Reducing Storm Anxiety

Tornadoes, flooding, and ice storms are a part of life here in the heartland. Almost everyone feels apprehensive when anticipating the arrival of a potential tornado or flood, blizzard, ice storm, or any severe weather. Stress is how the brain and body respond to such demands. Although everyone feels stressed from time to time, feeling anxious during times of stormy weather, though common, is upsetting.

However, not all stress is bad. Why? Because it can motivate us to prepare! In fact, preparation enhances resilience. Here are some tips to help you increase your and your families’ resilience both physical and emotional.


When faced with a new or threatening situation, PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE! Both scientific research and common sense has shown that the more you prepare for an event the less anxious you will be and the better you will perform. So let’s look at how to prepare for severe weather and thus become more resilient.

Have a plan:

Get the facts:
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions.

Reach out to your children:
  • Be calm and supportive. Find out more about how to strengthen your children’s emotional well-being both before and after a storm. Download Help Kids Cope (It’s free from Google Play and iTunes).
  • Encourage your children to learn more about weather by playing games or other activities. For example, visit:
  • Visit our Tips for Parents page for more.

Prepare your mind and body:
  • Learn to recognize when you or someone you care about is experiencing the signs of feeling anxious or stressed, such as trouble concentrating, being easily irritated, feeling depressed, or experiencing unexplained body aches and pains. Recognizing these signs early, and doing something about them, can help you, and others, better able reduce the chances of becoming overwhelmed during bad weather.
  • Engage in self-care. Eat healthy, exercise, take time to do activities you enjoy. Make sure you get enough sleep.
  • Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress and promote calm. These techniques are particularly helpful in preventing, or short-circuiting, panic attacks.
  • Learn more at the Mayo Clinic.
Connect to Social Supports:

  • Social support is related to emotional well-being and recovery after a disaster. People who are well connected to others are more likely to manage the stress of a crisis.
  • Work to maintain and strengthen your social support network. This includes family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, hobby or club members, church members and clergy.
  • The benefits of social connectedness include:
    • Increased opportunities for knowledge essential to disaster recovery
    • Help with practical problem-solving
    • Emotional understanding and acceptance
    • Sharing of experiences and concerns
    • Mutual instruction about coping
  • Social support: Tap this tool to beat stress

Helping our pets: 
When it comes to disasters, if it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for your pets.
  • Develop a Pet Disaster Preparedness Kit. Include:
    • Food and water for at least 5 days
    • Food and water for at least 5 days
    • Medication and medical records
    • Cat litter box, litter, scoop and garbage bags
    • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers
    • Current photo of you with your pets and description of your pets
    • Written information about your pets feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian
  • Learn more at the Humane Society.

After The Storm

The storm is over, so now what do you do? Here are some suggestions:

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • If you are trapped, do not move about or kick up dust. Tap on a pipe or wall or use a whistle, if you have one, so that rescuers can locate you.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings and homes until local authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim .
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
  • If your home is without power, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns rather than candles to prevent accidental fires.
  • Be careful of scams . Unfortunately, there are individuals who are willing to take advantage of people after a disaster. Here are some tips for avoiding disaster fraud.

If after the storm you are still having difficulty coping, you may consider seeking further information.
Crisis Counseling:
  • SAMHSAS’s Disaster Distress Helpline
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline/Veterans Crisis Line:
  • 2-1-1 Oklahoma: 2-1-1 Oklahoma is an easy-access system for information and referral to community services for those who need help and those who provide help. Visit their website here.

Want Help With Upsetting Feelings?

Welcome to PTSD Coach Online: Tools to Help you manage stress.

Would you like help managing your stress? PTSD Coach Online is for anyone who needs help with upsetting feelings. Trauma survivors, their families, or anyone coping with stress can benefit.

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

PTSD is a condition that can develop after you have been through a trauma. After the event, you may feel afraid and nervous. You may have upsetting thoughts, memories, or nightmares of the event. You may feel numb or cut off from other people. You may also avoid things that remind you of the event. These symptoms can disrupt your life, making it hard to continue with your daily activities. If these feelings or experiences don't go away over time or they get worse, you may have PTSD.

How can PTSD Coach Online help me?

PTSD Coach Online has tools for coping with sadness, anxiety, and other symptoms that people who have been through trauma can develop. Some tools are brief and can help you relax when you feel stressed, or improve your mood, for example. Longer tools teach you how to tackle difficult problems, change thinking patterns, and take steps to achieve your goals.

Who can use PTSD Coach Online?

PTSD Coach Online is for anyone who needs help with upsetting symptoms like depression, anger, or trouble sleeping. PTSD Coach Online was created with trauma survivors and their loved ones in mind, but anyone who is looking for help coping with these symptoms can turn to PTSD Coach Online.

Learn more about it here:

Other Resources

Below are some links to further resources you may find helpful.

Disaster Preparedness

Learn About Disasters

Oklahoma Resources

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