Rebuilding Hope Following Hurricane Ian’s Devastation

open notebook showing the word hopeSurviving a natural disaster as ruinous as Hurricane Ian will leave a lot of scars, both emotional and physical. Even if you managed to come out the other side of the natural disaster without losing much, seeing your community in disarray and shambles is enough to destroy anyone’s sense of hope. Rebuilding this sense of hope will take time and effort. 

Regardless of how the hurricane directly affected your day-to-day life, you are allowed to mourn the devastation. It is completely normal to feel a bit lost in such tumultuous items. You are not alone in your feelings, and I am here to help guide you back toward hope after Hurricane Ian. 

Take time to grieve

Whether you suffered major losses or any loss at all from Hurricane Ian, the first step toward regaining hope is to take time to grieve. Your community is in distress. Taking time to mourn your situation is a natural and crucial step in the grieving process. 

You cannot begin to accept the situation without first being angry and sad as well. Allow yourself to truly feel your emotions. If you find this too overwhelming due to all the negative emotions, try simply viewing your emotions as they pass by. Think of your feelings like a cloud; you can see them, but do not have to interact with them if you choose not to.

Rediscover what is important

Around this time of year, it is hard to remember that physical items are not a defining characteristic of our being. Surviving Hurricane Ian is a great time to remind yourself what is truly important to you.

Are the physical items, like clothes and shoes, what makes you, you? Do you value the objects in your house above all else? Or do you define yourself by the relationships you have with others? Refocusing on what is really important will help you expand your capacity for gratitude. 

Categorize your damages

After suffering losses, listing out the damages you suffered may be a painful process, but I promise it will suit you in the long run. Once you have a comprehensive list, you can begin to figure out a financial plan. This should make it easier to show to an insurance agency for reimbursement of damages. 

Hopefully, seeing a physical list of your damages also reminds you of how much of all the things you still have. Whether they are objects you can hold, you still have your health and those that you love. 

Prioritize self-care

When so many people you know are going through such a period of devastation, you may find yourself focusing on their well-being above your own. However, I want to give you permission to prioritize your self-care as well. 

Self-care does not always look like fancy spa days and luxurious indulgences. Rather, self-care is taking time to focus on your own needs. Carve out some time for yourself and rediscover the things that bring you joy, like hiking or meditation. 

Find a support system

Even the most emotionally strong individuals cannot regain hope alone. Throughout this healing journey, you will need to lean on others for support. Your friends, family, and other loved ones will be great resources to help you through this process. 

In addition to known support systems, consider joining a support group. There are plenty of options for those who have lived through a natural disaster, especially in the aftermath of a hurricane. Try looking online for different groups or reach out to different community groups to find one near you. 

Finding a trained professional to speak with is always a great addition to your support system. As a Floridian myself, I understand the situation you are going through. If you are looking for someone to speak with after Hurricane Ian, please feel free to reach out to me today for in person or online therapy.