Dealing with Stress from Winter Weather Woes

Dealing with Stress from Winter Weather Woes

Amy Timmerman, Nebraska Extension Educator

The start of 2024 has had some major challenges for many across the state from Arctic polar temperatures, blizzards, and snow squalls. Now there are discussions of ice jams, rain and potential flooding that may occur over the next few weeks. The entire slogan of “Nebraska isn’t for everyone” is really holding true.

Throughout these circumstances you may experience a variety of feelings such as worry, frustration, and sadness. It is critical to remember that everyone copes with stress and emotions differently, and everyone will find their own way of managing the current situation or memories of past experiences.

Below are positive relief strategies as we navigate the beginning of 2024.

  1. Acknowledge Your Feelings:  The weather-related events of this January can evoke similar feelings of previous winters. As an example, I personally (Amy) have feelings of anger, stress, and anxiety when weather conditions are like those that led to the 2019 flood. Acknowledging and expressing feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration can relieve some stress. It is important to remember that feelings are not a judgment of a person’s character or worth, they are just those feelings.
  2. Find Healthy Stress Relief Methods:  Stress coping mechanisms vary from individual to individual. The trick is finding and engaging the methods that work best for you which may include running, taking a walk, reading, journaling, or putting together jigsaw puzzles.
  3. Be Compassionate to Yourself:  Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy with negative self-talk. Give yourself some compassion, kindness, and patience. Treat yourself in the same way you offer compassion and understanding to others   Work to eliminate negative phrases and replace them with “you, can do it” or “it is okay to take a break.” Focus on your self-care needs to help you process your emotions.
  4. Accept Help from Others:  Accepting help from others is a sign of courage. It is an opportunity for the people in your life to show that they care about you. Take them up on their offer to scoop off your sidewalk after the next snowstorm or stop by for coffee to have conversation. Support from others is essential for everyone to cope, heal, and build resiliency.
  5. Social Support System:  Reach out and talking to friends, family, or persons in your faith community is a positive way to deal with emotions. Taking the opportunity to share fears, frustrations, and challenges, in a safe environment can be a terrific way to get the support you need.
  6. Volunteer: Giving back to others and the community can provide a sense of satisfaction and joy.   Serving others often opens up the opportunity to see a different perspective that improves our outlook on our day-to-day routines of winter.
  7. Practice gratitude: Being thankful for what you have in your life can help you feel better about yourself and what the positive things are in your life. This can be as simple as writing a hand-written thank you note or providing a meal to a family in need.

Remember if your emotions and stress turn into distress or if you recognize chronic stress in others, do not hesitate to reach out for professional assistance. The Nebraska Rural Response Hotline (800-464-0258) provides valuable information and resources, including free vouchers for counseling sessions through the Counseling Outreach and Mental Health Therapy program. If someone close is having a mental crisis or is emotionally distressed, you can call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 9-8-8 for assistance.


Nebraska Rural Response Hotline,

University of Nebraska Extension’s Rural Wellness website: