Fear of flooding

“Above average snowpack. The possibility of a warm, wet spring. Streams and rivers transformed from September’s flooding.”

With these factors swirling around the news, it’s no wonder that people are anxious this time of year, especially after having survived— and just barely regained—one’s footing after the climactic flood that happened in Boulder county less than a year ago.

It’s all too easy to feel helpless in the face of natural disasters—and their possible recurrence. Rain has shown us her dark side personally. And while she is still met in these parts with a thirsty gratitude, an abundance of rain triggers caution and even fear.

If the floods have taught us anything, it’s a healthy respect for that which lies beyond our control. But acknowledging nature’s dominance doesn’t have to be a disempowering experience. Take stock of what you can do for yourself, and how you develop a sense of preparedness—and resilience—in the face of the unknown. Here are my three tips for bolstering your reserves.

Be prepared
There’s certainly no harm in educating yourself about the possibilities of a recurrence. Find out how you can make your home safer, protect your valuables, and get your home in good working order. For example, making sure your drains and gutters aren’t blocked is a common sense thing you can do. Feeling like your home is in good shape may ease the looming uncertainty somewhat. It’s also worth exploring whether flood insurance makes sense for you or not.

Strengthen your support system
Seeking out the community of like-minded people can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, speculating and dwelling on your fears can make them seem more real, but it can also be validating to be able to share your concerns with people who understand them. Even if you feel like all you want to do is hunker down, keep up your connections with family and friends. Attend town meetings and forums to be up-to-date on current advisories. And reach out to neighbors to deepen your social bonds and build community from the street up.

Prioritize self-care
A common mistake people make is to think of self-care as an indulgence, when in fact it’s a necessity. On a basic level, self-care consists of eating right, exercising, and finding ways to self-soothe besides alcohol and/or drugs. But if you feel haunted by strange dreams, or inordinately panicked by rainfall, you might need to address those fears directly through therapy. EMDR and Brainspotting are of course some of my favorite modalities for helping process and resolve stress quickly. But acupuncture, massage, mediation, and yoga are wonderful techniques for becoming more balanced and aligned.  Don’t underestimate the power of listening to your body to discover what it is you really need to truly support yourself. Sometimes it’s simply bearing witness—to oneself, no less—that is the most heroic course of action.