Shivat Zion

How to Cope During a Rocket Attack while Living Alone

Adapted and Translated by Shivat Zion, see the original article in the Jerusalem Post here.

Hearing the sound of a missile attack siren is a scary experience for everyone. For people who live alone, the experience of being in a safe room is different as they don’t have the psychological support provided by being with others.

However, there are steps and coping mechanisms that people can take to help deal with the stress of being alone during a rocket attack:

Tips to help you cope

  1. Stay informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest news and alerts from reliable sources. This can help you stay prepared and make informed decisions. For example you can download the Home Front Command app. Remember, if you are stressed by the constant flow of news about the war, it is recommended that you minimize your exposure.
  2. Create a safety plan: Plan ahead and identify safe areas in your home where you can take shelter during an attack. Make sure to keep emergency supplies such as food, water, and a first-aid kit handy.
  3. Reach out for support: Connect with friends, family, or neighbors who live nearby. You can also seek support from mental health professionals or helplines.
    For the Home Front Command National Emergency Portal list of emotional hotlines, click here.
    The Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War, or NATAL: 1-800-363-363.
    Olim support organizations and Misrad HaKlita often provide resources including webinars, zoom meetings, etc. that can help alleviate one’s emotional stress.
  4. Practice self-calming exercises: This may include meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, or listening to calming music. Looking at photos of happy memories or important people in your life is very calming. Put some picture albums in your safe room, or look at the photos on your phone.
  5. Stay positive: Try to maintain a positive outlook and focus on things that bring you joy and happiness. This can help you stay resilient during difficult times.
It’s not unusual for people to suffer from anxiety during a war and even have full-blown panic attacks. People living alone may be more at risk of experiencing a panic attack while staying in their protected room. Panic attack symptoms include a pounding heart, shortness of breath, light-headedness, sweating, trembling, nausea, tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes, and an overwhelming sense of impending doom. But despite how frightening these episodes can be, they are not inherently dangerous. Deep breathing is very effective during a panic attack in reducing symptoms. Panic attacks always pass. Some good advice is “Don’t panic about the panic.” Remember, living alone during wartime can be very stressful. It’s normal to feel anxious or overwhelmed during such situations. However, by taking care of yourself and being prepared, you can reduce the impact of the situation on your overall well-being.