahead of time. Yes, maybe I'm a weirdo. But if your laundry is all done and your house is vacuumed and cleaned ~> it's likely you will rest better.
5) What are the top self-care practices that connect with you? Do you journal, draw, sew, build with Legos, like a good book? If you can, indulge in getting something that's a treat. Get some yarn and plan to make a scarf. Drop into the library if you have time > trust me there's no run on books before a storm. If you have kids, think of what they would enjoy and plan to treat them mid-storm with a fun surprise.
6) As you cover your basics, consider investing in an indulgent bar of soap. Make sure you have toothpaste, a must on my list. What are next level splurges that can make being stuck inside nicer? Of course, I love essential oils and always keep those handy too.
7) Stationary! Okay this may seem odd. But one thing that helps me is to think of others who mean a lot to me. During a storm, it can be nice to focus your mind on those who mean a lot to you. Write them a thank you letter or note - even if it's by the light of the battery-operated flashlight you now own.
8) Manage your relationships by planning your time together, especially if you're stuck together for long periods. If you live with others, it's okay to still have together and alone time. Knowing you can have some time to yourself can truly be a life saver. Planning a gentle schedule ahead of time will give you the hope you need to cling to.
9) As soon as you hear of a storm coming, do not delay. Fill up your gas tank right away and do as many of these things as you can. While you're out, pick up a new board game and make sure you have a deck of cards to play. Something new that keeps your mind engaged is great!
10) Planning ahead is even more important, if you are unfortunate and have to flee where you are. Fill your gas tank as soon as your hear a storm is coming and get your prescriptions filled. It can help to put photos, baby books, mementos, your pets needs, your most urgent needs (like medications, insurance policies, etc) in small-medium plastic tubs that can be easily transported. Bring pillows and blankets too.
It's easy in life to forget the importance of being prepared. And doing your emotional growth work is still so important (see the prior blog). The more crap you've unloaded mentally and emotionally > the more you can handle whatever is coming. Just don't forget all the practical tasks too.
You can learn a lot when rain is beating down on your head, or snow is falling in record amounts or something has happened in the world that also shakes your core >>> or you are in a plane leaving during a storm.
In 2016, a hurricane was moving up the Carolinas coast. I was on a plane going from Charleston, WV to Charlotte, NC to Paris, France. The pilot came back from the cockpit and told us it was going to be a rocky ride, but we would be okay. He wanted to tell us in person... gee, thanks! Well, it did help me feel better, and I liked his pink tie :)
It was a rocky ride. In the plane, I felt like I was on a speedboat riding rough waves. Really... Rough! I remembered the value of breathing intentionally, and I closed my eyes. My mantra:
"I am held in the arms of Love."
I imagined being held completely in safety and Love.
You can hold your own hand and breathe and remember that you too are held in the arms of Love. Now get busy!