Prepare For Storm Season –
Tips for keeping your sanity while catastrophe adjusting
Storm season is upon us, and while storms bring with them their own set of challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic may make this year the most challenging yet. As an insurance adjuster, it’s important to not only prepare your business for storm season, but also your body. Traumatic events and disasters can be just as challenging for the victims as those working on the frontlines in the aftermath. Self-care strategies are a large part of the preparation.
Stress management starts with Self-Awareness
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. – Chinese Proverb
It is important to be able to first identify stress and then to manage it. If disaster responders are not monitoring their physical and emotional needs, difficulties at work are inevitable. Tune into your warning signs. Learn to pay attention to bodily sensations like headaches, rapid heart rate, irritability or trouble falling asleep. Additionally, remembering the HALT anagram: stop working if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Routinely participating in stress debriefing event and stress management exercises can help increase the awareness of work stress.
Here are some tips to keeping your sanity while catastrophe adjusting:
Breathing exercises are a fast, free and simple technique to provide an extremely effective way to reverse any stress response. In just a few moments you can reset your nervous system with a few mindful breaths. While there are many variations of breathing exercises for stress management, try the “4-7-8 breathing” method. In this variation, inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. Start with four rounds and work your way up to eight full breath cycles.
The goal of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts or emotions. The goal is to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and learn how to move through them without getting stuck. – Dr. P. Goldin
Meditation can help us tap into intuition, relieve negativity and rejuvenate our minds and bodies. It doesn’t require years of training and doesn’t have to be hard. Meditation is a process. By training the mind to focus and redirect thoughts, we learn to take control of the proverbial mental hamster wheel. Meditation can increase focus and memory, and reduce pain and anxiety. Consider making meditation a daily habit, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Just a few moments a day can be enough to make a large positive impact.
A Simple Meditation:
Sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes. Breathe naturally. Focus your attention on your breath. Observe your body. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to the breath.
There are many free resources online to learn more about meditation. Try the Calm App, Headspace and Insight Timer for easy integration and guided practices.
Establishing and maintaining a routine is the best way to set your body up for success. Try eating meals and going to bed at regular hours, as well as scheduling a rewarding activity at the same time daily and weekly. Giving your mind and body something to rely on during hectic times is like building in a parachute for the nervous system.
Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. – William S. Burroughs
There is no handbook for relaxation, though there are many techniques to pull from. The important thing is to find some that help you unwind and nourish your mind and body. Some examples to try include breathing, massage, yoga, listening to music, walking, acupuncture, writing, drawing, or taking a bath. Scheduling relaxing activities into the day, work week and/or weekend is essential for coping with adjusting during a stressful storm season.
Emotion is created by motion. Whatever you’re feeling right now is related to how you’re using your body. – Tony Robbins
We all know that regular exercise is important for our physical health, but it’s also crucial for mental health and stress management. Research on stress relief, shows that when we move our bodies, it can help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, dancing, and cycling increase oxygen and blood flow. Both of these changes directly affect the brain by increasing the production of endorphins – also known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitters. Most people notice relief in anxiety, anger and mild depression after a workout. The best news yet? These positive effects are cumulative, so make movement a regular part of your weekly routine.
It can take from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit, and 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. So now is the time to start putting some stress-relieving practices into your daily routine so they become second nature when storm season is here. Your health and well-being is your responsibility. Make a commitment to care for yourself during both the on and off season of catastrophe adjusting.