By Lauren Pastrana

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With preparations for Hurricane Irma well under way, have you thought about how to get emotionally and mentally prepared for the storm? It can be just as challenging as the physical aspect.

CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana has some professional advice to show you how to alleviate the stress of a storm.

“Now I think about evacuations… making sure I have things. Do you have enough toys, enough things you need?” said Genevieve Summers.

And the questions keep coming.

“You worry about the flooding. Do you have leaks? I thought that in my business. It is just a lot to think about,” she added.

Kimberly McGrath, a licensed psychologist at Citrus Health, says to fight storm stress with preparation.

“Hurricanes are stressful events but they are events that fortunately we do get time to plan for,” McGrath said.

McGrath suggests you reduce stress by allowing for extra time for storm preps and involving your family in planning.

“It can be something as simple to helping them pick up the toys in the backyard and explaining that the wind is going to get strong, the toys might blow,” McGrath said.

You should also share your feelings about the storm.

“The more you communicate that you are feeling stress your anxiety will be reduced. Also talk to children about what to expect,” McGrath explained. “If a parent is anxious, a child is going to become anxious even if they don’t understand completely what hurricane is.”

Other ways to reduce stress, while also passing the time, McGrath recommends: playing games, reading, listening to the radio and telling stories.

“I think I am ready, I think I am prepared. I say that and I have a toddler so I know that I am not, but I really think that it will be fine,” Summers said.


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