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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

In the Eye of the Storm

Oct 31, 2022 04:29PM ● By Sharon Bruckman

Everyone I talk to has a Hurricane Ian story if they live in Southwest Florida or love someone that does. We’ve all been affected in one way or another—some more deeply than others. Coming to terms with the disaster will take time and healing, whether we’re dealing with property damage, loss of a business or employment, or no longer being able to enjoy our favorite hangouts. Recovery and rebuilding is going to exact a big toll. 

I got lucky. My home wasn’t damaged and quickly became a haven for several family members and pets escaping flooded homes. Witnessing their devastation and the resilience they demonstrated in their recovery efforts has been inspiring. I feel blessed to have a space to offer them at the end of their busy days hauling out personal belongings to the curb, gutting their homes and angling with insurance adjustors. 

When we originally planned our November Mental Health issue, we didn’t know that one of the most catastrophic weather events in U.S. history was headed our way. With our collective anxiety already at a high pitch from acrid politics, rising inflation and unpredictable virus variants, we wanted to offer our readers expert advice on ways to set aside the worry and fear, and instead take effective action. 

Our feature story on page 20, “Staying Serene in Turbulent Times: How to Turn Anxiety into Positive Action,” couldn’t be more timely. It offers a wide range of recommendations—from simple self-care habits to more elaborate strategies that can make a collective difference or inspire well-being in our neighborhoods. 

Two complementary articles; “Tools for Trauma,” on page 16, and “12 Quick Fixes for Anxiety: Simple Strategies for Mental Well-Being,” on page 24, feature other calming remedies, including deep breathing, mindful meditation, journaling, exercising in nature, praying in one’s tradition or trauma therapies with the help of mental health professionals.

What I hear so often from friends that have been affected by the hurricane is their deep gratitude for the blessings they still have in their lives. Whether it’s a story about the free support of a church group who showed up to remove their drywall or someone offering them a place to stay, the beautiful display of humanity and love from people helping others is evident more than ever here in Southwest Florida. We are pulling together. On page 18, Dr. Madiha Saeed confirms the power of gratitude to heal, saying, “Heartfelt emotions—like gratitude, love and caring—produce coherent brain waves radiating to every cell of the body.”

Our dear paradise will be in recovery for a long time. As we begin the holiday season gathering with friends and family around the Thanksgiving table, let us envision that recovery efforts will build us back stronger than ever, not just in our personal lives, but with wider hearts and stronger connections in our community. Prayers and heartfelt hugs to all affected by the storm. 

In deepest gratitude, 

Sharon Bruckman 

NOTE: We have postponed the date of our special January Health & Wellness Guide to allow time for hurricane recovery. Stay tuned for updates.