While you cannot control a stressful situation, you
can control how you
react to it.
Remove yourself and your loved ones from danger. Finding shelter, water, and food is the first step to coping. This can help you feel emotionally safe.
Eat nutritious food and drink water. Stay away from foods or drinks that have a lot of sugar or caffeine. These foods or drinks may give you a quick boost, but end up making you feel more stressed afterwards. Try to drink 250 mL (1 cup) of water every 2 hours during the day.
Activity. Find balance between activity and rest. Physical activity can help you feel calmer and cope better. Walking for 15 minutes makes the brain release chemicals that help calm you so that you cope better with stress. Get enough sleep. Too little sleep can make you feel overwhelmed, which makes it hard to cope. If you need to, take 15 to 45 minute naps during the day. Don’t nap after 6 p.m. so you’re tired at bedtime.
Connect. Find ways to help others when you can and accept help from others when you need it. This will help remind you that you aren’t alone. Helping each other builds community and hope.
Talk. Let friends and family know where you are and how you’re doing. Talk to family, friends, or support workers about how you feel. Realizing that your feelings are a normal response to an unexpected event can help you recover.
A single disaster or emergency can create a number of losses at the same time. For example, after a fire you may have lost your home, your feeling of safety, or people you know may be missing, injured, or have died. It can be hard to cope when you find yourself in these situations. Experiencing a disasters or emergencies can make you feel uncertain and anxious about the future.
Everyone who goes through a disaster or emergency is affected in some way, it’s normal to have symptoms of stress.
Be patient with yourself and the people around you.
People have different ways of coping with the same event. For some people, the signs of stress after a traumatic event don’t appear until weeks or months after the event happens.
Some common reactions to a disaster or emergency:
Talk to a trusted friend, counsellor, or other support person in your life if you’re finding:
Focus on What Needs to Happen Today
Decide what’s important. It can be easier to cope if you break down big challenges into smaller, manageable steps.
What Can Wait Until Tomorrow?
Try not to make big decisions if you’re very upset.
Current as of: October 19, 2021
Author: Mental Health Promotion & Illness Prevention, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.