Whew. We were just through a lot. Again. And it’s only January! Winter storms are stressful. We worry about what’s coming, and all the ‘what ifs’ and we remember the things that happened in past storms, especially the 47 people who lost their lives in the Christmas Blizzard in 2022.
But we know, it’s Buffalo. Winter happens. Storms will come again, and we can be prepared to cope with them safely.
How to Prepare for the Next One
Plan for it now, when the weather is more calm. Being prepared and feeling in control is actually very comforting and can make you feel secure in uncertain times.
First, make sure you have the things you need in your home. Erie County Department of Health Equity has a great checklist ready with excellent reminders.
Stock your pantry with:
- nonperishable foods like canned soups, crackers, peanut butter, granola bars, bottled water, and evaporated milk;
- an old fashioned can opener that isn’t electric; and
- a supply of batteries and flashlights that work.
Erie County Department of Health has excellent information for how to keep safe, too, with good reminders about checking your vents and your smoke detectors.
Storms Can Be Stressful
We need to be prepared emotionally, too, especially if we’re going to be home for several days and there are driving bans. Spectrum Health Buffalo H.O.P.E. is part of the #WeAreHope collaborative that has an outstanding resource guide with good information.
Make sure you look after your emotions:
- Engage in activities that relax you and keep your mind from focusing on what’s happening outside:
- Play games;
- Clean your home;
- Read or listen to books;
- Journal or color or draw;
- Watch some television and monitor how much news you’re watching;
- Cook balanced meals with your family and eat together;
- Complete a puzzle; and
- Take a bath and massage your wintery-dry skin with lotion.
If you’re too isolated or feel symptomatic, open the window for a little air to change the scent in your home.
You can also reach out to a friend or family member or neighbor and ask if they are OK and tell them that you are OK or tell them you need help. It’s a blessing to help others and it’s more than OK to ask for support, too. We’re all here for each other.
Stay warm and safe. We’ll get through winter together and spring will come again!
Malene K. White, LMHC, EMDR, CASAC-T