We recognise that severe weather like we are experiencing with Storm Eunice can cause anxiety for some people however, it’s only normal to be worried. Some of us have fears of weather itself while others worry about the consequences of the storm. To help you we’ve put together some tips on how to manage your anxiety in these situations.
The Apple Technique
We recommend using the APPLE technique to help you manage anxiety, which is a technique we discovered on www.getselfhelp.co.uk. The five phases of the APPLE technique are –
- Acknowledge – Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
- Pause – Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Just pause and breathe.
- Pull back – Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
- Let go – Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
- Explore – Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else – on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry or do something else – mindfully with your full attention.
Examine Your Reaction
Worry can make us think in circles, forever dwelling on a problem and imagining all the ways something can go wrong. Sometimes we need to break free of this loop and look at the situation more objectively. Ask yourself:
- What am I achieving by worrying about this?
- What can I do to change the outcome of the situation?
If the answer to both of these questions is “nothing”, then it does not deserve to occupy this much of your time! Focus on the things you can change.
As well as seeking reassurance, it is useful to learn how to reassure yourself in times of anxiety. It can be tempting to surrender to these feelings of despair but adopting and repeating positive mantras will help you reframe the way you see things. Try these:
- This is just anxiety, nothing more.
- This feeling will pass.
- I am safe.
- I am becoming calmer with each breath.
- I am in control.
Tips for staying safe from the Met office
Before the storm
- Secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing and break them
- Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the house, and especially large doors such as those on garages
- Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences
- Close and secure loft trapdoors with bolts, particularly if roof pitch is less than 30°
- If the house is fitted with storm shutters over the windows then ensure that these are closed and fastened
- If chimney stacks are tall and in poor condition, move beds away from areas directly below them
During the storm
- Stay indoors as much as possible
- If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees
- Keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences – if these structures fail, they will collapse on this side
- Do not go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress
- If possible, enter and leave your house through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you
- Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you
- Take care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges, or high open roads, delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible
- Slow down and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high sided vehicle
- Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary
After the storm
- Be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging
- Do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened
- Make sure that any vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe and help them make arrangements for any repairs