Disasters overwhelm our city systems and our infrastructure. You see news reports of damaged transformers or broken water lines. Because these systems are critical to a smoothly operating city, repairing those systems becomes a high priority.
Disasters also overwhelm people. We have our own inner systems, attention, energy, ability to organize, that get interrupted by emergency situations. These systems are equally critical to protect and repair as soon as possible.
They are especially important because disasters happen when we are already living our busy lives. On a given day, we expect to go to work, meet with people, pay our bills, buy groceries and get some work done in our homes. Maybe it’s a loved one’s birthday, or you’re planning a vacation and working out who is going to watch your pets.
When a disaster happens, it doesn’t mean that other things disappear.
Our brains not only feel the pressure of reacting to what the disaster has changed, but also of managing what we thought we were going to be doing before the disaster happened. Our brains would have been fried if there had not been a disaster on top of our normal activities.
But it’s a reality of the way many of us live: overworked, over scheduled, and exhausted. We are missing any wiggle room for when something new falls in our lap, like a new 3-hour long commute when the roads get washed out. Even after a disaster when the city infrastructure gets rebuilt, and we have returned to a new normal, it doesn’t mean that life becomes glassy-smooth.
So how do you protect your inner systems?
- Just like a disaster preparedness kit tells you to put aside three to seven days worth of water and food, practice putting aside time and mental...