- Handle Stress of a Catastrophic Loss
Solutions for Risk Exposure®


How to Handle and Cope with
The Stress of a Catastrophic Loss

Three Simple Rules

Zero: Take Care of Yourself, before anything else.

Drink plenty of water (avoid sodas, and other sugary drinks). Eat. Take your medications. Hold your spouse's hand. Hug your children.

One: Identify Tasks that you can accomplish, to completion, in no more than 1.5 hours.

For example:

  • Making Lists? Focus on the contents of just one room, or on one side of a single room.
  • Moving damaged contents? Deliberately pick a room, or an area that you want to move in the allotted time. Estimate the time, and do just that area.
  • Buying replacement clothing? If this looks to be a day long affair, break it into manageable parts.
  • Looking up replacement costs online, or at a retailer? Focus on a narrow range of items: Dining room table and chairs, living room furniture. Bedding and bedding accessories.

If you find your tasks are taking too long, break them up into smaller parts. Remember, always define a small task that you can accomplish in the approximate time span.

In the beginning, you might want to start with tasks lasting 30 minutes to 1 hour. While you may be tempted, over time, to define tasks that take longer that 1-2 hours, avoid it.

Two: Do one task at a time, and complete it.

Identify the task to yourself before you start it -- know how long you expect it to take, and when you expect to finish it. Then, focus on it, alone, and complete it.

Three: Take breaks.

After completing a task -- with each and every one -- take a break.
  • Pace yourself -- if tasks are taking too long, or you are working too hard, divide the tasks into subparts, and do them one at a time.
  • During a break, take a few minutes or more. Walk away from the house. Sit under a tree. Walk around the block. Say hello to your neighbors. Then come back, and pick another task.
  • No matter what, always identify tasks that can be completed in no longer than 1-2 hours, and complete each one before moving on.
  • At the end of each day, do something completely different. If you can, see a movie. Take sandwiches to a local park, and picnic. Read. Ask your spouse and children how they feel; you don't have to say anything, just listen.

Over time, you may discover that these small breaks get shorter, and you take longer breaks after completing a collection of tasks. No matter what, always stop, relax, and regroup after each task.

This will be an emotional, stressful time, but you can cope with it

Removing and replacing your damaged contents from your house, after a flood, fire or tornado, can be an emotional roller coaster. Because you have to individually identify each thing, as you make lists, take pictures, and price out replacements, you will be flush with emotion and sadness.

There will many things to do, and you may feel overwhelmed. But you can reduce the stress of the complex task ahead, and you can finish and return your life to normal.

These simple rules to reduce the stress, and handle the emotion, of returning your life to normal while you go through the remains of your home and its contents to prepare your property and contents claims.

These rules will provide you a sense of accomplishment, a sense of moving forward each day. They will also preserve your sanity.

For more information on how to prepare for an insurance claim, or assistance in the adjustment of insurance claims, please contact John Ruskin at the address or phone number, below.