Three ways to stay connected with a partner during a disaster.
“The Great Flood of 2016.” Since August 12, 2016, Louisiana has been in a dire state of emergency. It all started with two days of non-stop rain which officials say caused the cresting of several rivers. More than 40, 000 homes have been flooded, over 30,000 people have been rescued, and over 10,000 are located in shelters across the state. These numbers are expected to increase as the flooding is continuing in other parts of Louisiana. Some are saying this is worse than Hurricane Katrina, which devastated lives in August 2005.
During this time of disaster, emotions are high, tempers are flaring, and the uncertainty of what’s to come can put a strain on relationships. Read on to find tips for staying connected with your partner during this time, and other times of disaster.
How to stay connected with your partner during a time like this:
- Practice Self Care
It is important to take care of yourself as much as possible during times of disaster.
- Deep breathing: Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and exhale for four seconds. Repeat at least three times.
- Exercise: Research shows that cardiovascular exercise is helpful during stressful times. Even 10 minutes can be beneficial.
- Take breaks: Do not try to do everything at once. Ask for and accept help. Take as many breaks as needed.
- Try to eat: I know many are displaced, and may not have an appetite, but try eating something.
- Communicate with your partner
Understand that while you are experiencing effects of the disaster together, you still have your individual concerns, worries, and grief. Stay connected with your partner by expressing yourself.
- Extend grace to yourself and your partner: Understand that this isn’t either of your faults, no matter what you did or didn’t do. Forgive yourself and each other.
- Share responsibilities: If you have kids or pets, share the responsibility of caring for them.
- Take breaks: Understand that sometimes you might need “me time.” Take a few minutes to yourself. Do this as much as needed.
- Share your feelings: Tell your partner how you feel. Ask your partner, “how are you,” “what are you thinking,” “how can I help…” “what are you feeling in your body?” Discuss your feelings together. Laugh together, cry together. Be supportive and transparent with each other.
- Don’t forget intimacy
During a disaster, intimacy, especially sex, might not be on your “to do” list. Sex might not be an option for you if you are displaced. Discuss your true feelings with your partner, including loss of desire during this time, anxiety, and thought preoccupations. It is especially important to remain emotionally connected to your partner during this time. Other ways to express intimacy include:
- Hugging often
- Holding each other
- Rubbing each other’s back
- Taking a walk together
- Discussing happy, funny memories
- Laugh as much as possible!!!
I know this is a hard time for many people, hopefully these tips can help you get through this disaster. However, if you or your partner are feeling extremely hopeless, and overwhelmed please seek professional counseling services. Below are some free counseling resources:
Louisiana Spirit Counselors– 1-866-310-7977
SAMHSA Disaster Distress National Helpline– 1-800-985-5990 or text the message “talkwithus” to 66746.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline– 1-800-273-TALK
Also, if you need disaster assistance, please register with FEMA at:
www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362
And for disaster food stamp assistance pre-register for DSNAP at: