6 Ways to Deal with the Psychological Effects of an Earthquake

20 February 2023
6 Ways to Deal with the Psychological Effects of an Earthquake

We need to deal with the stress we experience before it harms our health and prevents us from helping earthquake victims during this challenging time. That’s why, I will share 6 steps that will help you reduce your stress.

We are going through very difficult times. The Kahramanmaraş Earthquake, which took place on February 6 and affected ten provinces, caused great losses, pain and destruction. Those in the earthquake area are trying to hold on to life in the pain and sadness of their losses. On the other hand, we in other cities are trying to live with the sadness of those who lost their lives, the injured, those who lost their homes and their established order. We have all received great wounds and we are in an unknown, emptiness, and sadness that seems like it will never end. Life goes on, but we don’t know how to keep up. We are constantly following the news without our help; either we missed the measure of eating or we can’t eat anything, we are blinded by everything or we can’t react to anything; when we laugh, eat something delicious, sit in the warmth of our home, take a shower, think about those who cannot do all these things, we blame ourselves and even shame ourselves.

Indeed, it is normal to feel this way after the disaster. But before this stress begins to harm our health and prevent us from helping earthquake victims during this long and difficult process, we need to take steps to deal with it. I will share 6 steps for you to reduce your stress. By following these steps, you will be able to pass this difficult period more stress-free and give yourself the necessary self-care. Here are the things you should pay attention to:

  1. Switch to a healthy diet. Yes, nutrition is also very effective in managing stress. Our first response to stress is “fight and flight”. The body begins to secrete adrenaline and cortisol in order to protect itself, blood sugar rises. During this period, eating packaged foods with a high glycemic index puts our already stressed body even more stressed and a vicious circle occurs. In order to avoid this situation, we should switch to the rainbow diet, that is, we should add vegetables of all colors to each meal, along with a quality protein source such as organic chicken, eggs, lamb, organic legumes, and provide all the vitamins and minerals that the body needs. Thanks to the phytochemicals, antioxidant contents, and hormones such as serotonin, the foods that will relieve us in our stressful periods are as follows: green tea, dark chocolate with 75% or more cocoa, blueberry, avocado, quinoa and pumpkin seeds. Remember, it is possible to cope with stress more easily by protecting the intestinal barrier.
  2. Reestablish your sleep patterns. When we are under stress, it is very difficult for us to fall asleep when there are so many thoughts in our minds and the pain of earthquake victims in our hearts. But our survival and well-being depend on our regular sleep. When we do not get a good night’s sleep, our cortisol level does not decrease and our methylation is impaired. This causes our stress level to increase. What you can do to make it easier to fall asleep: Not drinking tea or coffee after 16.00, keeping blood sugar at an optimal level, using magnesium and melatonin; dripping lavender oil on the pillow before going to bed, drinking chamomile, lemon balm or valerian tea before going to sleep, ensuring sleep hygiene, not exercising after 18.00, meditating even for 10 minutes.
  3. Make breathing and meditation a part of your life. We activate our diaphragm with breathing exercises and meditation. This triggers the vagus nerve, located just behind the diaphragm, and a calming effect occurs by switching to parasympathetic mode. With the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, the body goes into “rest, digest and repair” mode instead of “fight and flight”. In this way, our stress level decreases due to the reduce in our adrenaline, cortisol and sugar levels. Simple 10-minute breathing exercises that we will apply in the morning and evening and meditations that will count our focus on the main, our body and our breath will relax us in this difficult period.
6 Ways To Deal With The Psychological Effects Of An Earthquake
6 Ways To Deal With The Psychological Effects Of An Earthquake

4. Make a repetitive, fast activity that you enjoy part of your daily routine. During an activity such as walking fast, running, jumping rope, jumping, dancing, the body releases dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline and endorphins, improving our mood. Also, sweating helps break down stress hormones. In this way, we feel more relaxed and peaceful.

5. Get an occupation that will make you happy, like cooking, walking, cleaning or listening something. Do activities that will distract your mind and that you will enjoy. In this way, you will be able to release the hormone of happiness and reduce your stress.

 6. Get together with your loved ones. Being together, establishing good relationships strengthens your immune system, regulates your hormones and gut health. Hugging someone increases the levels of the hormones serotonin and oxytocin, reducing depression, anxiety and stress. In this way, we feel happier and more peaceful.

7. A difficult period is waiting for us to heal our wounds and relieve our pain. We cannot cope with difficulties without dealing with our stress. We must first heal ourselves and regroup. Remember, just as you should put on your own mask and then your child’s when air pressure drops on airplanes, you can only help others in times of disaster like this, after you’ve dealt with your own stress. Act by starting to apply these 6 items. It’s time to bind up wounds together.