It has been another rainy week here in Houston and most of us are getting tired of seeing it rain. It’s not just that we miss the sunshine, it’s also the fact that every time it storms, we can’t help but be reminded of Hurricane Harvey. For many of us, the effects of Harvey are still lingering. Some people have still not gotten back into their homes while others haven’t fully repaired the damage that occurred during the flood. As a result, when it rains, many of us flash back to the powerlessness we felt during the hurricane. For those that have spent the last 2 years trying to recover from the storm, it becomes easy to understand why the rain brings such anxiety and stress. When it rains, it is not unusual to hear someone say, “Oh no, here we go again.”Collectively, we have begun to experience Weather Fatigue.
What is Weather Fatigue?
Weather Fatigue is that feeling of exhaustion that comes from having ongoing worries, anxiety, fear, and stress that result from being negatively impacted by the weather. As Houstonians, we are accustomed to rainy days and flooded streets. We know that there will be storms and there will be droughts. It comes with living in Bayou City. It’s just that since Hurricane Harvey, we often wonder if the flooded street is going to become a flooded home or a flooded car. We also wonder if it will stop raining once it starts. As a result, normal thunderstorms that have always been a part of Houston weather have become stress-filled events. Staying on constant alert and worrying when the next flood will happen eventually takes a toll on us.
Over the last 2 years, we have seen the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the mental health of many in our community. We have heard countless stories of grief, loss, depression, and anxiety that have resulted from the storm. We have also heard the stories of strength, courage, and resilience that are driving forces in our great community. Houston has bounced back from Hurricane Harvey, but we still have more recovery to do in order to heal from the emotional toll that the storm took on our community. Some of the steps that can help us continue on the road to recovery include:
- Grieve the losses – Grieving is the normal mechanism that we have that helps us recover from losses in our life. Whether it is a loss of a loved one, the loss of a home, or the loss of a dream, we need to grieve the losses before we can fully embrace the opportunities that the future may bring.
- Manage your fears – Fear is a survival instinct that helps us survive life and death danger. It prepares us to fight, hide, or run when we are threatened. When the danger passes, our fear subsides. Unfortunately, when traumatic events occur, many people struggle to get their fears under control. As a result, they become anxious about the future based on the events of the past. To manage this anxiety and fear, it is useful to learn ways of relaxing the body and calming the mind.
- Talk out your worries – Words are the best tool that we have to deal with emotions. The more we can put words to our thoughts and feelings, the better we tend to cope.
- Manage your stress – Develop effective stress management strategies, such as exercise, to decrease the tension that you feel. Avoid self-medication and over-drinking.
- Get support – Surround yourself with supportive people. A strong support network helps us overcome the stressors in life and helps us become more resilient.
- Prepare for the next rainy day – The more reserves we build up, the less stressed we tend to be when the next crisis happens. If you don’t have flood insurance, maybe now is the time to purchase it.
- Let go of trying to control those things you have no control over – If you want to make yourself feel crazy, try to control those things that you have no control over. Let go of worrying about those things that you can’t control and instead put your energy where it can make a difference.
- Get professional help – If you continue to struggle with anxiety, stress, depression, or PTSD from the past, get professional help. It could save your life.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.