Post-Sandy: How to Cope for Adults and Children

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As people begin to put their lives back together after Hurricane Sandy, Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil offers tips for staying sane and healthy.

Many communities still have a long way to go toward life as normal after Hurricane Sandy. Family and relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil offers tips for people who are suffering the damages of the storm, as well as people who may be traumatized just from seeing images of the hurricane in the media. She says people facing these circumstances can suffer from a type of PTSD, and she has suggestions for how they can fight the depression.

  • Get back into a routine. Dr. Bonnie says this is crucial for people who need to take their mind off of catastrophe. For many people it will be impossible to go back to life as normal, but even constructing a bit of normalcy can help. She encourages kids to go back to school, and people to go back to work if they can, or even to work from home to give their days some structure. Routine helps replace some of the anger, helplessness, and hopelessness people feel as part of the shock. As kids - and adults - are likely suffering from cabin fever Dr. Bonne emphasizes the importance of getting outside. A previous study by American Cancer Society: shows that being with nature helps people lower the stress hormone cortisol in their body. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just getting outside can help!
  • Do something action oriented. Dr. Bonnie suggests baking cookies with kids and taking them to a nearby shelter. "It's normal to feel helpless during times of crisis, so doing something active can help get endorphins going, which will help fight depression." People should also be mindful of how they're treating their partner or kids in light of the feelings of helplessness and anxiousness that might arise. "These are normal feelings," reminds Dr. Bonnie, "it's important that kids and adults alike remember that." She says it's helpful to talk about these feelings with family, instead of taking it out on them.

*Stay away from sugary snacks! They will only make people more depressed and irritable, says Dr. Bonnie. Instead, use protein as a snack to avoid the sugar high, and subsequent low.

Dr. Bonnie says this "mini-tsunami" was a very traumatic event for many people and it's normal to be upset, and depressed. She encourages people to get out, take action as they can, and spend time with their family - to be grateful for what they have. And she warns that if the normal feelings of depression and helplessness last more than a few weeks, to seek professional help.

To see Dr. Bonnie talking more about the affects of the hurricane, click here: and check out her “5 Star Video Contributor" via YouTube/Google” with more videos about dealing with the hurricane. To see Dr. Bonnie talking about the importance of the mind-body connection, and keeping our bodies safe, click here: or check out her book Make Up Don't Break Up.

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