Flooding is traumatic and it disrupts your life. Experience shows that after surviving a disaster people can have a variety of reactions.

How will I feel after a flood?

It is easy to live life day to day, dealing with a variety of issues. It’s very easy to overlook how you may be personally feeling. But we need to be aware of our physical and mental health.

Have you eaten properly and had a hot meal?

Are you getting enough sleep?

Have you got a cough, itchy eyes or physical symptoms that you might be ignoring but could indicate a health issue? Often this occurs when people are having to live in a house that is still damp from being flooded and may have mould or mildew causing health problems.

Be mindful of how you’re feeling and your mood. Are you feeling hopeless or helpless?

If you’re having any of these feelings speak to your GP, tell them about your symptoms but also tell them you have flooded so they have the full picture of what you’re going through.

How will I cope after a flood?

You may feel like you can cope with just one thing at a time.

You might find it hard to retain information and things that you are told.

You could feel stressed and find everyday things that you can usually deal with become hard to cope with.

You live from day-to-day and future planning feels impossible. You can’t plan. You need to get through the immediacy of what’s going on. It’s hard to plan a future.

If you have children it can be difficult to focus on day-to-day activities and their needs.

The effect of this is that children can hear and see the stress that parents are under and they may become quieter and withdrawn. But they’re quietly listening in to the situation. They’re very aware and astute. See our section on The impact of flooding on children and families.

All of these reactions to being flooded are normal human responses.
The psychological stresses are devastating. Even after the event itself, the stress continues throughout the recovery process and beyond.

– Mike, Calderdale

 Disorientated, dazed. Your whole world is suddenly surrounded and dominated by this flood event. Conversations at home with the family and outside the home with friends become focused on flooding. There doesn’t seem to be anything else happening in the world. It’s exhausting.

– Heather, Shropshire


These steps may help you feel better

There is no simple fix to make things better right away. But there are actions that can help you, your family and your community to heal.

  • Follow a normal routine as much as possible.

  • Eat healthy meals. Be careful not to skip meals or to overeat.

  • Exercise and stay active.

  • Help neighbours or other people in your community.

  • Accept help from family, friends, co-workers, or faith groups. Talk about your feelings with them.

  • Limit your time around the sights and sounds of what happened if you can.

  • Don’t dwell on TV, radio or newspaper reports of the crisis.