A New Brunswick psychologist says the stress for people in flood zones can mount quickly, so it’s important to make sure you look after yourself.
While many residents say they were better prepared this year, some are still dealing with devastation.
Dr. Joan Wright says as tough as flood stress can be, simple breathing exercises can help calm people down in the state of sheer panic.
She says exercise, proper rest and nutrition can all help manage the stress, but sometimes it can be too much to deal with on your own.
“Depending on the degree of impact on the person, it can be anywhere from going and talking about it with friends, and if it turns into something like anxiety or depression, they’re going to need professional intervention,” she says.
Maugerville resident Kent Shaw says he was able to learn from experience in 2008 and 2018, to help prepare for this year’s flood.
“Living in a one in 100 year flood plain, and now we have it three times in 11 years,” he says. “You know, that sort of weighs on a person.”
Shaw is being forced to take a canoe to access his own home, but he’s concerned about the long-term impact of the waters, saying the pressure on his foundation could jeopardize the home’s safety.
“We were sort of hoping to move closer to our daughter who lives out west, and selling our home was part of our retirement plan, hoping to sell the home, get a good price out of it and then being able to relocate,” he says. “Getting the good price out of it right now is the issue, we feel.”
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Markus Harvey also says having the experience of dealing with flood waters in recent years has helped locals be better prepared.
Tuesday was a bit stressful with rising levels, he says, but it’s “so far, so good.”
“The levels are down a bit (Friday), so things are looking good,” Harvey says. “We expect a rise on the weekend and then after that, hopefully we’ll cruise out.”
Harvey says despite the fact that residents were more prepared for the flooding this year, even after water recedes, there’s still a long road ahead.
Cleanup, any rebuilding and getting assessments done are all stresses he recalls from 2018.
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Meanwhile, Wright says the stress can grow from not having control, but it’s important to try to stay as calm as possible.
“Our homes are our place of safety, our place of security,” she says. “Anytime that’s invaded in a way that we feel powerless or out of control to do anything about it, we’re going to feel stressed.”