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In the wake of news that Clemson is in the projected path for Hurricane Florence, to respond with some concern and apprehension is a normal response. Stress is the normal response to the upcoming event over which we are powerless. Consider the stress response along a continuum. On the one extreme is the total absence of stress and continuing without any acknowledgement that we will be impacted by the weather. On the other extreme is to have a magnified reaction that immobilizes us and possibly sends us into a state of panic. Although both extremes exist, most of us will fall along the continuum. Where we fall may change as new information is available and is influenced by our experiences, predisposition towards anxiety and our degree of trust that we can plan for our safety.

Hurricane Florence is coming. Florence has a mind of her own and will take the path of her choice. As we accept this reality, acknowledge your body’s reaction, observe your thoughts and your emotions, and take 2–3 deep, slow grounding breaths. There is only one Florence, and she will make her presence known for a few days and then will be no more.

Stay informed. Clemson University is monitoring weather conditions for you. Read Clemson Alerts web page and Clemson’s CU Safety website. Find a credible source for news; however, you may want to limit your exposure to news reports that that focus on the devastation, once Florence makes landfall.

Prepare for safety. Remain observant. Be prepared to take cover, and beware of your surroundings; do not take unnecessary chances with your safety. Engage in those safety activities that you would recommend to your best friend.

Stay in touch. Your parents or those that care about you may be reaching out to see that you are safe. Connect as much as you see helpful. Reach out to roommates, neighbors and friends as you focus on your and their safety. This may take moving away from social media and making personal connections.

Focus on your own wellbeing. Healthy eating, exercise and rest is recommended at all times, and in times of stress, in particular. If you cannot go to the gym, consider exercises you can do in your own room/apartment. Yoga or moving meditations can be excellent. If you choose to consume alcoholic beverages, keep these to a minimum. If you take medications regularly, take these as prescribed.

Enroll in online self-careTherapist Assisted Online (TAO) Self-Help is a completely private online library of behavioral health resources that includes interactive educational modules and practice tools to help you understand and manage how you feel, think and act. You may self-enroll to access the Mindfulness Library. The self-enrollment process is simple. Once you complete the process and access the actual TAO website, select “Mindfulness Library” from the TAO Navigation option at the bottom of page. This library contains many useful tools that will help ground you and quiet down your anxiety. Incredibly useful tools that you can access anytime and anywhere! If you like, you can select from any of the listed online treatments to help you achieve calm. However, these treatments are actual treatments that you can do over time. For dealing with the Florence crisis, the Mindfulness Library will be your best option.

Add structure to your day. Often, when we are under stress or when restricted to a small space (unable to go places because of the bad weather), our thoughts may race and our mind may turn to worry. The time will pass regardless of how you use it. If you structure your time, you will be able to direct where you want your energy to go. If you have academic work, put it on a schedule and add periodic breaks. In fact, if you draft a plan for your whole day, chances are you will have a good product while restricted by the weather.

Focus on others. Often, asking about the wellbeing of someone else and genuinely caring can take your mind of your own distress. If you have friends/relatives in more severely affected areas, voicing support, from afar, may bring a perspective to your own inconveniences. Being grateful for what you have at this point will also give you an optimist perspective.

If, after you have tried to do what is within your power, and you still find yourself in distress, you can visit Counseling and Psychological Services at Redfern Health Center. You may come during the Walk-In hours, Monday–Friday from 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Plan on completing documents on an iPad and seeing a counselor for an Individual Assessment. Based on that assessment, you will be recommended treatment options to address your needs. CAPS has many treatment options from which to choose. We believe that when you live well, you learn well.

Download PDF – How to Emotionally Prepare for Hurricane Florence