We Are Houston Strong
The days of torrential rain and flooding from Harvey are behind us, but the effects may be lingering for many of you, as they have been for me. I didn’t flood; my children’s homes didn’t flood: all of my family and extended family were safe and dry and extremely well fed while we ate comfort food and watched the rain and news reports. Even though we were safe and we weren’t dealing with rising water (well we did keep one eye on the bayou that flows behind our house) and all that comes along with it, I felt sad, even depressed this past week.
Somehow, I couldn’t figure out what my problem was. And then it struck me – I was cooped up in our house for five days watching ‘round the clock news of all the tragedies taking place right before my eyes, and following social media to see who was safe and who wasn’t, and what pictures of the storm were being posted. I became a deranged maniac, scouring every news channel and social media post to try to keep up with the devastation, as well as to be sure we were ready to evacuate if needed. I realized that for me, keeping up with all the news was hurtful and I needed to make some changes.
When devastation happens, when there is pain and suffering all around, when you feel yourself getting sucked down into sadness and despair, where do you turn? I decided to come up with some ideas that have been helpful for me, and I hope they will also be useful for you:
- This one is easy – turn off the television, turn off the radio, turn off the computer, turn off the negativity! I decided to go one day without turning on the television, I didn’t check e-mail, and I especially did not look at my Facebook account. That was the first step that helped me put on a happy face and feel better.
- Do something good for someone else. We have seen many stories of Texans helping Texans, or neighbors helping neighbors. This can be therapeutic for both the recipient and the individuals volunteering their time to help out. My husband and I were able to offer our assistance to friends who had flooded by cleaning and tossing out the wet, muddy items to the curb. Our friends were so appreciative, but we also felt good about sharing our time. It didn’t seem like we had done a lot, but I know it made a difference. Many shelters are looking for volunteers as the need is still great.
- Find ways to donate goods – most shelters, churches and non-profits are accepting new items that can be given to evacuees. Make a monetary donation to organizations that are legitimate, like the American Red Cross or the JJ Watt Foundation.
- Take time to hug and love on family and friends, and even strangers who may need to feel uplifted. Disasters like this one remind us of what is important. We may have lost worldly goods, but people cannot be replaced. Be kind to yourself, try to eat right and get the sleep that you need, which may be hard to do at times. And there is no shame in admitting that you are sad and might need to talk to someone. Talk, talk, talk until you get your feelings out; it’s not healthy to hold everything inside and try to be strong for others.
- And finally, be grateful for what you do have. Focus on the positive, let go of the loss, the hurt, the pain, and thank your creator for all that He has done and for your blessings.
We are fortunate to live in such a great state and great country, especially during times of grief and loss. If you need to find out more information about Hurricane Harvey resources, please visit Workforce Solutions. Together we are Houston Strong!
Velta Worley is a member of the Regional Navigator Team specializing in training, educating, and assisting community partners, Workforce Solutions staff, and job seekers throughout the 13 county region with adult education and literacy, and employment for people experiencing homelessness. She has over 8 years corporate management experience, and over 8 years with Workforce Solutions as a Facilitator, Technical Assistant, and Office Manager, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University.