Combat anxiety throughout a cyclone

As the North Qld coast prepares itself for the arrival of Cyclone Debbie there are many residents facing this situation for the first time.  Townsville is a transient city with new people arriving each year, many of whom have never experienced a cyclone before, and we need to do our best to put their minds at ease and help our neighbours through the next 48 hours or so.

There are also many seasoned locals who still suffer anxiety during times of storm activity, no matter how many times they’ve been through it before.  We need to acknowledge that not everyone is ready to just cruise through it and for many this is a very stressful time.

Here are some suggestions of ways you can ease your anxiety during a cyclone.

Colouring In


Remember the adult colouring in craze that swept the nation a little while ago? People were stocking up on pencils and taking up this new hobby faster than you could say ‘water colours‘.  Why? Because as a form of stress relief it works!  The concentration used for colouring between the lines helps people of all ages to redirect their focus, quieten their minds and block out anything negative happening around them.


Crank up your battery operated radio from your cyclone kit, or plug headphones into your phone/computer and zone out with the help of your favourite tunes.  If you’re concerned about using the battery life on your devices and being unable to recharge if electrical supply is cut, then why not have a good old fashioned sing-a-long?  Trying to remember the words to old songs will be far more amusing than listening to the wind outside.

Ear muffs

Cyclones are noisy and have been compared to sound of freight trains running right beside your house consistently for hours on end.  The wind howls past or whistles through gaps in windows. It’s not fun if you are sensitive to loud noises!  Ear muffs can definitely help cut down the noise, especially for younger kids who become startled at loud noises.



Notoriously one of the best things you can do for anxiety and stress is meditate.  There are a lot of guided meditations available on YouTube, or you can simply sit still with your eyes closed and focus on your breath, clearing your mind of any cyclone thoughts.


If you know that you are well prepared before the cyclone hits, then that is sure to help the feelings of nervousness when the wind starts up.  Believe in your own strength and resourcefulness!  You’ve got this, you’re ready and you’re safe.

Talk out loud

When anxiety starts to amp up and you feel on the edge of a panic attack, then start verbalising your intentions.  We can become stuck in our own head when the panic sets in and it can be hard to break the control of negative thoughts and feelings when they start.  By saying out loud “Everything is OK”, along with other positive affirmations and reassurances, will drown out your thoughts and you will start to listen to your voice and words rather than scary thoughts.

Try not to be alone

If you can, stay with family, friends or neighbours and take comfort in the old adage “there’s safety in numbers”.  Have pets? Bring them inside with you.  Their presence will help give you comfort. And trying to keep them calm will give you something else to focus on rather than the storm.


Cyclone Debbie is due to cross over us during the day.  Use the daylight to your advantage and have your favourite book handy.  Choose a book that you can ‘get lost in’ to provide the perfect distraction.


Dehydration can cause a whole host of unpleasant side effects and while it may not cause anxiety directly, it can make the symptoms of anxiety feel much worse. Be aware of your water intake as hydration will help keep your mind clear.

Above suggestions are given as a guide only and Townsville Women makes no guarantee of individual results.

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