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6 Tips for managing stress after a home disaster

By Nathan Guss|7 min|July 2023

Dealing with the aftermath of a home disaster and feeling stressed? Read on for some helpful tips to reduce stress.

A home disaster can be a traumatic event that leaves you feeling uprooted and stressed. During this challenging time, finding effective ways to manage stress is crucial for your overall well-being. It also helps you maintain the even keel you’ll need for the claims process and getting on with the rest of your life.

Here are six tips based on research, expert insights and my experiences.

Be proactive.

Sometimes you need to tackle stress head-on. Start by talking with your claims adjuster to understand the necessary steps to move forward.

Once you know what to do, create a to-do list that outlines the tasks and responsibilities related to the claims process. Breaking down the overall task into smaller, manageable items can make it feel less overwhelming. As you complete each task, cross it off the list. This gives you a reassuring sense of progress.

Securing temporary housing is a major aspect of the claims process. While some claims adjusters take care of this step, you may need or want to do it yourself. You can quickly find accommodations on SiniSTAR’s platform, which offers fully furnished, well-equipped homes conveniently located near your original residence. Relocating to a place that feels like home can significantly reduce stress and help you achieve a sense of normalcy.

Do you still feel overwhelmed after talking to your claims adjuster and making a to-do list? You should consider hiring a public claims adjuster, who can greatly alleviate your burden during the claims process.

Learn more in our guide to the claims process.

Reframe the situation.

Nietzsche’s often-cited words “what does not kill me makes me stronger” are_ good motto to adopt when facing adversity. This _has been backed up by the latest research into stress and resilience. For example, researchers at Harvard conducted a study to understand how changing your thoughts about stress-related physical reactions can improve your body’s response to stress and your ability to focus. Their findings suggest that viewing stress as an opportunity to grow and develop character positively affects your body and mind. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk “How to Make Stress Your Friend” further supports this notion. Her research showcases the benefits of embracing stress and highlights how perceiving it as a friend rather than a foe can lead to improved cognitive functioning and increased resilience.

Get outdoors for some exercise or contemplation.

Getting some exercise outdoors can be a powerful way to improve your well-being. Research suggests that working out outside has numerous benefits, including lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. But you don’t have to push your limits or vault to the top of the Strava leaderboard to get some relief. Gentle exercise or even just being out there can do the trick. The calming backdrop of green hues, rustling leaves and flowing water shifts the tenor of your feelings. Nature’s complex patterns and vibrant colours absorb your attention and soothe the mind.

Numerous studies on the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing or forest medicine) demonstrate the positive effects of spending time in forest environments. They have consistently shown lower cortisol levels, reduced blood pressure and lower pulse rates. Contemplation in a forest setting, even for just 20 minutes, induces relaxation by altering cerebral blood flow patterns. So get out for a trail run, mountain bike ride or just sit by a creek, and soak in the good vibes.

Do some yoga.

Yoga is one of the top stress slayers. It not only strengthens the body but also enhances brain function and emotional well-being. With its emphasis on breathing, meditation and mindful movement, yoga offers many mental benefits. It has been found effective in managing stress, anxiety, and depression. It also boosts your mood by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical also associated with decreased anxiety.

There are many types of yoga to choose from. If you feel the need for a good workout, ashtanga, vinyasa or power yoga are good choices. If relaxation is more your speed right now, go with yin yoga or restorative yoga, which focus on recovery.

Get a massage.

If you’re feeling stressed out, make an appointment with a massage therapist: Massage therapy is a powerful way to alleviate stress. Skilled hands working on your muscles release tension and promote relaxation. This process triggers the release of endorphins, chemicals that elevate mood and reduce stress. Additionally, massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing a relaxation response and countering the body’s stress reaction. By decreasing stress hormones and increasing serotonin, massage gives you respite during challenging times.

Check whether your health insurance plan covers massage. If so, why not take advantage of it? An hour-long massage is wonderful, but an hour and a half sends you into an even deeper tranquility.

Reach out to loved ones or furry friends.

During tough times, loved ones can give you critical support. Get in touch, talk, vent, and if the mood strikes, get a hug. Research consistently shows that social support plays a vital role in the ability to cope with stress. Having someone by your side and talking things over can make challenges seem less daunting. As far as hugs go, research also shows that simple physical touch from a loved one provides comfort from stress.

You don’t feel like dealing with people right now? A pet can also provide the support you need. The evidence is compelling that spending some quality time with pets reduces anxiety. So carve out some time to play with a dog or curl up with a cat.

Of course, different approaches work for different people. You can combine these tips or find your own stress reduction method based on what you know works best for you. Embrace the strategies that resonate and adapt them to fit your circumstances. And be sure to take care of yourself as you recover from your home disaster.

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